David Helwig was born in Toronto in 1938, has lived in Kingston and Montreal, studied in at the University of Liverpool and now resides in Belfast, PEI. He is the author of 40 books, including fiction, poetry and non-fiction, and in 2007 won the Matt Cohen Prize, presented by the Writer's Trust of Canada, for a lifetime of distinguished literary work. In 2009 he was made a member of the Order of Canada. He published his first stories, in Canadian Forum and The Montrealer, while still an undergraduate. For two summers he worked in summer stock with the Straw Hat Players, mostly as a business manager and technician, working with such actors as Gordon Pinsent, Jackie Burroughs, William B. Davis and Timothy Findley. He was an English professor at Queens University from 1962 to '74. While he taught at Queen's, he did some informal teaching in Collins Bay Penitentiary and wrote A Book about Billie with a former inmate. In 1974, John Hirsch hired him as literary manager of CBC television drama, and he spent two years in this position, supervising the work of story editors and the department's relations with writers. From 1976 to 1980, he taught part time at Queen's while doing a great deal of freelance work, and in 1980, he gave up teaching and became a full-time freelance writer. The Sway of Otherwise, which came out in 2008, is his most recent collection of poetry.
"The Sway of Otherwise
is a wonderful collection. These are beautiful poems: spare, elegant and intelligent, they are so well-worked that their sway looks effortless."
— Dalhousie Review