My first collection of poetry, Float and Scurry, has  been released and is available for purchase.  For more details re: launch event particulars see below.


League of Canadian Poets
2020 Book Awards Announcement

Float and Scurry  is the winner of the 2020 GERALD LAMPERT MEMORIAL AWARD!

From the Jurors... In the rapid-fire collection Float and Scurry, Heather Birrell tackles parenting, patriarchy, personal politics and much more, often while driving the reader to laughter. So many of this book's subjects and projects are notoriously difficult to write in a way that is engaging: meditations on modern technology, extended dream sequences, notes towards an unwritten novel. Like a champion roller-skater, Birrell makes each near-impossible feat look effortless and entertaining. Every word soars, every moment works.

Check out all the other award winning authors:


Upcoming Events/READINGS

Writing Your Astonishment: A Poetry Incubator with Heather Birrell

In this online workshop, participants will write a ton of stuff! Using Natalie Goldberg’s free-writing techniques, as well as a series of poems and objects as inspiration, we will attempt to transcend our sense-making selves to express what truly astonishes us. We will also play with form and collaboration to find the weird and surprising and sad and delightful in language.
No writing experience required. Classes will use Baxter’s Zoom account (  More details upon sign up.

Date: June 13 and 14th
Time: 9:30am to 11:30am
Fee: $50


CIUT Interview - Heather Birrell

Radio Interview

Interview will be airing on Tuesday June 3th on CIUT 89.5 FM.
The program is called HOWL:


TBAReading Event

Reading with Ayaz Pirani and Ayesha Chatterjee
Knife Fork Book
Artscape Youngplace
180 Shaw Street

Past Events/READINGS

Lit Live

Sunday March 1, 7:30 pmLit Live

The Staircase Theatre​, 27 Dundurn St. N.,

St Clair/Silverthorne Library

Tuesday February 11, 7 pmBoneshaker Reading Series

St. Clair/Silverthorn Library, 1748 St. Clair Ave. W,

Pivot Reading Series

Thursday December 5Pivot Reading Series

Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Ave., TORONTO
7:15 pm


Friday  November 22 - The Factory Reading Series pre-small press book fair reading: Birrell, Blouin, Colistro + Earl,
span-o (the small press action network - ottawa) presents:

The Factory Reading Series
Pre-small press book fair reading celebrating 25 years of the ottawa small press book fair
featuring readings by:

Heather Birrell (Toronto)
Michael Blouin (Kemptville)
Vincent Colistro (Toronto)
+ Amanda Earl (Ottawa)

lovingly hosted as part of a rare public appearance by poet, provocateur and accidental recluse, Rob Mclennan
WHEN: Friday, November 22, 2019;
doors 7pm; reading 7:30pm
WHERE: The Carleton Tavern,
223 Armstrong Street (at Parkdale; upstairs)
Ottawa, Ontario
Frontier College Toronto

Sunday November 10Float and Scurry Launch

The event will be hosted by Stuart Ross, who was a fabulous, gentle mentor through this process, and I will be joined by fellow poets Andrea Thompson and Steve Venright. We will also have a couple of amazing musical guests, drinks and nibbles, and, of course, books for sale!

Here are the particulars:
WHEN: Sunday November 10, 6-9:30 pm
WHERE: Frontier College, 35 Jackes Ave. (St. Clair subway stop, wheelchair accessible)
WHAT: Readings and Music, all for FREE (but we suggest a donation to support Frontier College, a charity that does amazing literacy work!)


CBC Books·Fall Book Preview
23 collections of Canadian poetry to watch for this fall

Heather Birrell's ambitions are thrown off by the surreal arrival of characters like Mr. T, Joni Mitchell, Fidel Castro and her mother in Float and Scurry, her debut poetry collection. The book explores the pursuit of writing, libraries, well-meaning friends and family and the death of the planet with humour and heart.

2019 awards

My poem “Snow Day Poem” won the hearts of readers to earn the Readers’ Choice award in Arc Magazine’s poem of the year!

Recently Published

Teacher, poet Heather Birrell: York Memorial fire destroyed books, sparked appreciation...

I recently wrote about the importance of physical books – and how the loss of many of those books in a school fire affected me and my students. You can find my thoughts here:

RECENT workshops

Back to School Yoga & Writing Retreat In Prince Edward County:
September 27-29th, 2019

I will be co-teaching a yoga and writing retreat with my sister Julie Birrell in September in beautiful Prince Edward County. Come join us – and learn more about my teaching philosophy.

"The Birrell sisters believe in making time and space for our messy, mysterious, creative selves. Come experience a weekend free of city noise, inhibition, and distraction. We'll eat great food, stretch our bodies, and stretch our writing muscles too.

This just might be the school of your dreams!"