Announcing the finalists for the $10,000 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers

The Dayne Ogilvie Prize is presented annually to an emerging writer from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer community whose published work demonstrates great literary promise. New in 2020, the cash prize has been doubled to $10,000; finalists will each receive $1,000.

Today we continue a week-long celebration of emerging writer prizes by the Writers’ Trust that includes the announcement of finalists for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award and the Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. The winners for all three prizes will be announced on Wednesday, October 21 via a digital event — the Writers’ Trust Awards: Emerging Writers Edition.


The finalists were selected by a jury composed of Trevor Corkum, Lindsay Nixon, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.

Robyn Maynard is a Black feminist writer and community organizer based in Montreal. Maynard is the author of Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present. She is currently a PhD candidate and Vanier scholar at the University of Toronto and is working toward the completion of a new manuscript. Maynard’s rigorous scholarship and commanding prose unpack the insidious structures of violence and racism rooted in the Canadian state.

Smokii Sumac is a member of the Ktunaxa nation. He won an Indigenous Voices Award in published poetry in 2018 for his debut poetry collection, you are enough: love poems for the end of the world. Sumac is a PhD candidate at Trent University and faculty member at College of the Rockies. He currently lives in Kimberley, British Columbia, with his cat, Miss Magoo. With precise analogies and rhythm that move the spirit, Sumac’s poetic practice harkens to those who came before him.

Arielle Twist is a Nehiyaw, Two Spirit, trans woman originally from George Gordon First Nation, Saskatchewan. In 2019, Twist was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and shortlisted for a National Magazine Award. She won an Indigenous Voices Award in published poetry for her first collection, Disintegrate/Dissociate. She currently lives in Halifax. Twist’s work is breathtaking Indiqueer brilliance, telling stories that bring the next world — the one we, and in particular Indigenous trans women, deserve — into being.

About the Prize

Robin Pacific established the prize in 2007 to honour her late friend, Dayne Ogilvie, who was a respected editor, writer, literary manager, and passionate lover of all the arts. The Dayne Ogilvie Prize rewards LGBTQ writers of any age who are in the developing stages of their career and whose body of work to date demonstrates great potential. Past winners of the prize include Michael V. Smith, Zoe Whittall, Farzana Doctor, Kai Cheng Thom, and, most recently, Lindsay Nixon. The 2020 prize is gratefully supported by one anonymous donor.

“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.”

About the Writers’ Trust

The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs including ten national literary awards, a fellowship, financial grants, career development initiatives for emerging writers, and a writers’ retreat. Writers’ Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada’s writers receive more financial support from the Writers’ Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country.

Writers’ Trust Awards Partners

This year’s Writers’ Trust Awards: Emerging Writers Edition is made possible by presenting partner The Humber School for Writers as well as numerous corporate, foundation, and individual sponsors. Media partner The Globe and Mail provides additional support as do project partners CBC Books and Indigo Books & Music. The project is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage.