Part-time Professor

1973 – BA Hons, English, Lakehead University
1974 – MA, English, Queen’s University (Thesis on Sylvia Plath)
1975 – Master of Public Administration, Queen’s University

Office: 613-230-7854

Work E-mail:

Cyril Dabydeen


For current course descriptions, see the graduate and undergraduate brochures in the Programs of Study section of this site

University degrees

1973 – BA Hons, English, Lakehead University
1974 – MA, English, Queen’s University (Thesis on Sylvia Plath)
1975 – Master of Public Administration, Queen’s University

Fields of interest

Creative Writing
Modern and Contemporary Canadian Literature
Post-Colonial Literature
Caribbean, Asian, and African Literatures

On Editorial Board: Journal of Caribbean Literatures (Central Arkansas University, USA).

Appeared in over 60 literary magazines and anthologized in 20 volumes in seven countries including in the Penguin, Oxford, and Heinemann Books of Caribbean Verse;  Best Canadian Stories (Oberon Press); and Caribbean New Wave: Contemporary Short Stories(Heinemann). Magazine credits include: Critical Quarterly (UK), Atlanta Review (US), The Literary Quarterly (US), Exempla (W. Germany),Kunapipi (Australia), World Literature Today (U of Oklahoma), Wasafiri(UK), Planet International (Wales), Queen’s Quarterly, Fiddlehead,Canadian Forum, Antigonish Review, Dalhousie ReviewCanadian Literature,Prism InternationalGrain, DescantCanadian Fiction Magazine, etc.   

Selected books published

Short Stories of Cyril Dabydeen: Guyana Classics Series (Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick, 2011).

Unanimous Night (Black Moss Press, 2009). Poetry.

Uncharted Heart (Borealis Press, Ottawa, 2008). Poetry.

Drums of My Flesh (TSAR Publications, Toronto, 2005). Novel.

Play A Song Somebody: New and Selected Stories (Mosaic Press, ON, 2005).

Imaginary Origins: New and Selected Poems (Peepal Tree, UK, 2004).

North of the Equator (Beach Holme, Vancouver, 2001). Short stories.

My Brahmin Days and Other Stories (TSAR, Toronto, 2000).

Discussing Columbus (Peepal Tree, UK, l997). Poetry.                      

Black Jesus and Other Stories (TSAR, Toronto, l997).

Berbice Crossing (Peepal Tree, UK, 1996). Short stories.

Sometimes Hard (Longman, UK, l994). Young adult.             

Stoning the Wind (TSAR, Toronto, l994). Poetry.

Jogging in Havana (Mosaic Press, ON, l992). Short stories.

Dark Swirl (Peepal Tree, UK, l989; rptd. 2007). Novel.

The Wizard Swami (Peepal Tree, UK, l989). Novel.

Coastland: New and Selected Poems (Mosaic, ON, l989)         

Books edited

Beyond Sangre Grande: Caribbean Writing Today. (TSAR, Toronto, 2011).

Another Way to Dance: Contemporary Asian Poetry in Canada and the USA(TSAR, Toronto, 1996).

Another Way to Dance: Asian-Canadian Poetry (Williams-Wallace, 1990).

A Shapely Fire: Changing the Literary Landscape (Mosaic Press, ON, l987).

Cyril Dabydeen has done over 300 literary readings (including in about 40 colleges and universities). E.g., being a Dana International Writer at St Lawrence University, NY; at the University of Miami, University of Oklahoma, Columbia University, CUNY, Rhode Island College, University of Kent (ACLALS), University of Lisbon, University of the West Indies (Mona Campus, Jamaica);  at Toronto’s Harboufront Reading Series, the Ottawa International Writers Festival, the National Library of Canada; and as a guest writer of: the Nordic Association of Canadian Studies (1986), the Indian Association of Canadian Studies (1997), the Association of Canadian Studies Netherlands (2007), etc.

Awards and honours

Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence (Guyana Council of Canadians), May 29, 2010.

Appointed Poet Laureate of the City of Ottawa (1984-87).
Grants from: the Canada Council of the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council; the City of Ottawa; Dept. of Canadian Heritage; recipient of the City of Ottawa’s first Heritage Award (Writing and Publishing, 2004); Certificate of Merit (for Arts), Govt. of Canada (1988); nominated for: a National Magazine Award, the Journey Prize, the Pushcart Prize (US); winner of the Okanagan Fiction Prize (twice).

Nominated for the International IMPAC/Dublin Prize; co-winner of the top Guyana Prize for Fiction (2007); and, finalist for the City of Ottawa Book Prize--for novel Drums of My Flesh

Scholarly and professional

Adjudicated for:  the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (via the  University of Oklahoma), Year 2000; the Governor General’s Award (poetry), Years 2000 and 2006; Canada Council of the Arts (regular grants, writers-in residence); City of Ottawa Arts awards; the James Lignon Price Competition (the American Poets University & College Poetry Prize Program) via St Lawrence University, New York; etc.  

