André Alexis

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André Alexis
BornJanuary 15, 1957[1]
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Genrenovelist, librettist
Notable worksChildhood, Fifteen Dogs

André Alexis (born 15 January 1957 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) is a Canadian writer who grew up in Ottawa and lives in Toronto, Ontario.[1] He has received numerous prizes including the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize.

Alexis is most well known for his Quincunx Cycle, a series of five novels, each examining a particular theme, set in and around Southern Ontario. His second novel from the cycle, Fifteen Dogs, won the 2015 Giller Prize and brought both Alexis and the cycle into greater prominence.


Alexis began his artistic career in the theatre, and has held the position of playwright-in-residence at the Canadian Stage Company. His short play Lambton, Kent, first produced and performed in 1995, was released as a book in 1999.[1] His first novel Childhood was published in 1998. Alexis published Ingrid and the Wolf, his first work of juvenile fiction, in 2005.

Alexis wrote the libretto for James Rolfe's opera Aeneas and Dido, which premiered at Toronto Masque Theatre in 2007.[2] He had previously worked with Rolfe twice before, on Orpheus and Eurydice (2004) and Fire (1999), and with Veronica Krausas.[3]

His novel Asylum was published in 2008, and is set in Ottawa during the government of Brian Mulroney.[4]

In 2014 Alexis published Pastoral, the first in a planned series of five novels on philosophical themes.[5] Fifteen Dogs, the second novel in the series, was published in 2015.[6] The third novel, The Hidden Keys, was published in 2016.

Alexis was a juror for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize.[7]

Alexis lives and works in Toronto, where he has hosted programming for CBC Radio, reviews books for The Globe and Mail, and is a contributing editor for This Magazine. He is an Adjunct Professor in the MA in English and Creative Writing program at the University of Toronto,[8] and was formerly Writer in Residence at the University of Ottawa,[9] and a Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor in Canadian Studies[10] at University College in the University of Toronto.[11]

His novel Days by Moonlight was published in 2019,[12] and was longlisted for the 2019 Giller Prize.[13]

In August Metamorphosis: a Viral Trilogy, a three-part audio drama inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, was released in conjunction with TO Live, SummerWorks and Canadian Stage.[14] In October, 2020, his career-spanning collection of short stories, The Night Piece, was published by Penguin Random House Canada.[15]

Awards and honors[edit]

Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa (1994), was short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize (Canada and Caribbean region).[1] Ingrid and the Wolf was a shortlisted nominee for the Governor General's Award for English-language children's literature at the 2006 Governor General's Awards.[16]

His debut novel, Childhood (1998), won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and was a co-winner of the Trillium Award.[1] Fifteen Dogs won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize[17] and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize,[18] and was shortlisted for a Toronto Book Award.

In 2017, he was named a winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize for his body of work.[19]

In 2017, he also won the prize Canada Reads for his novel Fifteen Dogs.

In 2019, he won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize again, this time for Days by Moonlight.


  • Despair, and Other Stories of Ottawa (1994) ISBN 0-8050-5980-6
Published in the UK as The Night Piece (1999) ISBN 0-7475-4461-1


  1. ^ a b c d e André Alexis in The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ "New opera explores flip side of classic tale; James Rolfe, Andre Alexis pen a new work where Aeneas gets the last word". Toronto Star, April 25, 2007.
  3. ^ "A Curious Man: The Lyrical World of Giller Prize-Winning Author André Alexis". University College. Archived from the original on 2018-01-12. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  4. ^ "A wonderfully corrupt capital; Andre Alexis novel paints a Mulroney-era portrait of a crazily complex, decadent and exciting Ottawa". Ottawa Citizen, April 27, 2008.
  5. ^ "Alexis's Fifteen Dogs wins Scotiabank Giller Prize". The Globe and Mail, November 11, 2015.
  6. ^ "Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis: Review". Toronto Star, March 28, 2015.
  7. ^ "Introducing the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury". Scotiabank Giller Prize, January 16, 2017.
  8. ^ "MA CRW Adjunct Faculty". Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  9. ^ "André ALEXIS". Department of English. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  10. ^ "Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor". University College. Archived from the original on 2018-01-12. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  11. ^ "Celebrated Novelist André Alexis Joins UC as Barker Fairley Visitor". University College. Archived from the original on 2018-01-12. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  12. ^ "28 works of Canadian fiction to watch for in spring 2019". CBC Books, January 25, 2019.
  13. ^ "Margaret Atwood, Andre Alexis among 12 authors up for $100,000 Giller book prize". Toronto Star, September 3, 2019.
  14. ^ "André Alexis releasing 3-part audio drama inspired by COVID-19 pandemic". CBC Books, August 10, 2020.
  15. ^ "The Night Piece by André Alexis".
  16. ^ "2006 Governor General's Literary Awards". Toronto Star, November 18, 2006.
  17. ^ "André Alexis wins 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Fifteen Dogs". CBC Books, November 10, 2015.
  18. ^ Medley, Mark (November 3, 2015). "André Alexis wins Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved June 18, 2017.
  19. ^ "Toronto author André Alexis awarded one of world's richest literary prizes". The Globe and Mail, March 1, 2017.