Tomson Highway was born December 6, 1951 in northwest Manitoba. He did not learn to speak English until he was six years old. In high school, he was considered to be a musical prodigy, and he later attended the University of Western Ontario where he obtained degrees in both Music and English. Highway then spent two years at the University of Manitoba Faculty of Music studying piano. He went on to study to be a concert pianist in London under William Aide He is best known for his plays The Rez Sisters and Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing, both of which won him the Dora Mavor Moore Award and the Floyd S. Chalmers Award. In addition to writing plays, he has worked as a producer, actor and stage manager. Before his career in theatre, he spent seven years working with Aboriginal organizations. His Native Performing Arts Company is Toronto's only professional Aboriginal theatre company. Highway's awards also include the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama. In 1994, he was made a member of the Order of Canada. In 2000, Maclean's named him as one of the 100 most important people in Canadian history. In 2001, he received a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the field of arts and culture.