Women & Gender Studies Institute

Congratulations Gwen Benaway – Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry recipient

Congratulations to Gwen Benaway for winning the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award in Poetry!

An acclaimed poet and essayist, Benaway is also a PhD candidate in University of Toronto‘s Women and Gender Studies Institute. Her winning collection of poetry, Holy Wild, explores the intersection of Indigenous and transgender identities through autobiographical narratives.

When Gwen Benaway found out she had won the Governor General‘s Literary Award for poetry, she said her immediate reaction was not joy, but “intense fear and panic.”

The Toronto writer and scholar says she’s shocked to be among the few transgender women to be recognized by a Canadian literary institution, even as she protests another.

News of the honour came as Benaway and others denounce Toronto Public Library for refusing to cancel an event featuring a speaker who has been critical of transgender rights. She’s since been fielding a barrage of online attacks for her role in the outcry.

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