On July 20, Gloria (Ostrem) Sawai passed away at 79. The former student and faculty member at Camrose Lutheran College – now the University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus – was the recipient of the 2002 Governor General’s Literary Award for her book, A Song for Nettie Johnson. She was recognized by her alma mater with a 2003 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Sawai was born in Minneapolis to a Lutheran minister. The family moved to Saskatchewan when Sawai was a child, then later to Alberta.She attended Camrose Lutheran College until 1948, then completed a Bachelor of Arts at Augsburg College in Minneapolis.
She didn’t begin writing full time until the late 1990s, after a career as a teacher at Grant MacEwan, and has been an integral part of the Edmonton literary community for decades.