André Alexis, novelist, playwright, short-story writer (b at Port of Spain, Trinidad 15 January 1957). Following his parents, who left Trinidad in the late 1950s, André Alexis and his younger sister immigrated to Canada in 1961.
André Alexis, novelist, playwright, short-story writer (b at Port of Spain, Trinidad 15 January 1957). Following his parents, who left Trinidad in the late 1950s, André Alexis and his younger sister immigrated to Canada in 1961. After a short stint in the southwestern Ontario town of Petrolia, Alexis and his family moved to Ottawa, where he subsequently spent most of his youth.
Alexis began his artistic career in the theatre, and has held the position of playwright-in-residence at the Canadian Stage Company (CanStage). His short play Lambton, Kent, first performed and produced in 1995, was released as a book in 1999. His first published work of fiction, Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa (1994), was short-listed for the Commonwealth Prize (Canada and Caribbean region). In this collection of short stories, Alexis provides a philosophical examination of the mysterious interiors of the human psyche by inviting his reader into the dark and dreamlike spaces in which his characters carry out their everyday lives.
With his inaugural novel, Childhood (1998), Alexis secured his reputation as a burgeoning writer. Winner of the 1998 Amazon.ca/Books in Canada First Novel Award and co-winner of the Trillium Book Award for the same year (which he shared with Alice Munro), this novel was also short-listed for The Giller Prize and received a variety of other accolades from both national and international sources. Childhood is a poignant exploration of one man's attempt to find balance between his endless thirst for knowledge and the strangely persistent power of love. Written as a fictional autobiography, this novel tells the story of middle-aged protagonist Thomas MacMillan, who, in his struggle to understand himself and his origins, reflects on the relative isolation of his early life with his unconventional Trinidadian grandmother. Although Thomas remains intimately attached to both the recollected places of his past and the city of his present, Ottawa, this novel also reveals the inherent uncertainty of his ongoing desire for a lasting sense of home.
Alexis published Ingrid and the Wolf, his first work of juvenile fiction, in 2005. He lives and works in the city of Toronto, where he hosts CBC Radio's Skylarking, reviews books for the Globe and Mail, and acts as a contributing editor for This Magazine.