Shani Mootoo

Ontario, Canada

Born in Ireland

Lived in Trinidad 1958-1976

Moved to Canada 1981

University of Guelph, MA, 2010

University of Western Ontario/Western University BFA,1980 

Emily Carr College of Art and Design, 1982-83      


  • Polar Vortex, a novel, Book*Hug Press, Canada, 2020

  • Initiate, A Poem, DeadCat Press, Canada, 2020

  • Moving Forward Sideways Like a Crab, a novel, Doubleday, Canada, 2014. Longlisted for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Lambda Award.

  • Valmiki’s Daughter, a novel, House of Anansi Press, Canada, 2008. Longlisted for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize.

  • He Drown She in the Sea, a novel, McClelland and Stewart Publishers, Canada, 2005.  Longlisted for the Dublin IMPAC Award.

  • The Predicament of Or, poetry, Raincoast/Polestar Publishers, Canada, 2002.

  • Cereus Blooms at Night, a novel, Press Gang Publishers, Canada, 1996 . Shortlisted for the Giller Prize, The Chapters First Novel Award, The Ethel Wilson Book Prize, and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

  • Out on Main Street, short story collection, Press Gang Publishers, Canada, 1992.

  • Upcoming: Polar Vortex, a novel, Book*Hug Press, 2020

Selected Anthologies

  • The Penguin Book of Migration Literature, Edited by Dohra Ahmad, Penguin Books, 2019

  • Caribbean Ghost Stories, Edited by Martin Munroe, UWI Press, 2015

  • Trinidad Noir, Edited By Lisa Agostini and Jeanne Mason,  Akashic Press, NYC, 2008

  • Our Caribbean, Edited by Thomas Glave, Duke University Press, 2008

  • Writing Life, Celebrated Canadian and International Authors on Writing and Life, Edited By Constance Rooke, Mc Clelland and Stewart Publishers, 2006

  • Desire in Seven Voices, Edited by Lorna Crozier, Douglas and McIntyre Publishing, 1999

Selected Writings on Shani Mootoo’s work

  • Journal of West Indian Literature, Shani Mootoo: Writing, Difference and the Caribbean, Vol. 19, No. 2, April 2011.

  • Brinda Mehta: Diasporic (Dis)locations, Indo-Caribbean Women Writers Negotiate the Kala Pani, University of The West Indies Press, 2004

  • Gayatri Gopinath: Impossible Desires- Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures, Duke University Press, 2005


Selected Guest Lectures and Keynote addresses

  • Visiting Scholar in the department of English, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Northeastern University, Boston, Mass, 2018

  • University College Dublin, Keynote address, Untold Stories of the Past 150 Years, 2017

  • Massey College Writer-in-Residence Lecture, Toronto, 2015

  • The Heliconian Literary Lecture Series, The Heliconian Club, Yorkville, Toronto, 2011

  • Keynote address, ASNEL Conference Bayreuth, Germany, Contested Communities, Narration, Imagination, 2010

  • Lecture and Reading, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, USA, 2010

  • University of Kansas Distinguished Lecture, February 2010.

  • Keynote address, Canadian Studies Conference on Film and Video, The University of Pune, India, 2007

  • Keynote address, 10th Anniversary International Conference- The Caribbean Woman Writer as Scholar-Imagining/Theorizing/Creating, invited by The Association of Caribbean Women Writers and Scholars, Hollywood, Florida, USA 2006

  • 2006 Distinguished Morton President’s Lecture, University of Manitoba, Canada

  • 2006 Munroe Beattie President’s Lecture, Carlton University, Ottawa, Canada.



