David Adams Richards

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The Honourable
David Adams Richards
David Adams Richards - DanH-4021 (cropped).jpg
Richards in 2014
Senator from New Brunswick
Assumed office
August 30, 2017
Nominated by Justin Trudeau
Appointed by David Johnston
Preceded by John D. Wallace
Personal details
Born (1950-10-17) 17 October 1950 (age 67)
Newcastle, New Brunswick
Political party Non-affiliated[1]
Spouse(s) Peggy McIntyre
Profession Writer
Awards Governor General's Award
Gemini Award
Giller Prize

David Adams Richards, CM, ONB (born 17 October 1950) is a Canadian writer[2] and member of the Canadian Senate.[3]


Born in Newcastle, New Brunswick, Richards left St. Thomas University in Fredericton, three credits shy of completing a BA.[4] After publishing a poetry chapbook in 1972 he won the Norma Bailey Award, a literary prize for unpublished writing by Canadian university students, in 1974 for an excerpt from his novel manuscript The Coming of Winter, and the novel was published later that year as his fiction debut.


Over his career as a writer, Richards has published novels, stage plays, short stories and non-fiction work. His fiction typically addresses the lives and experiences of poor and working class residents of the Miramichi region of New Brunswick, exploring spiritual and philosophical themes influenced by Richards' Roman Catholic faith.[5]

Richards has been a writer-in-residence at various universities and colleges across Canada, including the University of New Brunswick.

On August 30, 2017, the appointment of Richards to the Senate of Canada on the advice of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was announced.[3]

On April 25, 2018, Richards resigned from the Independent Senators Group to sit as a non-caucasing independent senator.[6]


Richards has received numerous awards including two Gemini Awards for scriptwriting for Small Gifts and For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down, the Alden Nowlan Award for Excellence in the Arts, and the Canadian Authors Association Award for his novel Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace. Richards is one of only three writers to have won in both the fiction and non-fiction categories of the Governor General's Award. He won the 1988 fiction award for Nights Below Station Street and the 1998 non-fiction award for Lines on the Water: A Fisherman's Life on the Miramichi. He was also a co-winner of the 2000 Giller Prize for Mercy Among the Children. The Writers' Federation of New Brunswick administers an annual David Adams Richards Prize for Fiction.[7]

In 2009, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada "for his contributions to the Canadian literary scene as an essayist, screenwriter and writer of fiction and non-fiction".[8]

In 2011, Richards received the Matt Cohen Prize.[9]


Richards' papers are currently housed at the University of New Brunswick.[10]

In 2014, Halifax singer-songwriter Dan MacCormack released an album of songs inspired by Richards' novels, called Symphony of Ghosts. The title was taken from a line in Mercy Among the Children.[11]


David Adams Richards talks about Incidents in the Life of Markus Paul on Bookbits radio.


  • Small Heroics (1972) (chapbook)


  • The Dungarvon Whooper (1975)
  • Water Carrier, Bones and Earth (1983)
  • Hockey Dreams (2009)

Short stories[edit]

  • Dancers at Night (1978)
  • Dane (1978)


  • A Lad From Brantford and Other Essays (1994)
  • Hockey Dreams: Memories of a Man Who Couldn't Play (1996)
  • Lines on the Water: A Fisherman's Life on the Miramichi (1998, winner of the 1998 Governor General's Award)
  • Extraordinary Canadians: Lord Beaverbrook (2008)
  • God is. (2009)
  • Facing the Hunter: Reflections on a Misunderstood Way of Life (2011)


  • "Non-Judgmental Truth: An Interview with David Adams Richards" by Craig Proctor, Blood & Aphorisms (Winter 1998)

Personal life[edit]

In 1971, he married the former Peggy McIntyre. They have two sons, John Thomas Richards and Anton Richards, and reside in Fredericton as of December 2012.[12][13]


  1. ^ "Trudeau-appointed senator quits group of Independents" CTV News, April 25, 2018.
  2. ^ "David Adams Richards". The Canadian Encyclopedia, April 10, 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Trudeau appoints acclaimed writer David Adams Richards to Senate". Toronto Star, August 30, 2017.
  4. ^ Zenari, Vivian. "David Adams Richards". Athabasca University - Centre for Language and Literature. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  5. ^ "Canadian author hides message of hope in bleak landscape". The Catholic Register, December 4, 2016.
  6. ^ "Trudeau-appointed senator quits group of Independents" CTV News, April 25, 2018.
  7. ^ "24 Years of WFNB Literary Competition Winners!". Writers' Federation of New Brunswick. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  8. ^ "Governor General Announces 57 New Appointments to the Order of Canada". Office of the Secretary to the Governor General. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "New Brunswick author wins big prize". Times & Transcript, November 3, 2011.
  10. ^ "David Adams Richards fonds". University of New Brunswick. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  11. ^ Johns, Stephanie, "Dan MacCormack is book smart", The Coast, 13 November 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Books: The Friends of Meager Fortune". Random House. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 
  13. ^ "Adams Richards named to Order of Canada". The Daily Gleaner. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 10 March 2010. 

External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • Richards' item at English-Canadian writers, Aathabasca University, by Vivian Zenari; incl. several hyperlinks