Aritha van Herk is a cultural commentator as well as an award-winning Canadian novelist whose work has been acclaimed throughout North America and Europe. She has given readings, lectures, and workshops on culture and community, literature and life, in the United Kingdom, the United States, Singapore, Australia, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Austria, the Baltics, and Scandinavia. Her popular, creative and critical work has been widely published and her work has been translated into ten languages.

AvH was born in central Alberta, read every book in the library at Camrose, and studied at the University of Alberta. She first rose to international literary prominence with the publication of Judith, which received the Seal First Novel Award and which was published in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Her other novels include The Tent Peg; No Fixed Address: An Amorous Journey; Places Far From Ellesmere; Restlessness. In Visible Ink; and A Frozen Tongue collect her essays and ficto-criticism

Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta offers an unorthodox narrative of that province’s past. Mavericks so inspired the Glenbow Museum of Calgary, that they created a permanent Alberta gallery and named the gallery after the book. AvH returned to her Alberta stories to create Audacious and Adamant: A Maverick History of Alberta, the companion book to the exhibition.

AvH is a member of the Royal Society of Canada, and a Professor who teaches Canadian Literature and Creative Writing in the Department of English at the University of Calgary, but first of all, she is a writer who loves stories.


selection of awards and distinctions


  • Lecture of a Lifetime, University of Calgary.


  • Honorary Doctor of Canon Law, St. John’s College, University of Manitoba;
  • Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Distinguished Artist Award.


  • Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal for Contributions to culture and the arts;
  • Lorne Pierce Medal for achievement of special significance and conspicuous merit in imaginative or critical literature. Awarded by the Royal Society of Canada.


  • Calgary Public Library Champion Award;
  • Appointment to the Alberta Order of Excellence.
  • Community Achievement Award in the Arts at The Calgary Awards;
  • Writers Guild of Alberta Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement;
  • Winner, University of Calgary Students’ Union Teaching Excellence Award, Faculty of Arts;
  • Aritha van Herk Award established at Bow Valley College;
  • “The New Mavericks: A Citizen Journalism Project.” Published in Calgary Herald in October, 2010.  Winner of Great Ideas Award, Newspapers Canada.


  • Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta selected for One Book/One Calgary initiative, Calgary Public Library. Book read and discussed by the city as a whole.


  • Admitted as a Member to the Order of the University of Calgary;
  • Nominated for the Torode Established Arts Award, The City of Calgary and the Calgary Professional Arts Alliance, Mayor’s Evening for Business and the Arts Awards.


  • Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta, Glenbow Museum Exhibition, Winner, City of Calgary White Hat of the Year Award;
  • Mavericks: An Incorrigible History of Alberta recognized as inspiration for the new permanent gallery at the Glenbow Museum.