Nov 10, 2022
[Note: In the episode image the artwork behind Dionne Brand at the podium is by Torkwase Dyson, as is the cover art work for Nomenclature]
In this conversation we are thrilled to welcome Dionne Brand to the podcast.
This is a conversation with her new book Nomenclature: New and Collected Poems and also with a number of her lectures, interviews, and dialogues over the years. If we reference something not in Nomenclature we have done our best to include a link to it in the show notes.
We ask questions about themes and ideas we hear or read Brand grappling with in her work, as well as questions that we grapple with in relation to her work. These include questions about time, epistemology, nature, the category of the human, Black thought, spectacle, narrative, capital, imperialism, socialism and liberation.
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Dionne Brand is a renowned poet, novelist, and essayist. Her writing is notable for the beauty of its language, and for its intense engagement with issues of international social justice. Her work includes ten volumes of poetry, five books of fiction and three non-fiction works. She was the Poet Laureate of the City of Toronto 2009-2012. From 2017-2021 Brand was Poetry Editor at McClelland & Stewart- Penguin Random House Canada.
Dionne Brand became prominent first as an award-winning poet, winning the Griffin Poetry Prize for her volume Ossuaries, the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Trillium Book Prize for her volume Land to Light On. She’s garnered two other nominations for the Governor General’s Literary Award for the poetry volumes No Language Is Neutral and Inventory respectively, the latter also nominated for the Trillium and the Pat Lowther. She has won the Pat Lowther Award for poetry for her volume thirsty also nominated for the Griffin Poetry Prize and the city of Toronto Book Award. Her 2018 volume, The Blue Clerk, was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry and the Griffin Poetry Prize and won the Trillium Book Prize.
Brand has also achieved great distinction and acclaim in fiction and non-fiction. Her most recent novel, Theory won the Toronto Book Award 2019 and the BOCAS fiction prize. Her novel, Love Enough was nominated in 2015 for the Trillium Book Award. Her fiction includes the critically acclaimed novels In Another Place, Not Here, At the Full and Change of the Moon, and, What We All Long For an indelible portrait of the city of Toronto which also garnered the Toronto Book Award. Her fiction has been translated into Italian, French and German. Dionne Brand’s non-fiction includes Bread Out Of Stone, and A Map to the Door of No Return, which has been widely taken up by scholars of Black Diaspora and An Autobiography of The Autobiography of Reading. In 2021 Brand was awarded the Windham Campbell Award for fiction.
Dionne Brand has published nineteen books, contributed to many anthologies and written dozens of essays and articles. She has also been involved in the making of several documentary films. She was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at St. Lawrence University in New York and has taught literature and creative writing at universities in both British Columbia and Ontario. She has also held the Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair in Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University. She holds several Honorary Doctorates, Wilfred Laurier University, University of Windsor, Simon Fraser University, The University of Toronto, York University and Thornloe/Laurentian University. She lives in Toronto and was Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph until 2022. She is a member of the Order of Canada.
In every area of her work Brand has received widespread recognition through literary awards, honorary doctorates, and praise by the likes of Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Kamau Braithwaite, and so many, many others. In the show notes we will include Dionne Brand’s full bio which further details her award winning work in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and film. As well as her distinguished work as an educator, documentary film maker, and poetry editor.