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The biennial Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Poetry awards more than $25,000 to Canadian poets whose work wrestles with the complexity of religious belief. We want to hear from Canadian poets and writers who are grappling with the divine, those for whom poetry is—as Christian Wiman would describe it—a form of theology. 

The Mitchell Prize seeks to encourage writers whose poems foster access to spiritual experience—writers whose poems work as lenses through which the world is more closely seen. Poets working in any faith tradition are welcome to enter. Presented by Image, the prize is open to all writers currently living in Canada and Canadian citizens living abroad.


Suzanne Buffam

Shane McCrae (lead judge)

Liz Howard


The 2021 Mitchell Prize Award Celebration 

We’re making plans to announce the winner of the 2021 Mitchell Prize at an award celebration in Toronto in October.

We will move this announcement online if necessary due to public health concerns. More details about this event coming in summer 2021.   

Scenes from the 2019 Mitchell Prize Award Celebration at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto

Ross and Davis Mitchell


When Ross Mitchell passed away in December 2013, he left behind a legacy of storytelling. Although he was many things—lawyer, entrepreneur, philanthropist—his wife Davis recalls that what most people remembered about him were his stories, and particularly how his faith was expressed through his stories. Davis, with a Masters in Theological Studies and a career as a spiritual director, is no stranger to the powerful role that stories play in spiritual growth, and much of her work has focused on the importance stories and faith play in healthy lives. 

As a graduate of the University of Toronto (with a BA in English literature), Ross went on to Law school at the University of Toronto. After just over half a decade of practicing law, he left to establish Madison Chemical, a company that would grow into a successful, international corporation. Ross and Davis leveraged this success to launch The Mitchell Foundation in 2000, with the goal to sponsor and support faith-based organizations that were seeking to bring their message into contemporary Canadian society. 

Davis is currently president of the family business and chair of the foundation. With a renewed focus on grassroots movements, Davis is excited about the creative ways that faith can enrich the imaginations and lives of Canadians today. “We want to be a part of the discussion around the social architecture of our country,” Davis explained, “and what role faith will play in the coming decades. Canadian writers can be an important part of this discussion!” 

As they raised their three children, Davis spent many happy hours reading to them the stories of C.S. Lewis at their Northern Ontario cottage, seeing how their faith came alive through the power of such tales. “Writing,” she says, “is the great connector. Stories can be the bridge, helping us to connect to one another, which is what we need in a diverse Canadian society.” And Davis is convinced that if we are interested in seeing a secular society that protects religious freedom and is open to the valuable gifts of religion, such stories need to be told, shared, and celebrated. 


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