Toronto's Tamil Literary Voices
On Saturday, October 20 at the Malvern Branch (1-4 pm) Toronto's Tamil Literary Voices will introduce library audiences to some of the internationally prominent literary figures in Toronto's Tamil community to talk about their work. There will also be short readings and performances and plenty fo time for discussion.
R. Cheran has published anthologies of poetry in Tamil and in
English translation. His poems have been translated into German,
Swedish, Sinhala, Kannada and Malayalam and his English plays have been
performed in Canada and the U.S. He is Associate Professor of Sociology
and Anthropology, University of Windsor.
Chelva Kanaganyakam is a professor in the Dept. of English at the University of Toronto and a scholar of post-colonial literature, with research interests in contemporary Indian literature and Southeast Asian writing.
Appadurai Muttulingam has published more than 100 short stories in Tamil, as well as collections of essays and interviews. He has won many literary prizes and is actively involved in the Tamil Literary Garden, which is dedicated to the international promotion of Tamil literature.
Dushy Gnanapragasam is a director with Asylum Theatre Group and Manaveli Performing Arts Group. His directorial ventures include the plays of R. Cheran, Pinter's New World Order, Fratti's The Satraps, and Turgenev's Broke. Dushy will be sharing the stage with South Indian classical dancer Sinthiya Sivasithamparam. Sinthyia appeared in the play Not By Our Tears.
Special guest speaker Zulfika Ismail works as a counselor at Vasantham Tamil Seniors Wellness Centre and has published articles and books on education, feminism,gender,war and peace, including three books of poetry. She will also be speaking at Samadhana 2012 on November 29.
In 1983, Toronto's Tamil population was tiny--perhaps less than 200 people. But the terrible anti-Tamil violence of that year--culminating in the pogroms of July 1983--started the process of migration as tens of thousands of Tamils fled for their lives. Today Toronto has the largest Sri Lankan Tamil population outside of that country--some 200,000 or more.
To better understand the events which shaped this community, have a look at some of the books in TPL's collections, first checking out the writers described above. One useful history is Only Man is Vile : the Tragedy of Sri Lanka by William McGowan (1992). The title draws on "From Greenland's Icy Mountains"--a hymn to the British colonial "divide and rule" dogma ("What though the spicy breezes blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle; Though every prospect pleases, and only man is vile?").
If you learn by reading novels, here are some good ones, all in TPL's collections.
V.V. Ganeshananthan - Love Marriage
Michelle de Kretser - The Hamilton Case