The Lina Chartrand Award

Between our desire for absolute love and
inability to love absolutely lies a great fear.
When, despite this paradox, our desires do
not die, it is a cause for celebration.

The lines above were written by the late Lina Chartrand. These powerful lines speak with great illumination not only about the talent of the woman who wrote them, but also about the sometimes tumultuous relationship of an artist with their art. A gifted playwright, dramaturge, screenwriter, and poet, Lina Chartrand was also a passionate Toronto activist who worked tirelessly to combat poverty and racial and sexual discrimination, advocated for disabled people, fought to improve conditions of the workforce for women and for access to fair and affordable legal services for those who need them. Her dedication led her to combine her artistic talents with her political efforts and commit her art to those she wished to help.

After her death in 1994 from complications related to liver disease, Lina Chartrand’s friends and family established the Lina Chartrand Poetry Award to honour her memory and her commitment to working on behalf of the rights of others. Contemporary Verse 2 has administered the award since its inception in 1994.

The award was created to recognize an emerging poet as a tribute to the spirit of Lina Chartrand’s life and work. This opportunity exists to celebrate women’s achievements in writing. Writers are chosen for this award from women published in CV2 during the previous year, and receive $500 and a copy of We make the air: The collected poetry of Lina Chartrand.


CV2 offers its heartfelt thanks specifically to Maureen Hynes, Liz Ukrainetz and Kye Marshall for their work on behalf of Lina’s memory and their dedication to the support of women’s writing.