Update: Steven Heighton died, of cancer, on April 19, 2022 at the age of 60.
Now based in Kingston, Steven Heighton began his creative life as an aspiring songwriter, in high school in Toronto. He kept at it into his early twenties, busking his way around Australia and Europe, playing a few small gigs, but before long he was devoting himself to writing books—poetry, at first, his lyrics morphing and learning to accompany themselves, to make their own music, as the words of a poem must do. Soon he was producing books of short stories, then novels, and then the rest. A long apprenticeship.
Steven Heighton’s songs and voice truly resonate with me. They give me a sort of ‘Where have you been all my life?’ feeling.
~ Ron Sexsmith
Steven Heighton’s debut album, The Devil’s Share (Wolfe Island Records/CRS Europe), follows eighteen books—poetry, fiction, and essays—including the 2016 Governor General’s Award-winning The Waking Comes Late and his novel Afterlands, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a best-of-year selection in several countries, and is (as of late 2021) in pre-production for film. Two of his other novels have also been optioned for film. His work, translated into twelve languages, has received four gold National Magazine Awards and appeared in Granta, The New York Times, Best English Stories, Best American Poetry, Best American Mystery Stories and five editions of Best Canadian Stories.
A stunning debut . . . fusing the maturity of a veteran poet’s work with the luscious tones and textures of a musical savant . . . The Devil’s Share is a masterpiece.
~ Thrive Global
On November 9, 2022, Steven Heighton was posthumously honoured as the year’s Limestone Arts Legacy Award recipient as part of the City of Kingston’s annual Mayor’s Arts Awards. From the City of Kingston’s website:
Steven Heighton (1961-2022) was a beloved poet, novelist, singer-songwriter, short story writer, and teacher/mentor who had and continues to have, an enormous impact on the larger artistic world that he had served throughout his life. As the author of 18 books ranging from poetry and short story anthologies to novels, his acclaimed works have been translated into many languages and are known worldwide. A multiple award winner for his writing, including the 2016 Governor General’s award for poetry, four gold National Magazine awards, and a New York Times book review editor’s choice for his novel Afterlands, Steven had just released his first album of original songs (The Devil’s Share) in 2021 through Wolfe Island Records – opening up a whole new channel for sharing his unique insights into human nature. A graduate of Queen’s University and longtime resident of Kingston, Steven was also known as an inspirational teacher, serving as writer-in-residence in many universities. He was committed to providing encouragement to writers at all stages of their craft and acting as a mentor to many emerging artists.