The Manitoba Arts Council is pleased to announce that Di Brandt is the winner of the 2023 Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction. This $30,000 prize is awarded annually to a professional artist or arts/cultural professional in recognition of the highest level of artistic excellence and contribution to the development of the arts in Manitoba.
Di Brandt is a poet, essayist, educator, editor, and fiction-writer based in Winnipeg. She has authored thirteen poetry and essay collections and countless publications in anthologies and magazines both national and international. She has served as poetry editor for Manitoba-based magazines Prairie Fire and Contemporary Verse 2 and was selected as Winnipeg’s inaugural Poet Laureate for 2018-2020. She has held research and teaching appointments at several Canadian universities, including the University of Winnipeg and Brandon University. Di has also founded and coordinated a number of literary events and festivals, including World Poetry Day: Poetry in Many Languages at the Gas Station Theatre in Winnipeg.
Among her many accomplishments, Di was awarded the Gold National Magazine Award for Poetry for 2020, the Gabrielle-Roy Prize with Barbara Godard for 2010, the Canadian Authors’ Association (CAA) National Poetry Prize in 1995, and the McNally Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year Award for 1990. In 2021, she received an Honorary Doctorate of the University from Grant McEwen University.
“Di Brandt was the first woman from the farming villages of southern Manitoba to become a professional writer and public intellectual and provided extraordinary leadership in what became the ‘new Mennonite writing’ of North America,’ said Maurice Mierau, Di’s nominator. “Di Brandt is one of Manitoba’s most accomplished writers and cultural activists living in the province and is highly deserving of the Manitoba Arts Council Award of Distinction.”
“MAC is very proud to honour Di Brandt with the 2023 Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction,” says Randy Joynt, Executive Director of the Manitoba Arts Council. “Di is a trailblazing writer whose work challenges and confronts the status quo – for women writers, for the arts’ role in climate action, for marginalized voices – and has changed the landscape of the Canadian literary movement forever.”
The nominations for this award are reviewed by a multidisciplinary panel of peers who make their decision based on the artistic excellence of the candidate’s work and their contribution to the development of the arts in Manitoba. Previous Award of Distinction recipients include Daina Warren (2022), Alan Greyeyes (2020), Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan (2018), Diana Thorneycroft (2016), and Robert Archambeau (2014).
About the Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction
The Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction recognizes the the outstanding accomplishments of a Manitoban artist, Indigenous Knowledge Keeper, or arts/cultural professional through a $30,000 prize.
The nominations for this award are made by the community and reviewed by a multidisciplinary panel of peers who make their decision based on the excellence of the candidate’s work and their contribution to Manitoba’s arts and culture sector.
The deadline to submit a nomination for the Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction is December 15. Learn more on how to submit a nomination on the Recognize – Prizes page.