Cette page Web est Dionne Brand
Born in 1953, this Caribbean author grew up in Guayguayare, Trinidad. She moved to Toronto in 1970, after graduating from Naparima Girls’ High School, and has lived there since then. She graduated with a B.A. in English & Philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1975. She also accomplished an M.A. in the philosophy of education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education in 1989 and worked on a Ph.D. in Women’s History.
Her professional background is impressive as well. She taught English Literature and Creative Writing at the universities of Guelph, York and Toronto. She has been Writer in Residence both at the University of Toronto and at the Halifax City Regional Library and taught poetry writing in Vancouver and Toronto. Brand’s social and political views have been strongly expressed through her social activism and participation to community organisms, such as the Black Education Project and the Shirley Samaroo House (a refuge for mistreated immigrant women). She led the Women’s Issues Committee of the Ontario Coalition of Black Trade Unionist and founded the Canada’s first black women’s newspaper: Our Lives. As if it was not enough, she appeared at the Ontario Federation of Labour Women’s Committee, at the OFL Workers of Colour Conference and at the metro Labour Council Anti-Racism Conference.
Her political views and positions are vividly exposed in her poems, books and films. The significant issues and main themes that compose Brand’s work are mostly the colonial oppression and slavery, her experience of living outside the Caribbean frontiers, the issue of person and self identity, her feeling as an immigrant in Canada, racism, her experience as a lesbian, and the multiculturality. Her feminist views are also greatly present in her work.
Exposing her bibliography is a extensive task since Dionne Brand has been more than productive on the literary plan. Among her realizations figure major prose titles, novels and poetry such as Primitive Offensive (Williams-Wallace, 1982), Winter Epigrams and Epigrams to Ernesto Cardenal in Defense of Claudia (Williams-Wallace, 1983), Chronicles of the Hostile Sun (Williams-Wallace, 1984), Rivers Have Sources, Trees Have Roots: Speaking of Racism (CCCC, 1986), “Black Women and Work: The Impact of Racially Constructed Gender Roles on the Sexual Division of Labour” (Fireweed, 1987-1988), Sans Souci and Other Stories (1988), No Language is Neutral (Coach House, 1990), No Burden to Carry: Narratives of Black Working Women in Ontario 1920s-1950s (Women’s Press, 1991), Bread Out Of Stones (Coach House Press, 1994), In Another Place Not Here (Vintage Canada, 1997) and her Governor General Award-winning Land To Light On (M&S, 1997).
As Black woman really concerned about Natives’ life, Brand soon felt a need to fill a gap in Canadian history and contracted herself in writing about her people. As she said in an interview given to Dagmar Novak, “I think I can say categorically that white writers cannot write about native life […] History has been weighted against native people in this country and weighted towards whites; this is an obvious truth for native writers. Native people do not need white writers to interpret their lives for them.” (Hutcheon, 1990) No one can say that she has not achieved her commitment.
Hutcheon, Linda. Other Solitudes: Canadian Multicultural fictions. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1990.