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Celebrating Stories with Shani Mootoo and Pamela Mordecai

May 10, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Join award-winning writer and visual artist Shani Mootoo in conversation with award-winning poet, writer and scholar, Pamela Mordecai, as they discuss the vast landscape of own voices literature and their roles as storytellers.

This program is presented as part of the Ancestral Voices series. Presented in partnership with York, Durham and Peel Region Libraries.


Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland and grew up in Trinidad. She is an author and multimedia visual artist. Her first collection of short stories, Out on Main Street, was published in 1993, beginning her literary career. Her first novel, Cereus Blooms at Night, was published in 1996 and shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, and the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award, as well as being longlisted for the Booker Prize. This novel is now both a Penguin Modern Classics and a Vintage Classics book. Mootoo’s most recent novel Polar Vortex, was also shortlisted for the Giller Prize. She is the author of two books of poetry, The Predicament of Or and Cane|Fire. Mootoo was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters honoris causa from Western University, is a recipient of Lambda Literary’s James Duggins Outstanding Mid-Career Novelist Prize, and the Writers Trust Engle/Findley Award. She lives in Southern Ontario.

Pamela (Pam) Mordecai was born in Jamaica and educated there and in the USA. Her family immigrated to Canada in 1994. A former language arts teacher with a PhD in English, she was for fourteen years editor of the Caribbean Journal of Education. The author of over thirty books including textbooks, children’s books, anthologies, nine collections of poetry, a reference work on Jamaica (with her husband, Martin), a collection of short fiction and a novel, her creative and critical writing appears in numerous journals, as well as in major anthologies of Caribbean and African-Canadian literature. Mordecai is known internationally for her children’s poems, which have been widely anthologized and used in textbooks in the Caribbean, India, the UK, the USA, South and West Africa, and Malaysia. She has a strong interest in promoting the writing of Caribbean women and has edited and co-edited ground-breaking anthologies of their writing. In 2010 her play, El Numero Uno had its world premiere at the Loraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People and, in March 2016, its Caribbean premiere at the Edna Manley School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She has read at major festivals including the NGC BOCAS Litfest, Calabash International Literary Festival, the International Festival of Authors (Toronto), Smederevo’s Poet Autumn Festival, Winnipeg’s International Writer’s Festival and the Miami International Bookfair. In spring 2014, she was a fellow at Yaddo artists’ community in upstate New York (yaddo.org). Pamela’s debut novel Red Jacket was one of 5 books shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Award in 2015. She lives in Toronto.