David Helwig

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David Helwig
Born (1938-04-05)April 5, 1938
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Author
Language English
Nationality Canada Canadian
Alma mater University of Toronto
University of Liverpool
Genre Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction
Notable awards Order of Canada
J. M. Abraham Poetry Award (formerly Atlantic Poetry Award)
Matt Cohen Award

David Helwig (born April 5, 1938) is a Canadian poet, novelist, and essayist.

Helwig was born in Toronto, Ontario, where he spent his early childhood years. When he was ten years old, his family moved to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, where his father ran a small business repairing and refinishing furniture and buying and selling antiques. He earned a B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1960, and an M.A. from the University of Liverpool in 1962. He subsequently taught at Queen's University from 1962 to 1974. While he was at Queen's University, he also taught writing classes in Collins Bay Penitentiary, and co-wrote A Book about Billie with a former inmate.

In 1971 he founded and was long-time editor of the Best Canadian Stories anthology series for Oberon Press. From 1974 to 1976, he was a literary manager for CBC Television's drama department, then returned to Queen's as a part-time instructor, while doing a great deal of freelance work. In 1980, he retired from teaching and became a full-time writer.

He currently lives in Prince Edward Island. On January 23, 2008, he was appointed Prince Edward Island's third Poet Laureate,[1] and on July 1, 2009 was named as a Member of the Order of Canada.[2]

His daughter, Maggie Helwig, is also a noted Canadian writer.

Works by David Helwig[edit]


  • Figures in a Landscape, 1968
  • The Sign of the Gunman, 1969
  • The Best Name of Silence, 1972
  • Atlantic Crossings, 1974
  • Book of the Hours, 1979
  • The Rain Falls Like Rain, 1982
  • Catchpenny Poems, 1983
  • The Hundred Old Names, 1989
  • The Beloved, 1992
  • A Random Gospel, 1996
  • This Human Day, 2000
  • Telling Stories, 2000
  • The Day One, 2004
  • The Sway of Otherwise, 2008
  • Seawrack, 2013
  • Keeping Late Hours, 2015
  • Sudden and Absolute Stranger, 2017


  • The Streets of Summer, 1969 (short stories)
  • The Day Before Tomorrow, 1971 (titled Message from a Spy in 1975 printing)
  • The Glass Knight, 1976
  • Jennifer, 1979
  • The King's Evil, 1981
  • It Is Always Summer, 1982
  • A Sound Like Laughter, 1983
  • The Only Son, 1984
  • The Bishop, 1986
  • A Postcard from Rome, 1988
  • Old Wars, 1989
  • Of Desire, 1990
  • Blueberry Cliffs, 1993 (novella)
  • Just Say the Words, 1994
  • Close to the Fire, 1999 (novella)
  • The Time of Her Life, 2000
  • The Stand-In, 2002 (novella)
  • Duet, 2004 (novella)
  • Saltsea, 2006
  • Smuggling Donkeys, 2007 (novella)
  • Coming Through, 2007 (three novellas)
  • Mystery Stories, 2010 (short stories)
  • Killing McGee, 2011 (novella)
  • Simon Says, 2012
  • Clyde, 2014


  • A Book About Billie, 1972 (documentary) (as Inside and Out, 1975)
  • Last Stories of Anton Chekhov, 1991 (as translator)
  • The Child of Someone, 1997 (essays)
  • Living Here, 2001 (essays)
  • The Names of Things, 2006 (memoir)
  • About Love, 2012 (as translator)


Further reading[edit]

  • Marshall, Tom. Harsh and Lovely Land: The Major Canadian Poets and the Making of a Canadian Tradition. UBC Press, Vancouver, BC, 1979. ISBN 0-7748-0107-7
  • Ruthig, Ingrid, ed. David Helwig: Essays on His Works. Guernica Editions, Toronto, ON, 2018. Introduction, essays, interview, reviews by: George Fetherling, Douglas Glover, D.G. Jones, Simon Lloyd, Tom Marshall, rob mclennan, Shane Neilson, Ingrid Ruthig, Mark Sampson, and Lorraine M. York. {ISBN|978-1-77183-290-8}}

External links[edit]