Rabindranath Maharaj (born April 1955, in Trinidad) is a Canadian novelist, short story writer, and a founding editor of the Canadian literary journal Lichen. His novel The Amazing Absorbing Boy won the 2010 Trillium Book Award and the 2011 Toronto Book Award, and several of his 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.
He was raised in George Village, Tableland in South Trinidad. After receiving a B.A. in English, an M.A. in English and History, and Diploma of Education from the University of the West Indies, Saint Augustine, he worked as a teacher and, briefly, as a columnist for the Trinidad Guardian.
In the early 1990s, Maharaj immigrated to Canada, and in 1993, he completed a second M.A. (this one in Creative Writing) at the University of New Brunswick. In 1994 he moved to the town of Ajax, Ontario, where he taught high school for a number of years. In 1998, Maharaj, along with three other Durham Region writers - Ruth E. Walker, Gwynn Scheltema, and Lucy Brennan - founded and coedited Lichen Literary Journal, which was launched in May 1999. He remained on the editorial board for another three years.
Since then he has, among other posts, been a Writer in Residence at the Toronto Reference Library, a mentor for young writers with Diaspora Dialogues, and an instructor with both the Humber College School for Writers, the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, and Ryerson University. Apart from his novels and collections of short stories, he has published work in various literary journals and anthologies; written book reviews and articles for The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, and others; written a play for CBC Radio; and written two screenplays.
He continues to reside in Ajax, Ontario.
- Homer in Flight (1997) Goose Lane Editions (also available as an audiobook)
- The Lagahoo's Apprentice (2000) Knopf Canada; and Turkey İşbank Culture Publications
- A Perfect Pledge (2005) Knopf Canada; Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the US; and Mouria Press, Netherlands
- The Picture of Nobody (2010) Good Reads/HarperCollins Canada
- The Amazing Absorbing Boy (2010) Knopf Canada
Short Story Collections
- The Interloper (1995) Goose Lane Editions
- The Writer and His Wife (1996) Peepal Tree Press, UK
- The Book of Ifs and Buts (2002) Vintage Canada
Anthologies (as contributor)
- AWOL : Tales for Travel-Inspired Minds (2003) Vintage Canada
- Victory Meat - New Fiction in Atlantic Canada (2003) Anchor Canada
- Reading Writers Reading - Canadian Authors' Reflections (2006) University of Alberta Press
- TOK: Writing the New Toronto, book 2 (2007) Zephyr Press
- City of Words (2009) Cormorant Books
- Northwords (2012) House of Anansi Press
- Malcolm and Alvin (for CBC Radio)
- Malini (co-writer)
- Crabman and Sandbird (writer)
Awards, Prizes & Nominations
- 1996 Finalist, Commonwealth Writers' Prize, for best first book (for The Interloper)
- 1998 Finalist, Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award (for Homer in Flight)
- 2005 Finalist, Commonwealth Writer's Prize (for A Perfect Pledge)
- 2005 Finalist, Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, for best novel (for A Perfect Pledge)
- 2010 Trillium Book Award, for best book (for The Amazing Absorbing Boy)
- 2011 Longlist, OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature (for The Amazing Absorbing Boy)
- 2011 Toronto Book Award (for The Amazing Absorbing Boy)
- 2012 Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha (SDMS) Indian Arrival Day Award (Trinidad), for body of work
- 2012 Lifetime Literary Award, from NALIS – Trinidad & Tobago's National Library and Information Systems Authority
- 2013 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, which honours significant contributions & achievements by Canadians
- Ryerson University Library & Archives http://www.ryerson.ca/library/events/asian_heritage/maharaj.html and CNQ http://www.notesandqueries.ca/the-cnq-interviews/
- Interview with Ingrid Ruthig, Books in Canada September 2005 http://www.booksincanada.com/article_view.asp?id=4441
- Rabindranath Maharaj's official website
- Random House Canada author spotlight
- Goose Lane Editions author page
- Author interview by John Metcalf (writer) in Canadian Notes & Queries magazine.
- Author profile and interview with John Barber, in The Globe & Mail, February 9, 2010.