Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

September 30, 2003

Author Dionne Brand returns to U of G as writer-in-residence

Dionne Brand, a recipient of the Governor General's Award for Poetry, is the 2003-2004 writer-in-residence at the University of Guelph. Brand will read from her novel in progress Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. in Pages café, above the U of G bookstore. The event is free and open to the public.

The writer-in-residence program allows Guelph students to meet with a professional author to engage in critical dialogue about writing. The program is made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts and the College of Arts.

"We are delighted to be able to partner with the Canada Council to bring such an outstanding Canadian writer to the university and community as writer-in-residence," said Jacqueline Murray, dean of the College of Arts. "These kinds of collaborations provide us with opportunities to enhance our already significant cadre of creative writers on campus, and allow us to form important contacts with our local literary community."

Brand, a U of G English professor from 1992 to 1994, is a Toronto-based poet, novelist and essayist whose most recent volume of poetry, thirsty, won the Pat Lowther Award for Poetry. It was also nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the Trillium Award for Literature, an award she received in 1997 for Land to Light On. In addition to eight volumes of poetry, Brand's work includes the novels At the Full and Change of the Moon and In Another Place Not Here, and a collection of short stories, Sans Souci and Other Stories.

"It's a great pleasure and significant honour to welcome Dionne Brand back to Guelph as writer-in-residence," said Alan Shepard, director of the School of English and Theatre Studies. "She's an artist at the centre of contemporary debates about race, global transfiguration, sexual identity and colonialism. Her poems, essays and novels are politically and socially engaged in the serious matters of life that Guelph students and others in the U of G community care about."

Brand believes it's important to encourage young people who are considering writing professionally. "Because corporate sensibility has crept into most thinking, I don't think many young people are encouraged to see writing poetry or novels or plays as wise or profitable," she said. "So if I find young writers who think that's what they want to do with their life, that's a real treasure, that's a gift."

Brand will be balancing her time between meeting with students and working on her current work in progress, a novel set in Toronto scheduled to be published in fall 2004. "I think that Toronto, with all its multiple identities, affords us an interesting surrealist gaze," she said. "My new novel is about the lives of four young people seen through that prism."

Brand is available to visit classes, give readings or consult one-on-one about writing in any genre during the fall 2003 and spring 2004 semesters.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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