Selected International Literary Festivals

  • Miami Book Fair, Miami, 2018

  • Galle Literary Festival, Sri Lanka 2016

  • Stratford Festival, CBC Ideas, The Challenge of Words, Stratford, Ontario, 2016

  • International Festival of Authors, Toronto, Ontario, 2016

  • Trinidad and Tobago NGC Bocas Lit Fest, Trinidad and Tobago 2015

  • Perth Literary Festival, Australia 2010

  • Sydney Writers Festival, Australia 1999

  • Kapittel Stavanger International Festival of Literature and Freedon of Speech, Norway, 1999




  • Art in the County, Juror's Award, 2019-- Photography

  • Ontario Arts Council Chalmers Fellowship 2017

  • James Duggins Mid Career Outstanding Novelist Award, 2017

  • K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Literature, 2012



Invited Residencies

  • Jack McClelland Writer in Residence, University of Toronto, 2015

  • Writer in Residence, The University of the West Indies, Trinidad, 2011

  • Writer in Residence, The University of Guelph, 2010

  • Writer in Residence, The University of Alberta, 2001-2002

  • Visiting Scholar, Mills College, Oakland, California, USA, 2000



Juror for Grants and Awards

  • The Governor General's Fiction Award, Canada, 2018

  • Canada Council for The Arts, writing and publishing, Visual Arts, and Film and Video , through the years 1992-2016.

  • Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize 2015

  • The Writers’ Union of Canada Danuta Gleed Award 2015

  • Ontario Arts Council Chalmers Arts Fellowships, 2013

  • Dayne Ogilvie Fiction Award, Canada, 2009.

  • The Governor General’s Fiction Award, Canada, 2007.

Selected Visual Art Exhibitions

Gallery 44 Salon Show, Photography, 2020

Maison De Poivre, Unstable Landscapes, Prince Edward County, 2017

Presentation House Gallery, Urban Fictions, Vancouver, B.C.  1996

The Venice Bienale, Transculture, Venice, Italy, 1995

The Museum of Modern Art, Transing The Grain, 1995

Contemporary Art Museum, Wallpaper, Houston, Texas, 1995

Contemporary Art Gallery, Colour Xerox and Videotape, BC,  1994

YYZ, For Our Own Pleasure, Toronto, 1994

Art Speak, Spacing Through Race, Vancouver, 1994

Artropolis, Woodwards Building, Vancouver, 1993

Chinese Cultural Centre, Racy Sexy, Vancouver, 1993

Richmond Art Gallery, Kaleidoscope, Fragments of Self, B.C.  1992


Artist Pages


Audemas, 2019

Borderlines, 1994

Fuse Magazine, September 1992, Spring 1993

Harbour Magazine, Spring, 199



Visual Art Publications



Audemas, 2019

Fuse Magazine, Brenda Joy Lem, Kyo Maclear, Shootoo, For Our Own Pleasure, by Bryce Kanbara, Vol.XVIII. No.1, 1995

Angles, Colour, Copies & Videotape, by Soever Bridget, 1994

Georgia Straight, Xerox Art Attacks Borders, by Paula Gustafson, 1994

Saturday Review, When Banality Achieves Apotheosis, by Robin Lawrence, 1994

Front Magazine, Behind The Skin Door, Judy Radul, 1993

Rungh, Memory and Desire, a review, Larissa Lai, 1992



Selected Screenings

Museum of Modern Art NYC, 1995-6

MIX, NYC. 1993-95

The Flaherty Film Seminar,New Work, 1994

Glenbow Museum, Calgary Alberta, 1994

San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival,  1993

Desh Pradesh, Toronto, 1993

Annual Asian American Videoscape, NYC, 1993

Video Rampage, Vancouver 1992

The National Film Board Third International Women's Film  and Video Festival, Vancouver, 1992

The Plug In Gallery, Winnipeg, 1992



The Jack McClelland Writer in Residence, University of  Toronto, 2015

Writer in Residence, University of the West Indies, Trinidad,  2011

Writer in Residence, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, 2012

Banff Centre for the Arts, Race and the Body Politic, 1992

Banff Centre for the Arts, Winter, 1992

  • @shanimootoo

Related Links