Helen Henderson Literary Award

The Helen Henderson Award was established in 2016 to acknowledge an exceptional piece of writing that raises social awareness of a disability issue or barrier.

About Helen Henderson

Helen Henderson was a writer, a journalist, and the pioneer of a column in the Toronto Star that brought disability concerns to the public.

Henderson earned English degrees from Bishop’s University in Quebec and the University of Toronto. Her career at the Star began in 1971 as a business reporter.

She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the late 1970s; since then she fought to maintain her independence.

After moving to the Star’s Life section she proposed writing a column about people with disabilities and the issues they face. She was the first person at the Star to address disability issues on a regular basis.

Henderson provided critical coverage in the early days of the Direct Funding Program. She was elected as president of the Board to CILT in 2014.

Ryerson University posthumously recognized Henderson as a graduate of the Disability Studies program when it awarded her degree to her family. Ryerson also established the Helen Henderson Writing Award for Disability Activism.


Recipients of the Helen Henderson Award are:

Nancy Xia “A Lioness in Lamb’s Clothing” (page 167) 2016
John Rae “Celebrating 25 Years of the AEBC: Reflecting on our Past – Planning our Future” 2017
Connie Economopoulos “Learning about the Ontario Direct Funding Program for People with Disabilities” 2018
Not awarded 2019
Dorothy Palmer  “What my scooter taught me about barriers” 2020
TBD 2021