He received his B.A. in 1956 from the University of Alberta and then studied at the University of Tübingen in West Germany. In 1958 he married Tena Isaak, with whom he had two children.
He is deeply committed to the literary culture of Canada and has shown a particular interest in the traditions and struggles of people in the Prairie provinces, both whites and Aboriginals.
Wiebe won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction twice, for The Temptations of Big Bear (1973) and A Discovery of Strangers (1994). He was awarded the Royal Society of Canada’s Lorne Pierce Medal in 1986. In 2000 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada