David Chariandy

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David Chariandy
David Chariandy in 2019
Chariandy in 2019
BornDavid John Chariandy
1969 (age 53–54)
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
OccupationNovelist and academic
Alma mater
Notable worksSoucouyant (2007); Brother (2017)

David John Chariandy (born in 1969 in Scarborough, Ontario)[1] is a Canadian writer and academic, presently working as a professor of English literature at Simon Fraser University.[1] His 2017 novel Brother won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize,[2] and Toronto Book Award.[3]


Chariandy's parents immigrated to Canada from Trinidad in the 1960s.[4][5] He was born in 1969 in Scarborough, Ontario.[1] 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.[6]

Chariandy has a Master of Arts from Carleton University and a PhD from York University.[7] He lives in Vancouver and teaches in the department of English at Simon Fraser University.[7]

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.

Chariandy's family includes his wife and two children: a son and a daughter.

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.[8]

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.[9]

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."[9]

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.[5]

Chariandy's novel Brother, the 2017 winner of the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize was optioned for film,[10] and went into production in fall 2021 under the direction of Clement Virgo.[11] The film, Brother, premiered at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival,[12] and won 12 Canadian Screen Awards at the 11th Canadian Screen Awards in 2023.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2019, alongside Danielle McLaughlin, Chariandy won the Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction,[13][14][15] a "global English-language awards that call attention to literary achievement and provide writers with the opportunity to focus on their work independent of financial concerns."[16] The award provided him $165,000 to support his writing.[16]

Awards for Chariandy's writing
Year Title Award Result Ref.
2007 Soucouyant Books in Canada First Novel Award Shortlist [17]
Governor General's Award for English-language fiction Shortlist [7][18]
Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist [19]
2008 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize Shortlist [20][21]
Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book of Canada and the Caribbean Shortlist [22]
International Dublin Literary Award Longlist [23][24]
ReLit Award for Fiction Shortlist
Toronto Book Award Shortlist [25]
2017 Brother Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Winner [26][27][2]
Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist [2][28]
2018 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize Winner [2][29][30]
Not The Booker Award Longlist [31]
Toronto Book Award Winner [3][32][33]
2019 Aspen Words Literary Prize Shortlist [34][35]
CBC Canada Reads Longlist [2]
Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction Nominee
Orwell Prize for Political Fiction Longlist [36][37]
PEN/Open Book Longlist [38]

Brother adaptation[edit]

The film and television rights for Brother were purchased by Conquering Lion Pictures and Hawkeye Pictures.[2] Clement Virgo adapted the script and directed the film,[2] which stars Lamar Johnson, Aaron Pierre, Kiana Madeira, and Marsha Stephanie Blake.[39] It premiered in 2022 at the Toronto International Film Festival.[39]

Brother went on to win a record-breaking twelve awards at the Canadian Screen Awards.[40]


