Tomson Highway was born in a snow bank on the Manitoba/Nunavut border to a family of nomadic caribou hunters. He was raised off-reserve, in the spectacularly beautiful natural landscape that is Canada’s sub-Arctic. He had the great privilege of growing up in two languages, neither of which was French or English; but Cree, his mother tongue, and Dene, the language of the neighbouring “nation”; a people with whom they roamed and hunted.
Following an education where he earned both a Bachelor of Music and the equivalent of a Bachelor of Arts with an English major, he spent seven years immersed in the field of Native social work. He then combined his education and training and poured himself into writing.
Today Tomson enjoys an international career as playwright, novelist, pianist, composer and song writer. Tomson is best known for the of universal hits such as The Rez Sisters, DryLips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, Rose, Ernestine Shuswap Gets her Trout and the best-selling novel Kiss of the Fur Queen. He has also published a number of children’s books, namely Caribou Song, Dragon Fly Kites and Fox on the Ice. His work has been translated into eleven languages. For many years Tomson was Artistic Director of Canada’s premiere aboriginal theatre company, Toronto based Native Earth Performing Arts, from which has emerged an entire generation of playwrights and theatre artists.
Tomson is the recipient of ten honorary doctorates and is a member of the order of Canada. His awards and nominations include Dora Mavor Moore Awards, Governor General’s Literary Award, Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award, Toronto Arts Award, and National Aboriginal Achievement Award.
Fluent in Cree, French and English, he continues to write, teach, lecture, and perform across Canada and around the world.