Selected panels and symposia

  • Keynote speaker at the Guyana Folk Festival Symposium, on  Origins,  Identity and Influence”, hosted by  the Teachers’ College, Columbia University, Harlem, NYC, 2007.
  • Panellist: “The Immigrant Consciousness in Canadian Writing,” Radboud University, The Netherlands, 2007.
  • Keynote speaker at Pennsylvania State University Graduate Students’ Association Annual Conference on “Epistemologies of Imperialism: Belonging in the Americas” (2006).
  • Panellist, Asian Heritage, “Enigmas of Departure: Rethinking South Asian Diaspora,” Munk International Centre, University of Toronto (2006). Opening remarks by Chancellor Vivienne Poy.
  • Panellist, “Dramatic Explorations in the Caribbean,” Guyana Folk Festival Symposium, Borough of Manhattan Community College/CUNY, New York City (2006).
  • Panellist, “Writers in the Black Milieu” (with Dionne Brand), at the International Association Writing Programs Conference, Vancouver (2005).
  • Panellist, “On Canadian Literature,”  New Orleans, US, at the International Short Story in English Conference.  (Other panellists: Margaret Atwood, Clark Blaise, W.H. New), July 2002.


Teaching experience

1988 - 1995, Workshop in Essay Writing, and Grammar and Composition.
1990-1995, Advanced Workshop in Creative Writing (Fiction).
2000 -  to present, Workshop in Essay Writing.
2001-2008, One-Week Enrichment Mini-Course, on Creative Writing.
1985 -1988, U of O/Continuing Education, Creative Writing (Poetry). 
1976-1981, Communications/English, Woodroffe Campus, Algonquin College.
1982- Canadian Literature, Heritage Campus, CGEP (Hull).
Continuing Education English courses, Ottawa Board of Education. 
Trained teacher; Certificate of Merit (Govt. of Ontario).

Teaching awards: Finalist, Capital Educators Award (2005).  Part-time Professor of the Year, Faculty of Arts (2007).

Other work experience

Federal Govt.: Dept. of Health and Welfare; National Museums Corporation; Dept. of Canadian Heritage; City of Ottawa (Administrator); Federation of Canadian Municipalities (Manager:  Liaised with  mayors across Canada on race and  human rights issues; interacted widely with ethnocultural and Native communities, Boards of Trade; briefs to Parliamentary Standing Committee, etc.). 

Journalism and recent book articles

Published about 100 books reviews (e.g., regular book critic for The Ottawa Journal); and reviews in World Literature Today (U of Oklahoma),World and I (Washington Times Review),  Ottawa CitizenBooks in CanadaDalhousie ReviewCanadian LiteratureCanadian ForumMatrix,The Antigonish Review, et al. Op-ed articles in the Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star.

Chapter: “The Short Story as Process, not What it Means,” Writers on Writing: Short Story Writers and Their Art, ed.  Maurice A Lee (Dean of Arts, University of Central Arkansas), Greenwood Press, USA, 2006.

Chapter:  “Shaping the Environment:  Sugar Plantation, or  Life After Indentured Labour,” Caribbean and the Environment, ed.  Elizabeth DeLoughrey (Dept. of English, Cornell University), University of Virginia Press, USA, 2005. 

Chapter: “Negotiating V.S. Naipaul,” Transplanted Imaginaries: Literatures of New Climes , ed. Prof. K.T. Sunitha. Africa World Press, New Jersey, USA, 2008.

On Cyril Dabydeen

Academic papers have been presented on Cyril Dabydeen’s work in Canada, the US, UK, Spain, France, Australia, India, and the Caribbean. A book-length study was done on him by Dr Jameela Begum, University of Kerala (as President of the Indian Assoc. for Canadian Studies).  MA papers/theses done on his work: e.g., Carleton University, ON, and the University of Sherbrooke, P.Q.

Recent papers:

Dr Mahesh Dey (V.N. South Gujarat University), "Colonial Past and Postcolonial Present: History, Memory and Identity in Cyril Dabydeen's Poetry," at IJAS Annual Conference, Ryerson University, Toronto, May 2011.

Sukanya Gupta (Louisiana State University, USA), “In Search of Destiny: Cyril Dabydeen’s The Wizard Swami: Tenth Annual South Asian Literature Association (SALA) Conference, Radisson Plaza Hotel, Philadelphia, USA, Dec. 2009.

Dr Mitali P.Wong (Claflin University, USA), “Diaspora, Dislocation and Indo-Canadian Poetry: The Case of Cyril Dabydeen,” British Commonwealth and Post-Colonial Studies Conference, Coastal Georgia Center, Savannah, Georgia, USA, Feb. 2009.

Dr Miguel Neneve (University of Rondonia, Brazil), "Cyril Dabydeen: Canada and his Imaginary Origins," at the Comparative Literature Conference,  ABRALIC (Rio de Janiero), June 2006.

Dr Pilar Somacarera (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain), “Latin American Connection in Cyril Dabydeen’Imaginary Origins,” at the British Association of Canadian Studies Conference (Cambridge University, UK), April 2006.

Back to top