Fred Wah is one of the most important and innovative writers and critics to have emerged from western Canada in the second half of the twentieth century. Since 1965, Wah has published 24 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, the first entitled Lardeau (1965), the most recent, is a door (2009). Waiting For Saskatchewan (1985) won a Governor General's Literary Award in 1986 and So Far was awarded the Stephanson Award for Poetry in 1992.
He has been editorially involved with a number of literary magazines, including Open Letter and West Coast Line. He was a member of the TISH collective. His book Diamond Grill, a biofiction about hybridity and growing up in a small-town Chinese-Canadian cafe, was published in 1996 and won the Howard O'Hagan Award for Short Fiction. A collection of essays, Faking It: Poetics and Hybridity, was awarded the Gabrielle Roy Prize for Writing on Canadian literature. He has also created works in collaboration with other writers and across genres and disciplines, including photography, painting, and video, as documented in his 2008 book, Sentenced to Light. He is the current Parliamentary Poet Laureate for Canada.