Like our Editorial Board, the Montreal International Poetry Prize Advisory Board is meant to reflect our global perspective and our hope for worldwide interest and participation. Our advisors come from many different places with unique poetic traditions, including Australia, Canada, England, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Malawi, Nigeria, Scotland and the United States. Unlike the Editorial Board, which will change every year, our international Advisory Board is a stable team of writers who believe in the potential of the Montreal Prize to encourage and support poets everywhere in the world.
Meet the Montreal Prize Advisory Board!
Julie Keith has published two collections of stories and novellas: The Jaguar Temple, short-listed for the Governor-General’s Fiction Award, and The Devil Out There, winner of the Hugh MacLennan Fiction Prize and finalist for le Grand prix du livre de Montréal. Her stories appeared recently in The Hudson Review’s 25th anniversary anthology, Writes of Passage and in the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México’s anthology of short stories by Canadian writers. Keith is a past president of the Quebec Writers’ Federation and a consultant à la programmation for the Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival.
Ben Okri has published ten novels, including The Famished Road, as well as collections of poetry, short stories and essays. His work has been translated into more than 20 languages. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been awarded the OBE as well as numerous international prizes, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Africa, the Aga Khan Prize for Fiction and the Chianti Rufino-Antico Fattore. He is a Vice-President of the English Centre of International PEN and was presented with a Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum. He was born in Nigeria and lives in London. Ben Okri’s newest book, Tales of Freedom was published in April 2010.
Don Paterson was born in 1963 in Dundee, Scotland. He moved to London in 1984 to work as a jazz musician, and began writing poetry around the same time. His poetry has won a number of awards, including the Forward Prize for Best First Collection, the Whitbread Poetry Prize, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Award, and the T. S. Eliot Prize on two occasions. Most recently, Rain won the 2009 Forward Prize. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the English Association; he received the OBE in 2008 and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2010. He teaches poetry at the University of St Andrews, and since 1996 has been poetry editor at Picador MacMillan. He continues to perform and compose.
Richard Pound is Chancellor Emeritus of McGill University and is a partner in the law firm of Stikeman Elliott LLP in Montreal. He is also the author of several books, including High Impact Quotations (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2004); Canadian Facts and Dates (Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2004); Unlucky to the End, The story of Janise Marie Gamble (McGill-Queens University Press, 2007); and Rocke Robertson: Surgeon and Shepherd of Change (McGill-Queens University Press, 2008). Pound also received the Order of Canada (OC) in 1992 and the Ordre national du Quebec (OQ) in 1993.
Jeet Thayil was born in Kerala, India, and educated in Jesuit schools in Hong Kong, New York and Bombay. A poet, novelist and musician, he is one half of the experimental music duo Sridhar/Thayil. He has performed poetry at many venues around the world, including the Galle Literary Festival, the Jaipur Literary Festival, the London Book Fair, and the Knitting Factory (NYC). His four poetry collections include These Errors Are Correct (Tranquebar, 2008) and English (Penguin/Rattapallax, 2004), and he is the editor of The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (Bloodaxe, 2008) and Divided Time: India and the End of Diaspora (Routledge, 2006). His writing has appeared in London Magazine, Verse, Stand, Agenda, Poets & Writers, The Cortland Review, Drunken Boat, The Independent, and Poetry Review, among many other journals. He is a contributing editor to Fulcrum, the Boston-based poetry annual, and an editor of the multi-media arts journal Rattapallax. He is a recipient of grants and awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the British Council and the Swiss Arts Council. In 2004, he moved from New York to New Delhi and currently lives in Bombay. His novel Narcopolis is forthcoming from Faber.
Valerie Bloom was born and grew up in Jamaica, but now lives in England. She is the author of several volumes of poetry for adults and children, picture books, pre-teen and teenage novels and stories for children, and has edited a number of collections of poetry for children. She has presented poetry programmes for the BBC, and has contributed to various radio and television programmes. Valerie Bloom has been awarded an Honorary Masters Degree from the University of Kent, and recently an MBE for services to poetry. She performs her poetry, runs writing workshops and conducts training courses for teachers worldwide.
