Harold Sonny Ladoo

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Harold Sonny Ladoo (1945–17 August 1973)[1] was a Caribbean novelist and author of two books documenting the struggles of living in poverty in the Hindu communities of Trinidad and Tobago. He moved to Canada in 1968 and was mysteriously murdered while on a visit to Trinidad in 1973.[2]


Ladoo was born and grew up in an environment much like the world of his novels. He was born in Trinidad into extreme poverty and immigrated to Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with his wife and son in 1968 to study English at the University of Toronto.

It was during this time that he wrote his first and most notable novel, No Pain Like This Body, published in 1972. Described by David Chariandy and "an unusually strong first novel",[3] it is the vivid story of a young boy growing up in a small Caribbean rice-growing community. The book focuses on the day-to-day struggles of a single family through illness, storm, and violence during the August rainy season. The writing is raw and often naïve yet manages to create a visceral experience.

His second book, Yesterdays (posthumously published, 1974),[1] was a much more upbeat book about a young man attempting to launch a Hindu Mission to Canada.

Ladoo's third book was intended to be the last part of a trilogy; however, in 1973, while on a visit home to his Calcutta Settlement, he was mysteriously killed and his body was found on the side of a road in Trinidad.



The University of Toronto Mississauga campus (formerly Erindale College) offers to students The Harold Sonny Ladoo Book Prize for Creative Writing every year.[4]


  1. ^ a b Daniel Coleman, "Ladoo, Harold Sonny", in William H. New (ed.), Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, University of Toronto Press, 2002, p. 601.
  2. ^ Dennis Lee, "The Death of Harold Ladoo", boundary 2, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Autumn 1976; Duke University Press), pp. 213–228.
  3. ^ David Chariandy, "The Life of Harold Sonny Ladoo" (review) Archived 2015-06-12 at the Wayback Machine., canlit.ca. Canadian Literature, 8 December 2011. Originally in Canadian Literature #188 (Spring 2006), pp. 140–141.
  4. ^ "English Awards", Department of English & Drama, University of Toronto Mississauga.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dennis Lee, On the Death of Harold Ladoo, San Francisco: Kanchenjunga Press, 1976.
  • Clement H. Wyke, "Harold Ladoo's Alternate Worlds: Canada and Carib Island", Canadian Literature 95 (Winter 1982), pp. 39–49.