News and Interviews

Writers' Trust Announces Finalists for LGBTQ Emerging Writers Award

Finalists have been revealed for the 2020 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers

Now in it's 14th year, the award recognizes an emerging writer from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer community whose published work demonstrates great literary promise. In addition, the cash prize has now doubled, with the winner taking home $10,000 and each nominee $1000.

“Earlier this year the Writers’ Trust made an organizational commitment to raising the cash value of the Dayne Ogilvie Prize so that it was on the same level as our other emerging writer prizes,” said Charlie Foran, executive director, Writers’ Trust. “The LGBTQ literary community is an exceptionally talented and vibrant component of this country’s arts scene and we are delighted to increase our level of support.”  

The announcement kicks off a week of emerging writer awards, including the unveiling of finalists for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award fpr Emerging Writers and the Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. Winners for all three prizes will be announced on October 21 during an online event entitled "Writer's Trust Awards: Emerging Writers Edition".

This year's finalists for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize are:

Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present (Fernwood Publishing)

“Maynard’s rigorous scholarship and commanding prose unpack the insidious structures of violence and racism rooted in the Canadian state and document the damage and collective trauma faced by Black bodies and Black communities,” said the jury. “A critical, timely, and urgent voice that celebrates the community-based ethos of Black organizers, activists, and scholars and their life-affirming commitment to resisting and confronting all forms of state-sanctioned violence.”

Smokii Sumac, author of you are enough: love poems for the end of the world (Kegedonce Press)

“Sumac’s writing is like a big bear hug from your uncle or cousin,” said the jury. “With precise analogies and rhythm that move the spirit, his poetic practice harkens to those who came before him and reference a cyclical narrative of Indigenous literature. Sumac provides an opening to access his most intimate parts. Kin and constellations shoot across the page. Consent is made erotic. Intimate entanglements lead to self-discovery on the land, in the body, and across digital territories as shapeshifters.”

Arielle Twist, author of Disintegrate/Dissociate (Arsenal Pulp Press)

“The intentionality, spareness, and lush lyricism of Twist’s work faces down colonial cissexist violence,” said the jury. “Her poetry moves with dignity, deliberation, deep craft, and purpose. It is potent, breathtaking Indiqueer brilliance, telling stories that bring the next world — the one we, and in particular Indigenous trans women, deserve — into being. Twist is a crucial writer the world needs.”

This year's jury consisted of Trevor Corkum, Lindsay Nixon, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.

For more information on the award and finalists, visit