Poet Caniza Lubrin - another Caribbean Canadian enters the literary winner's circle

Score another major literary win for a Caribbean Canadian author. Earlier this week Whitby poet Canisia Lubrin was one of five young Canadian writers to win the Writers’ Trust Rising Star award.
The St Lucian born writer was chosen by Vancouver playwright Anosh Irani because he considers her to be one of Canada’s top new writers. Already a gifted poet, Irani says “it will be extremely rewarding for us as she turns her devastating gifts to prose. She will push us and break us in ways that will continue to let the light in.”.
The Rising Stars award is a national development program that recognizes talented authors in the early stages of their careers with $5,000 and highlights their work with an endorsement from a proven, influential author. In addition to receiving one-on-one guidance, the five Rising Stars will attend a series of professional and networking events and attend a two-week self-directed writing residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity in Alberta.
Lubrin is a writer, editor, and teacher. Her first book, a poetry collection called Voodoo Hypothesis was published three years ago. It was named a CBC Best Poetry Book, and was nominated for a whack of poetry prizes.  Her second book, The Dyzgraphxst, came out a few weeks ago, just in time for the virus shutdown.
“The pandemic has thrown the world of book publishing off its axis, of course,” she told the Caribbean Camera. “Much of the promotional work that happens for new books require people to be in close proximity: festivals, readings, panels, school visits, and that sort of thing. So, yes, getting the word out about The Dyzgraphxst,  is now limited to what can be done online, in print and radio.”
“I have been fortunate to still be offered virtual events (readings and panel discussions) through festivals here and in the Caribbean.”
Lubrin came to Canada after finishing high school in St Lucia. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph and was recently the writer-in-residence at Queen’s University. In addition to her career as a writer, Lubrin teaches at Humber College and works as an editor with Buckrider Books.
In winning the Writers Trust Prize, Lubrin is already begun work on her next project. “I am delighted to get to work with Anosh on my novel, which I started as my MFA thesis at the University of Guelph years ago. We've already begun our mentorship already and I am so fortunate to have his skills be brought to bear on this work.
In winning the Rising Star programme Canisia Lubrin joins an elite group of award winning Caribbean Canadian writers. In the past three years six authors have won the top literary awards given out in this country.  In March Trinidadian Canadian  Simone Dalton won the $10,000 Taylor Prize Emerging Author Award. Late last year Ian Williams won the $100,000 Giller Prize for his novel Reproduction. Andre Alexis, has won the Writer’s Trust Prize twice (2015 and 2019), CBC’s Canada Reads and the Giller Prize for his books 15 Dogs and Days by Moonlight.  Trinidadian Canadian David Chaudhary won the Giller Prize for Brother his 2017 novel about growing up in Malvern. Dionne Brand is a much awarded poet  who last year won the Blue Metropolis Violet Prize.She has also won the $25,000 Governor Generals Award,  The Trillium Award,  the City of Toronto Book Award and one of the world’s richest poetry awards, the annual $65,000 Griffith Prize.
“St. Lucia is always home in a sense. I go back as often as I can afford do, not least because so many of my family members and lifelong friends are there. I am in close contact with our small and mighty St. Lucian writers both in diaspora and in St. Lucia: John Robert Lee, Vladimir Lucien, Jane King, Kendel Hippolyte, and others.”
I am in close contact with our small and mighty St. Lucian writers both in diaspora and in St. Lucia: John Robert Lee, Vladimir Lucien, Jane King, Kendel Hippolyte, and others.
“I know that a lot more needs to be invested in St. Lucian literature by governments, It is astounding how much St. Lucian writers have contributed to literature in the Caribbean and in the world, even with the limited resources available."


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