David Adams Richards

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David Adams Richards
David Adams Richards - DanH-4021 (cropped).jpg
Richards in 2014
Senator from New Brunswick
Assumed office
30 August 2017
Nominated byJustin Trudeau
Appointed byDavid Johnston
Preceded byJohn D. Wallace
Personal details
Born (1950-10-17) 17 October 1950 (age 72)
Newcastle, New Brunswick, Canada
Political partyCanadian Senators Group (2019-present)
Non-affiliated (2018-2019)[1]
Independent Senators Group (2016-2017)
SpousePeggy McIntyre
AwardsGovernor General's Award
Gemini Award
Giller Prize

David Adams Richards CM ONB (born 17 October 1950) is a Canadian writer[2] and member of the Canadian Senate.[3]


Born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, Richards left St. Thomas University in Fredericton, three credits shy of completing a BA.[4] After publishing a poetry chapbook in 1972, he won the Norma Epstein Award, a literary prize for unpublished writing by Canadian university students, in 1974 for an excerpt from his novel manuscript The Coming of Winter, and the novel was published later that year as his fiction debut.


Over his career as a writer, Richards has published novels, stage plays, short stories and non-fiction work. His fiction typically addresses the lives and experiences of poor and working class residents of the Miramichi region of New Brunswick, exploring spiritual and philosophical themes influenced by Richards' Roman Catholic faith.[5]

Richards has been a writer-in-residence at various universities and colleges across Canada, including the University of New Brunswick.

On 30 August 2017, the appointment of Richards to the Senate of Canada on the advice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was announced.[3]

On 25 April 2018, Richards resigned from the Independent Senators Group to sit as a non-caucusing independent senator.[1] Richards stressed that he had not felt pressured by the ISG, saying that he left because he wants a high degree of personal autonomy, citing how he never joined the Writers' Union of Canada or PEN Canada as an author. Richards also said that since Trudeau had appointed him as an independent, he felt it was his duty to be as independent as possible.[6]

On 4 November 2019, he joined the Canadian Senators Group.[7]


Richards has received numerous awards including two Gemini Awards for scriptwriting for Small Gifts and For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down, the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence in the Arts, and the Canadian Authors Association Award for his novel Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace. Richards is one of only three writers to have won in both the fiction and non-fiction categories of the Governor General's Award. He won the 1988 fiction award for Nights Below Station Street and the 1998 non-fiction award for Lines on the Water: A Fisherman's Life on the Miramichi. He was also a co-winner of the 2000 Giller Prize for Mercy Among the Children. The Writers' Federation of New Brunswick administers an annual David Adams Richards Prize for Fiction.[8]

In 2009, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada "for his contributions to the Canadian literary scene as an essayist, screenwriter and writer of fiction and non-fiction".[9]

In 2011, Richards received the Matt Cohen Prize.[10]


Richards' papers are currently housed at the University of New Brunswick.[11]

In 2014, Halifax singer-songwriter Dan MacCormack released an album of songs inspired by Richards' novels, called Symphony of Ghosts. The title was taken from a line in Mercy Among the Children.[12]


David Adams Richards talks about Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul on Bookbits radio.


  • Small Heroics (1972) (chapbook)


  • The Dungarvon Whooper (1975)
  • Water Carrier, Bones and Earth (1983)
  • Hockey Dreams (2009)

Short stories[edit]

  • Dancers at Night (1978)
  • Dane (1978)

The Christmas Tree (2008)


  • A Lad From Brantford and Other Essays (1994)
  • Hockey Dreams: Memories of a Man Who Couldn't Play (1996)
  • Lines on the Water: A Fisherman's Life on the Miramichi (1998, winner of the 1998 Governor General's Award)
  • Extraordinary Canadians: Lord Beaverbrook (2008)
  • God is. (2009)
  • Facing the Hunter: Reflections on a Misunderstood Way of Life (2011)
  • Murder and Other Essays (2019)


  • "Non-Judgmental Truth: An Interview with David Adams Richards" by Craig Proctor, Blood & Aphorisms (Winter 1998)

Personal life[edit]

In 1971, Richards married the former Peggy McIntyre. They have two sons, John Thomas Richards and Anton Richards, and reside in Fredericton as of December 2012.[13][14]


  1. ^ a b "Trudeau-appointed senator quits group of Independents" CTV News, 25 April 2018.
  2. ^ "David Adams Richards". The Canadian Encyclopedia, 10 April 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Trudeau appoints acclaimed writer David Adams Richards to Senate". Toronto Star, 30 August 2017.
  4. ^ Zenari, Vivian. "David Adams Richards". Athabasca University – Centre for Language and Literature. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
  5. ^ "Canadian author hides message of hope in bleak landscape". The Catholic Register, 4 December 2016.
  6. ^ Chase, Steve; Fife, Robert (25 April 2018). "Senator quits Independent Senators Group to be 'totally independent'". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. Retrieved 13 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Senators List". Senate of Canada. Retrieved 5 November 2019.
  8. ^ "24 Years of WFNB Literary Competition Winners!". Writers' Federation of New Brunswick. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
  9. ^ "Governor General Announces 57 New Appointments to the Order of Canada". Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
  10. ^ "New Brunswick author wins big prize". Times & Transcript, 3 November 2011.
  11. ^ "David Adams Richards fonds". University of New Brunswick. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
  12. ^ Johns, Stephanie, "Dan MacCormack is book smart", The Coast, 13 November 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  13. ^ "Books: The Friends of Meager Fortune". Random House. Retrieved 10 March 2010.
  14. ^ "Adams Richards named to Order of Canada". The Daily Gleaner. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2010.

External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • Richards' item at English-Canadian writers, Aathabasca University, by Vivian Zenari; incl. several hyperlinks