August 26, 2013

Cyril Dabydeen Publishes New Book of Stories

My Multi-Ethnic Friends & Other Stories (Guernica Editions) is Cyril Dabydeen’s latest volume which spans a range of narratives set in Canada and other parts of the world reflecting lived experiences. The Guyanese-born Canadian writer has been publishing for many years; his work has appeared internationally in numerous literary magazines and anthologies.

Here in this new volume are shifting spaces and changing lives  forming the core of  Dabydeen’s stories. Tropical places with verdant greenery are subverted; his sometimes stark images supplant the traditionally exotic. In Canada’s northern hemisphere, Dabydeen’s immigrant and non-immigrant characters delve into memories; whether Greek, Italian,  Russian  or West Indian, for them new situations resonate in northwestern Ontario, Toronto or Detroit. They are even active in a mayoralty race heating up in Ottawa. It’s also a Muslim’s faith tested in Vancouver.Stories such as the title one and others like “Bearing Gifts,” “Believers,” “Look Who’s Coming,” and “In Transit” reflect ironic twists and styles.

This new book follows on Cyril Dabydeen’s previous fiction such as My Brahmin Days and Other Stories (TSAR Publications. Toronto), Play a Song Somebody: New and Selected Stories (Mosaic Press, Toronto), Black Jesus and Other Stories (TSAR), and North of the Equator (Beach Holme, Vancouver).  Dabydeen has also published three short novels, and one full-length novel, Drums of My Flesh (TSAR), nominated for the prestigious IMPAC/Dublin Prize and a short-listed finalist for the City of Ottawa Book Prize. This novel also won the top Guyana Prize for fiction.

Dabydeen’s writing explores the many-sidedness of immigrant life seen as an "outsider"  as he evokes metaphors capturing new ways of feeling laced with their psychological insights.  “Cyril Dabydeen is a writer of global concerns, permanently crossing boundaries,” said Spanish professor Dr  Pilar Somacarrera in Canadian Literature in reviewing his fiction.  "It is the epiphany, the moment of illumination, which comes out of an ordinary experience," writes Peter Nazareth (International Writing Program, University of Iowa) in World Literature Today.  Other critics have described Dabydeen’s work as: "narratives that often contain the lyrical consolidations of images that are the mark of a poet" (Books in Canada); and,  “His stories are seamless between past and present, fantasy and reality....a significant post-colonial writer” (World Literature Today).

A former Poet Laureate of the city (1984-87), Dabydeen has taught creative writing at the University of Ottawa and has published over 15 books, including eight collections of poetry. He also edited the anthologies A Shapely Fire: Changing the Literary Landscape (Mosaic Press, l987), Another Way To Dance: Contemporary Asian Poetry in Canada and the USA (TSAR, 1992), and Beyond Sangre Grande: Caribbean Writing Today (TSAR, 2012). Over the years he has read from his books across Canada, the USA, Cuba and the Caribbean, the UK and Europe, and in India.

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