David Chariandy

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David Chariandy
David Chariandy in 2019
Chariandy in 2019
BornDavid Chariandy
Scarborough, Ontario
Notable worksSoucouyant, Brother

David Chariandy is a Canadian writer.

His parents immigrated to Canada from Trinidad in the 1960s.[1][2] He was born in Scarborough, Ontario. His father is from South Asian descent, whereas his mother is African. They were both working class immigrants. His surname represents his Tamil and South Indian origins from his father's side.[3]

Chariandy has a MA from Carleton and a PhD from York University.[4] He lives in Vancouver and teaches in the department of English at Simon Fraser University.[4]

Chariandy's family includes his wife and two children: a son and a daughter. In his work he explores the truest meaning of origins and birthplace for immigrants and their children growing up in another part of the world but still belonging to another.

Recurring themes and cultural contexts[edit]

Chariandy's novels are set in Scarborough, an eastern region of Toronto, Ontario. This area is known for its immigrant heavy population and has been sometime stigmatized by a reputation for crime, although statistics do not support this perception.[5]

Chariandy told the Toronto Star:

If I’m honest, I always wanted to write a story that evoked the complexities of growing up young and Black in Scarborough...Throughout my entire life growing up in Scarborough and returning to it even as a young adult, I always felt so discomforted by the negative stories of Scarborough that would circulate in the newspapers and tabloids and sometimes by word of mouth, among people who really didn’t know Scarborough that well.[6]

His novels offer up a story of Scarborough that admit "challenges, but tell that bigger story of life and vitality that you don’t always see in headlines."[6]

His non-fiction book I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter was inspired by both a racist incident he experienced while at a Vancouver restaurant with his three-year-old daughter and then, years later, by the Quebec City mosque shooting in 2017.[2]

Chariandy's novel Brother, the 2017 winner of the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize has been optioned for film,[7] and went into production in fall 2021 under the direction of Clement Virgo.[8]

Awards and honors[edit]

Chariandy's debut novel, Soucouyant, was published in 2007.[9] It was longlisted for the 2007 Scotiabank Giller Prize,[10] and the 2008 International Dublin Literary Award;[11] and was shortlisted for the 2007 Governor General's Award for English-language fiction,[4] the 2008 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book of Canada and the Caribbean,[12] the 2008 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize,[13] the 2008 City of Toronto Book Award, the 2008 ReLit Award for fiction, and the 2007 Books in Canada First Novel Award.[14]

His novel Brother won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2017,[15] the Toronto Book Award and the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 2018.[16][17] This novel tells the story of Michael and his older brother Francis, who grow up in Scarborough, raised by an immigrant mother beleaguered by the financial and social difficulties of single racialized parenthood. The Globe and Mail called it "a supremely moving and exquisitely crafted portrait of his hometown".[18]

Chariandy won the 2019 Windham–Campbell Literature Prize in Fiction.[19]


  • Soucouyant: A Novel of Forgetting (2007)
  • Brother (2017)
  • I've Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to My Daughter (2018)


  1. ^ "Truth versus protection: David Chariandy negotiates how to talk to his daughter about race and belonging". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 May 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  2. ^ a b Kellaway, Kate (14 April 2019). "David Chariandy: 'To make sense of prejudice, tell the story of the past'". Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  3. ^ Chariandy, David (2018). I've Been Meaning to Tell You: A letter to my daughter. Canada: Maclelland & Stewart.
  4. ^ a b c "Meet the underdog; Newcomer David Chariandy may be surprise giant killer at Governor General's Awards". Calgary Herald, 25 November 2007.
  5. ^ "Scarborough Tries To Clear Its "Crime" Rep". CityNews. 10 January 2007. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  6. ^ a b Patch, Nick (26 September 2018). "David Chariandy rewrites Scarborough in his new book Brother". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  7. ^ "David Chariandy's novel Brother optioned for film with Clement Virgo at the helm". CBC Books, September 7, 2018.
  8. ^ Liza Sardi, "Rising stars assemble for Brother". Playback, October 18, 2021.
  9. ^ "The ghosts of the living". The Globe and Mail, 15 September 2007.
  10. ^ "Fifteen authors on Giller Prize longlist for fiction". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, 18 September 2007.
  11. ^ "Canadian authors on IMPAC list". Prince George Citizen, 17 November 2008.
  12. ^ "Outside chance for Outlander; Gil Adamson a finalist in Commonwealth race". Edmonton Journal, 15 February 2008.
  13. ^ "B.C. Book Prize unveils its 2008 short lists". The Globe and Mail, 7 March 2008.
  14. ^ "First Novel Award shortlist released". Ottawa Citizen, 12 June 2008.
  15. ^ "David Chariandy, Billie Livingston, and Diane Schoemperlen among the winners at the 2017 Writers’ Trust awards". Quill & Quire, 14 November 2017.
  16. ^ Toronto, City of (16 August 2017). "2018 Toronto Book Awards". City of Toronto. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  17. ^ "David Chariandy wins $10K Toronto Book Award for novel Brother". CBC Arts. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  18. ^ Medley, Mark (22 September 2017). "In Brother, David Chariandy shines a light on Scarborough". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  19. ^ "David Chariandy wins Windham-Campbell Prize". Quill & Quire. 13 March 2019. Retrieved 18 March 2019.

External links[edit]