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Presented to a Canadian writer to honour their exceptional body of work in television or film. 

Born in New York City, raised in Toronto, Denis’ work explored the tensions and contradictions of the Canadian experience, often with sly humour and a populist touch. He co-created Across The River to Motor City, a noir tale of JFK’s assassination and family secrets, set in Detroit and Windsor. The series won a Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award, and Gemini nominations for Best Writing and Best Miniseries.

As Co-Executive Producer of X Company and Continuum, he wrote heartfelt, gripping stories exploring Canadians’ hopes and values, both past and future. Whether in drama, comedy, sci-fi, or kids’ television, Denis brought his insight into the human experience to dozens of shows, including Aftermath, Bitten, Rent-A-Goalie, Less Than Kind, Stargate Universe, Flashpoint, The Border, Creeped Out, and more.

Even before that, as a journalist and producer, Denis helped build unique Canadian networks like Space, Citytv, Bravo!, and TVO. He taught at Ryerson University for over a decade and was Executive Producer in Residence at the Canadian Film Centre.

And through it all, Denis championed Canadian television fiercely. His voice rang loud in the news media, on his industry blog, through Writers Talking TV, and in his work with the Writers Guild of Canada. In 2015, he received the WGC’s Writers Block Award for exceptional service to writers; it was recently renamed the Denis McGrath Award in his memory.

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