The recipient of the prestigious Floyd S. Chalmers and Dora Mavor Moore literary awards, this Cree-Canadian writer is perhaps most famous for his plays Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing (1989) and The Rez Sisters (1986).
After earning bachelor's degrees in English and Music from the University of Western Ontario, he became a social worker on Native Canadian reservations, an experience that would inform many of his literary works.
He penned a 1998 novel titled Kiss of the Fur Queen and wrote Dragonfly Kites, Caribou Song, and other acclaimed children's books. He was the 2001 recipient of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award.
Tragically, his younger brother, actor and dancer René Highway, died of AIDS in 1990. A native of Brochet, Manitoba, Tomson Highway later shared homes in both Ontario and France with his longtime partner, Raymond Lalonde.
He and his Canadian contemporary, screen actor Gordon Tootoosis, both grew up in Cree families.