Poet, novelist, activist and organizer, Helwig loves this city and gives back to it whenever she can.
Her 2008 novel Girls Fall Down (Coach House) is not only a beautiful work that's totally of the moment - dealing with bio-terrorism, homelessness, uneasy love - but also stars Toronto itself. As its hero, the photographer Alex, prowls T.O. for some decent subjects, Helwig takes us through our hospitals, coffee shops and of course the TTC.
But we don't dole out kudos for books alone. Helwig is totally involved in this city as a cultural worker and activist. She's the associate director of the Scream Literary Festival, which has grown from its one-off Scream In High Park to a 12-day orgy of spoken word. Currently in divinity school, she's active in the Out of the Cold program - featured prominently in Girls Fall Down - which offers safe refuge, hospitality and emergency shelter to the homeless.
We're talkin' total package here.