Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen was born in Saskatoon in 1968. She spent her childhood first in Calgary, and later on a farm in Saskatchewan. Her first collection, Clay Birds, won the Saskatchewan Book Award for Poetry in 1996. Her second collection Or was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award in 2004. Gunvaldsen Klaassen lives in Halifax with her husband James and their three sons.