Joseph Boyden

Joseph Boyden

Joseph Boyden


Joseph Boyden is Canadian novelist and story writer. His first novel, Three Day Road, won the First Novel Award and his second novel, Through Black Spruce, won the 2008 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Boyden grew up in Willowdale, North York, Ontario and attended the Jesuit-run, Brebeuf College School. Boyden’s father Raymond Wildfrid Boyden was a medical officer renowned for his bravery. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and was the most highly decorated medical officer of World War II.

Of Irish, Scottish and Anishinaabe heritage, Boyden writes about First Nations heritage and culture. Three Day Road, a novel about two Cree soldiers serving in the Canadian military during World War I, is inspired by Ojibwa Francis Pegahmagabow, the legendary First World War sniper. Boyden’s second novel, Through Black Spruce follows the story of Will, son of one of the characters in Three Day Road.

Recently released, The Orenda, is his sweeping and ambitious new novel set amid the 17th century clashes involving Jesuit missionaries, the Huron and the Iroquois that marked Canada’s early beginnings.

Boyden studied creative writing at York University and the University of New Orleans, and subsequently taught in the Aboriginal Student Program at Northern College. He is currently a Lecturer with the UBC Creative Writing Program. He divides his time between Louisiana, where he and his wife, Amanda Boyden, are writers in residence and Northern Ontario.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada also named Boyden a TRC Honorary Witness at the TRC Alberta National Event in March 2014.