gary barwin headshot



Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, and multidisciplinary artist and the author of twenty-one books of poetry, fiction and books for children. His latest book is the poetry collection No TV for Woodpeckers (Wolsak & Wynn). His recent national bestselling novel Yiddish for Pirates (Random House Canada) was a finalist for both the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Scotiabank Giller Prize. His interactive writing installation using old typewriters and guitar processors was featured during 2016-2017 at the Art Gallery of Hamilton. 

 A finalist for the National Magazine Awards (Poetry), he is a three-time recipient of Hamilton Poetry Book of the Year, has also received the Hamilton Arts Award for Literature and has co-won the bpNichol Chapbook Award and the K.M. Hunter Arts Award. He is one of the judges for this year’s CBC Poetry Prize.

 A PhD in music composition, Barwin has been Writer-in-Residence at Western University and Young Voices E-Writer-in-Residence at the Toronto Public Library and will be writer-in-residence at McMaster University and the Hamilton Public Library in 2017-2018. He has taught creative writing at a number of colleges and universities and currently teaches writing to at-risk youth in Hamilton through the ArtForms program. His writing has been published in hundreds of magazine and journals and his writing, music, media works and visuals have been presented and broadcast internationally. 

Though born in Northern Ireland to South African parents of Ashenazi descent, Barwin lives in Hamilton, Ontario. He is married with three adult children and lives in Hamilton, Ontario and has never been Governor of Louisiana.


gary and dolphin



Gary Barwin is a writer, composer, multimedia artist, and educator and the author of 20 books of poetry and fiction and books for both teens and children. His work has been widely performed, broadcast, anthologized, exhibited, presented, and published nationally and internationally.

He received a PhD. in music composition, a B.A. (English) B.F.A (Spec. Hons. Music) and a B.Ed. He has taught and performed in numerous contexts, including at McMaster University and Mohawk College, King’s University College, to street-involved youth, and in universities, colleges, libraries, festivals, schools, shelters, and community centres across the country. He was the Fall 2013 Young Voices eWriter-in-Residence at the Toronto Public Library and Writer-in-Residence at Western University in 2014-2015. He is writer-in-residence at several shelters/custody facilities with ArtForms’ “Writers in the House” program for at-risk youth.

Barwin has been shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award and an National Magazine Award. His poetry was a finalist is winner of the 2013 City of Hamilton Arts Award (Writing), the Hamilton Poetry Book of the Year for 2015, 2011, and 2001, and co-winner of the 2011 Harbourfront Poetry NOW competition, the 2010 bpNichol chapbook award, and the KM Hunter Artist Award. He has received major grants from the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council for his work. His YA novel, Seeing Stars was shortlisted for both the Crimewriters of Canada Arthur Ellis Award as well as the Canadian Library Association YA Book of Year, and his picturebook, The Magic Mustache, was chosen as a “Best Bet” by Macleans.

Known for his dynamic and engaging performances, Barwin has given hundreds of readings and multimedia poetry presentations (with live music, interactive computer systems, and/or projections) in Canada and internationally. Born in Northern Ireland to South African parents of Ashkenazi descent, Barwin moved to Canada as a child. He is married with three adult children and lives in Hamilton, Ontario with a fear of the family car.