Stephanie Bolster is a Canadian poet whose first book, White Stone: The Alice Poems, won the Governor General’s Award and the Gerald Lampert Award in 1998. She has published two other poetry collections, Two Bowls of Milk, which won the Archibald Lampman Award, and Pavilion, and her work has been translated into French (Pierre Blanche: poèmes d’Alice), Spanish, and German. She edited The Ishtar Gate: Last and Selected Poems by the late Ottawa poet Diana Brebner, and The Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008, and co-edited Penned: Zoo Poems. Raised in Burnaby, B.C., she has taught creative writing at Concordia University since 2000 and lives in Pointe-Claire, Québec.
Frank M. Chipasula is a Malawian poet, editor, fiction writer and publisher of Brown Turtle Press. Currently Professor of African Studies, he has held the first Judge William Holmes Cook Professorship in the department at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and taught at Howard University, Tamkang University in Tamsui, Taiwan, University of Nebraska at Omaha, St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, Brown and Yale Universities. He was the English Editor for NECZAM Ltd., the former national publishers of Zambia in Lusaka and, as an undergraduate student at the University of Malawi, he freelanced on the M.B.C. (Malawi Broadcasting Corporation) in Blantyre, Malawi. Chipasula’s Visions and Reflections (1972) was followed by O Earth, Wait for Me (1984), Nightwatcher, Nightsong (1986) and Whispers in the Wings: New and Selected Poems (1991). He is currently working on The Burning Rose: New and (Re)Selected Poems. He has also edited When My Brothers Come Home: Poems from Central and Southern Africa (Wesleyan University Press, 1985), (with Stella) The Heinemann Book of African Women’s Poetry (Heinemann 1995) and Bending the Bow: An Anthology of African Love Poetry (2009). His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, newspapers and anthologies in English, French, Spanish and Chinese.
Fred D’Aguiar is a poet, novelist, playwright and essayist born in London of Guyanese parents and brought up in Guyana. He returned to London for his secondary and tertiary education. His ten books of poetry and fiction were translated into a dozen languages. Currently, he teaches at Virginia Tech where he is Gloria D. Smith Professor of Africana Studies and Professor of English. For more see, freddaguiar.com
Michael Harris was born in Glasgow, Scotland and grew up in Montreal. Harris has written seven books of poetry, won several prizes, and has been published in leading journals in North America and Europe. He has given over 200 readings throughout Canada and around the world and has translated the complete poetry of Marie-Claire Blais. Harris is also the founding editor of Véhicule Press’s Signal Editions. He has edited over fifty books of poetry by over thirty-five authors. In 1994, he edited The Signal Anthology: Contemporary Canadian Poetry. His most recent book, Circus (2010) was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award.
Odia Ofeimun is a Nigerian poet and political journalist. Ofeimun is a former president of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), and former lead columnist for TheNEWS/TEMPO publications. His works-in-progress include the poetry anthology Twentieth Century Nigerian Poetry, two essay collections and a long-awaited political biography of Obafemi Awolowo. Since Nigeria’s return to civil rule, Ofeimun has become a highly-respected and much-sought-after opinion leader and public speaker, giving speeches to NGOs and other civil society outfits. He is a leading champion of human rights and anti-corruption crusades in Nigeria, and he remains steadfastly independent of political organizations in the country. Ofeimun’s poems have been anthologised in Okike (ed. Chinua Achebe), Poems of Black Africa (ed. Wole Soyinka, 1975), Festac Anthology of Nigerian New Writing (ed. Cyprian Ekwensi, 1977), Poetry for Africa (ed. Gerald Moore and Ulli Beier, 1985), and Heinemann Book of African Poetry in English (ed. Adewale Maja-Pearce, 1990). His poetry collections include The Poet Lied (1980), and A Handle for the Flutist (1986). His poems for dance-drama, Under African Skies and Siye Goli (A Feast of Return, 1992) were commissioned and performed across Britain and Western Europe by Adzido, the London-based Pan-African Dance Ensemble. A Feast, staged by Hornbill House is currently on tour in Nigeria’s capital cities.
Eric Ormsby has published six poetry collections. His poems have appeared in such magazines as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and PN Review, and are included in The Norton Anthology of Poetry. An essayist and reviewer, he has also published two collections of essays on poetry and translation. He received a doctorate in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University; he taught Islamic thought for twenty years at McGill University before moving to London in 2005. He has written extensively on Classical Arabic literature and Islamic thought and has translated works of medieval Islamic philosophy from both Arabic and Persian.
Photo Credits: Ben Okri – www.darrenfilkins.com