Two Stories. Same Theme. Caribbean Cdn authors dominate literary scene. Kellough and Lubrin in the news

 Kei Kellough makes the shortlist for the Gleed Award

Caribbean Canadian writers continue succeed even during these stay-at-home times

By Stephen Weir Last May 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 poetry book, Magnetic Equator. Almost a year to the day Kellough has made the shortlist for twenty-fourth annual Danuta Gleed Literary Award for his short story collection Dominoes at the Crossroads.


The Writers' Union of Canada administers the Gleed Award and announced the shortlist of contenders earlier this month. The Award recognizes the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2020 in the English language. The prize consists of cash prizes for the three best first collections, with a first prize of $10,000 and two additional prizes of $1,000.

Five authors have made the shortlist. In addition to Kellough; Frances Boyle (Seeking Shade), Sidura Ludwig (You Are Not What We Expected), Souvankham Thammavongsa (How to Pronounce Knife) and Jack Wang (We Two Alone) were nominated by the three member Jury. 

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


Dominoes at the Crossroads is a 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.


“Sometimes dreamlike, his stories are always suspenseful, his characters’ quests and dilemmas vividly depicted,” explained the Prize Jury. “Kellough writes from a perspective that is intensely aware of the cultural and historical ramifications of slavery, and how the past continues to exert its influence in the present. His prose is intricate and rich with image and metaphor. (The book) is a daring, ambitious, and spellbinding collection of short fiction.”

The Award was created as a celebration of the life of Danuta Gleed, a writer whose short fiction won several awards before her death in December 1996. The prize is made possible through a donation from John Gleed, in memory of his late wife. The winners will be announced on May 27 at 3 p.m. on The Writers’ Union of Canada’s Facebook page.

The Caribbean’s Best Writer

And Another Big International Win for Whitby's Canisia Lubrin

By Stephen Weir: We have said it before (a week ago in fact) and it bears repeating; with each passing major literary prize, St Lucian Canadian poet Canisia Lubrin shows that her place is at the podium on the world’s literary stage. 


Fresh on the heels of winning the $200,000 American Windham-Campbell Prize, the Whitby author has learned over the weekend that she has won the $10,000 US OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. The prize recognizes the best in Caribbean literature in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

She won the Prize for her new poetry book The Dyzgraphxst. The award was announced on Saturday from the Bocas Festival in Port of Spain in Trinidad.


The Dyzgraphxst  is described a  “spectacular feat of architecture called a poem …  it is about contemporary capitalist fascism, nationalism and the climate disaster, where Jejune, the central figure, grapples with understanding their existence and identity.”


Not Lubrin’s Only Achievement This Year: Earlier in April it was announced that the Whitby author is now in the running for Canada’s largest poetry prize. Scott Griffin, the founder of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry, revealed the International and Canadian shortlists for this year’s prize. Three Canadians including Lubrin are competing for the annual $65,000 Canadian poetry prize.

In March Canisia Lubrin was one of eight authors to win the world’s most generous literary prizes, the Windham-Campbell Prizes. She received annually to eight authors writing in English anywhere in the world.  Each $165,000 US to support  her work in poetry.

37-year old Canisia Lubrin is a writer, editor, teacher and critic, with work published widely in North America, as well as in the U.K. She is the author of the awards-nominated poetry collection Voodoo Hypothesis and augur. She teaches English at Humber College and Creative Writing at Sheridan College and in the University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies.  Born in St Lucia she now lives in Whitby.



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