By Gerald V. Paul;
Award-winning Trinidadian-born Canadian author Rabindranath Maharaj will be part of a discussion at Harbourfront on Sunday (Nov. 1) at 2 p.m. at the Brigantine Room during the Toronto Book Awards Celebration, International Festival of Authors.
Also among the distinguished writers will be Barbadian-Canadian Austin Clarke, author of Membering. Maharaj, who reviewed Membering for The Globe and Mai, noted Clarke delivers a perceptive account of the writing life.
Meanwhile, last Saturday, Janet Naidu, president of PAKARAIMA Writers Group, told The Camera she was very appreciative for special guest reader Maharaj at Twilight Family Restaurant at their 10th annual dinner.
She said Maharaj read from his forthcoming novel to the delight of the poets, novelists, storytellers and historical writers. “It was indeed a very successful evening with about 80 attendees who gloried in the literary feast.”
Ajax resident Maharaj is the author of eight books. His last novel The Amazing Absorbing Boy won the Trillium Fiction Award and the City of Toronto Book Award. It was included in a list of 10 of the funniest Canadian books.
Naidu, published poet and community leader, said the Diaspora group derives its name from the famous mountain range that encircles the great Roraima Mountain shared by Guyana, Venezuela and Brazil.
She noted that several of Maharaj’s books have been shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Canada and Caribbean region), and the Chapters / Books in Canada First Novel Award.
Maharaj, who completed a second M.A. at the University of New Brunswick, is a mentor for young writers with Diaspora Dialogues. He participated in Word on the Street with this group on September as they presented readings from their works. He has served as a Writer in Residence at the Toronto Reference Library and at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine.
“There is a remarkable interest in fiction writing and films here,” he said while visiting his native land. “I will be here for three months and I plan to stay in the village with my parents. It’s relatively quiet and if I can establish some sort of routine I may finish my novel before I leave.”
Earlier this year, he did a two-week stint at Banff Centre where he was part of the Writing Studio’s faculty.
“At the Writing Studio, I got the opportunity to meet other writers like Greg Hollingshead and Tessa McWatt whose works I have admired from a distance and renew my acquaintance with old friends like Dionne Brand.”