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


  1. ^ a b c McKibbin, Molly L. (2015-07-15). "David Chariandy". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 2022-10-01. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "David Chariandy". CBC Books. 2018-06-21. Archived from the original on 2022-11-23. Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  3. ^ a b "2018 Toronto Book Awards". City of Toronto. 2017-08-16. Archived from the original on 2018-11-13. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  4. ^ "Truth versus protection: David Chariandy negotiates how to talk to his daughter about race and belonging". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 May 2018. Archived from the original on 24 June 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  5. ^ a b Kellaway, Kate (14 April 2019). "David Chariandy: 'To make sense of prejudice, tell the story of the past'". Archived from the original on 21 May 2019. Retrieved 17 May 2019.
  6. ^ Chariandy, David (2018). I've Been Meaning to Tell You: A letter to my daughter. Canada: Maclelland & Stewart.
  7. ^ a b c "Meet the underdog; Newcomer David Chariandy may be surprise giant killer at Governor General's Awards". Calgary Herald, 25 November 2007.
  8. ^ "Scarborough Tries To Clear Its "Crime" Rep". CityNews. 10 January 2007. Archived from the original on 8 January 2009. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  9. ^ a b Patch, Nick (26 September 2018). "David Chariandy rewrites Scarborough in his new book Brother". The Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 14 October 2019. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  10. ^ "David Chariandy's novel Brother optioned for film with Clement Virgo at the helm" Archived 2021-10-24 at the Wayback Machine. CBC Books, September 7, 2018.
  11. ^ Liza Sardi, "Rising stars assemble for Brother" Archived 2021-10-18 at the Wayback Machine. Playback, October 18, 2021.
  12. ^ Barry Hertz, "TIFF to host world premiere of Clement Virgo’s buzzy adaptation of Scarborough-set novel Brother" Archived 2022-08-15 at the Wayback Machine. The Globe and Mail, July 6, 2022.
  13. ^ van Koeverden, Jane (2019-03-13). "David Chariandy awarded $165K US Windham-Campbell Prize". CBC Books. Archived from the original on 2022-11-18. Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  14. ^ Flood, Alison (2019-03-13). "'It was like a miracle': Eight writers surprised with $165,000 awards". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2022-11-29. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  15. ^ Carter, Sue (2019-03-13). "David Chariandy wins Windham-Campbell Prize". Quill & Quire. Archived from the original on 2022-07-03. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  16. ^ a b "Awards: Windham-Campbell; Man Booker International". Shelf Awareness. 2019-03-14. Archived from the original on 2022-10-27. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  17. ^ "First Novel Award shortlist released". Ottawa Citizen. 2008-06-12.
  18. ^ Szklarski, Cassandra (2007-10-17). "Ondaatje and Vassanji among literary stars on Governor General's short list; Books Notable literary heavyweights include Margaret Atwood, David Chariandy, Barbara Gowdy and Heather O'Neill". The Daily Gleaner.
  19. ^ "Fifteen authors on Giller Prize longlist for fiction". Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. 2007-09-18.
  20. ^ Yohannes, Samraweet (2018-03-13). "Eden Robinson, David Chariandy among 2018 BC Book Prize finalists". CBC Books. Archived from the original on 2019-07-25. Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  21. ^ "B.C. Book Prize unveils its 2008 short lists". The Globe and Mail, 7 March 2008.
  22. ^ "Outside chance for Outlander; Gil Adamson a finalist in Commonwealth race". Edmonton Journal, 15 February 2008.
  23. ^ "Canadian authors on IMPAC list". Prince George Citizen, 17 November 2008.
  24. ^ Irvine, Lindesay (2008-11-12). "147 authors fight it out for the Impac Dublin prize". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2023-01-06. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  25. ^ Wagner, Vit (2008-10-18). "Downie wins Toronto Book Award; Loyalty Management takes $15,000 prize". The Toronto Star.
  26. ^ "Awards: Christy; Writers' Trust of Canada; Patrick White Winners". Shelf Awareness. 2017-11-16. Archived from the original on 2023-03-07. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  27. ^ Beattie, Steven W. (2017-11-15). "David Chariandy, Billie Livingston, and Diane Schoemperlen among the winners at the 2017 Writers' Trust awards". Quill and Quire. Archived from the original on 2019-04-22. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  28. ^ Medley, Mark (2017-09-18). "Three first-time authors make Giller Prize longlist". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2022-12-08. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  29. ^ Beattie, Steven W. (2018-05-07). "David Chariandy and Arthur Manuel among winners of the 2018 B.C. Book Prizes". Quill and Quire. Archived from the original on 2018-05-16. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
  30. ^ Mooney, Harrison (2018-05-05). "David Chariandy's Brother wins best work of fiction at the 2018 BC Book Prizes". Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on 2018-10-28. Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  31. ^ Jordison, Sam (2018-07-30). "Not the Booker longlist: vote now to decide the 2018 shortlist". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Archived from the original on 2022-12-05. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  32. ^ Dundas, Deborah (2018-10-10). "David Chariandy's novel Brother wins $10,000 Toronto Book Award". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2022-07-09. Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  33. ^ Patrick, Ryan B. (2017-08-24). "David Chariandy wins $10K Toronto Book Award for novel Brother". CBC Books. Archived from the original on 2023-02-03. Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  34. ^ "Awards: L.A. Times Book; Nebula; Aspen Words Literary; Jane Grigson Trust Shortlists". Shelf Awareness. 2019-02-21. Archived from the original on 2022-03-02. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  35. ^ Balser, Erin (2019-02-20). "Brother by David Chariandy finalist for $35K US Aspen Words Literary Prize". CBC Books. Archived from the original on 2022-11-18. Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  36. ^ "The Orwell Prizes 2019: Longlists announced". The Orwell Foundation. 2019-05-07. Archived from the original on 2019-05-07. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  37. ^ "Awards: Orwell Longlists". Shelf Awareness. 2019-05-08. Archived from the original on 2022-10-14. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  38. ^ "Announcing the 2019 PEN America Literary Awards Longlists". PEN America. 2018-12-11. Archived from the original on 2023-03-12. Retrieved 2023-04-23.
  39. ^ a b Patrick, Ryan B. (2022-09-09). "David Chariandy's award-winning novel Brother is ready for its closeup at TIFF 2022". CBC Books. Archived from the original on 2022-09-23. Retrieved 2023-04-22.
  40. ^ Ransome, Noel; Thompson, Nicole (2023-04-13). "Clement Virgo's film 'Brother' wins a record 12 Canadian Screen Awards". The Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2023-04-18. Retrieved 2023-04-23.

External links[edit]