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2024 Canadian First Book Prize Winner

TORONTO – May 29, 2024 – The Griffin Poetry Prize is pleased to announce that Maggie Burton, author of Chores, is the winner of the 2024 Canadian First Book Prize. She will receive C$10,000 in prize money together with a six-week residency in Italy, in partnership with the Civitella Ranieri Foundation.

Judges Albert F. Moritz (Canada), Jan Wagner (Germany), and Anne Waldman (USA) each read 43 Canadian First Book Prize entries.

Maggie Burton will be invited to participate in the 2024 Griffin Poetry Prize Readings, to read from her winning book Chores.

The Readings will be held at Koerner Hall on Wednesday, June 5 and the evening will include a selection of readings by all eight finalists, and the 2024 Lifetime Recognition Award recipient. Tickets are now on sale and can be purchased at the box office of Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor Street West, or online.

General Admission, with 2024 Anthology – $30.00

Senior/Student, with 2024 Anthology – $25.00

The Griffin Poetry Prize was founded in 2000 to encourage and celebrate excellence in poetry.  

Biography: Newfoundland poet Maggie Burton is a multi-genre writer, professional violinist, and municipal politician, serving her second term as Councillor at Large for the City of St. John’s. Burton holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Memorial University and has spent much of her career working with the Suzuki Talent Education Program and the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra. She was awarded the Riddle Fence poetry prize prior to releasing her debut book of poetry, Chores (Breakwater Books, 2023), which was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and has had two poems previously receive NL Arts and Letters Awards. Prior to Chores, she has had work published in PrismThe Malahat ReviewRiddle FenceRoom and elsewhere. Through her poetry, Burton explores the social and physical realities surrounding women’s domestic labour, sexuality, and relationships through a queer, feminist, working class lens. She is currently working on her debut collection of short fiction. Burton writes and lives on the Avalon where she is raising her four young children.

Judges’ Citation: “Maggie Burton’s Chores is charming and profound, traditional and inventive. Its combination of qualities seems effortless but is not only the innate fruit of a vision but the result of skillful poetic design. The book’s detailed, intimate awareness beautifully evokes Newfoundland and expands to our worldwide cultural moment. Burton applies a critique of how we live while embracing life with tenderness and humour. For all the fate, traditional limitation, labour, bitter recognition that chores contain, perhaps the deepest desire of Chores is to fulfill its glimpses of hope beyond mere acceptance: “the old harbour was chock solid with seals // and harpoons and I now believe / with all my heart the stirring is true…”

Note to Booksellers: Griffin Poetry Prize book stickers are supplied free of charge. Please contact Ruth Smith at to place an order. 

Media Inquiries: Melissa Shirley, (647) 389-9510,

General Inquiries: Ruth Smith, Executive Director, (905) 618-0420,

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