Caribbean Canadian Writers Continue To Pen Their Own Success Stories During The Shutdown


Stephen Weir

Release Date

Monday, August 24, 2020


Back in May of this year Kaie Kellough won the richest poetry prize in the land.  The Guyanese Canadian poet Kaie Kellough was awarded the annual $65,000 Griffin Poetry Prize for his book, Magnetic Equator. 

Kellough was born in British Columbia and now lives in Montreal.  His maternal family is originally from Guyana and much of his poetry revolves around that Caribbean heritage and life experiences.

Earlier this week Queen’s University’s Creative Writing department announced that Kellough will be the 2020/2021 Writer-in-Residence, beginning in January 2021.  The University is located in Kingston, Ontario.

As well he will be in Toronto on October 6th to speak at Harbourfront about his 2020 novel Dominoes at the Crossroads. In this collection of linked stories from the Caribbean Canadian diaspora. Kellough’s characters navigate race, history, and coming-of-age by way of their confessions and dreams.

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ANDRE ALEXIS was born in Trinidad and grew up in Ottawa.  He is a past winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for his novel Fifteen Dogs (2015). The 43- year old award winning author now lives in Toronto.

Alexis has been busy during the Covid quarantine.  He has just written a three-part CBC audio drama inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Metamorphosis: a Viral Trilogy is a story about how a fictional pandemic plays out in Toronto. The story is told from three perspectives through the journals they kept while quarantined. All three episodes will be free to download on August 31st.

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CANISIA LUBRIN Score another prize nomination for an emerging Caribbean Canadian author. In May 2020 Whitby poet Canisia Lubrin was one of five young Canadian writers to win the Writers’ Trust Rising Star award.  This week twelve young Canadian writers, including Lubrin,made the longlist for the McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize.  She is nominated for her Brick Magazine article No ID or We Could Be Brothers.

The annual $10,000 award is given to the best short fiction published in a Canadian magazine. It is geared to writers in the early stages of their careers and is administered by the Writers’ Trust.

THE GILLER PRIZE has made a donation of $25,000 to Diaspora Dialogues.  The donation was inspired by the ongoing challenges society has faced in 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of protests for racial justice around the world.

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Diaspora Dialogues helps emerging Black, Indigenous and other writers of colour hone their craft through mentorships, development workshops, events and residencies. They also publish TOK Magazine.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is a $100,000 award that annually recognizes the best in Canadian fiction. It is the richest literary fiction prize in Canada. Last year's winner was Reproduction by Ian Williams.

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 IAN WILLIAMS author and poet won last year’s Giller for his debut novel Reproduction.  His publishers have just announced that Williams has been writing a non-fiction book about race. Disorientation: The Experience of Being Black in the World will be released in the fall of 2021.

It is reported that the new book will explore issues such as the nature of Black identity and being Black in the world. Williams was born in Trinidad and raised in Brampton.  He now teaches in British Columbia.

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DAVID CHARIANDY. Speaking of the Giller Prize, author David Chariandy has been named to the jury of the 2020 Giller longlist, which comes out next month.

Chariandy is a Canadian writer. His parents immigrated to Canada from Trinidad in the 1960s. He was born in Scarborough and now lives in Vancouver and teaches at Simon Fraser University.

Brother, his second novel set in Scarborough, received rave reviews, was named a Best Book of 2017 on no fewer than eight lists, and won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

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