Dionne Brand, a professor in the University of Guelph’s School of English and Theatre Studies (SETS), and a renowned Canadian poet, novelist and essayist, is among eight winners worldwide to be awarded the 2021 Windham-Campbell Prize.
Worth just over $206,000, the prestigious international award administered by Yale University honours outstanding writers of fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry.
Brand told CBC Books her win was an “astonishing surprise” and “wondrous.”
Canisia Lubrin, a graduate of U of G’s MFA creative writing program, was also recognized for her poetry collections, including Voodoo Hypothesis and The Dyzgraphxst.
Brand was recognized in the fiction category, in particular for her award-winning novel Theory, which won the 2019 Toronto Book Award.
A prolific and internationally admired writer, she has also received a Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry and a Griffin Poetry Prize. Her poetry collection The Blue Clerk was a finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry.
Brand’s writing is noted for the beauty of its language and for its strength in confronting issues of social justice, especially related to gender, race, sexuality and feminism. She has published 18 books and contributed to numerous anthologies and has made documentary films for the National Film Board.
In SETS, she specializes in creative writing and social justice.