Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor

Daniel Brooks | 2017-18

As a writer, director and performer Daniel Brooks has collaborated with a wide range of artists.  His many works include a series of monologues created with Daniel MacIvor,  multi-media work with Rick Miller, direction of work by John Mighton, Beckett, Sophocles, Ibsen, Mamet and Goethe, the musical Drowsy Chaperone, and many creations including The Noam Chomsky Lectures, Insomnia, The Eco Show, The Good Life, Bigger Than Jesus, Pokey Jones, Divisadero and a series of plays created with Don McKellar and Tracy Wright (The Augusta Company).  He was co-artistic director of The Augusta Company, and Artistic Director of Necessary Angel from 2003-2012.  He teaches regularly, and his many awards include the Siminovitch Prize.  His work has toured across Canada and around the world.

Andre Alexis | 2016-2017 

Toronto author André Alexis, who is currently serving as the Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor in Canadian Studies at UC, has won the Windham-Campbell Prize, one of the world's richest literary prizes for a body of work. He previously won the Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for his novel  Fifteen Dogs.






Miriam Toews | 2015-2016

Miriam Toews is an internationally acclaimed writer whose work has been translated into over twenty languages. She is the author of six bestselling novels and one work of non-fiction. She has won many literary prizes including the Governer General’s Award for Fiction, the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award for body of work, and the CBA Libris Award for Fiction Book of the Year. Her third novel, A Complicated Kindness, was the first book by a female writer to win CBC’s Canada Reads competition. All My Puny Sorrows, her most recent novel, spent over a year on the national bestseller lists and won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. It was also shortlisted for the Giller Prize, the Folio Prize for Literature, and the Wellcome Book Prize. Toews had a leading role in the 2007 feature film, Silent Light, written and directed by Carlos Reygadas, and winner of the Cannes Jury Prize. She holds two honorary degrees and, in 2013, she was inducted into the Order of Manitoba.

Anne Michaels | 2014-2015
Celebrated novelist Anne Michaels (BA 1980 UC) is perhaps best known for her book Fugitive Pieces. She served as the Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor in Canadian Studies at University College in the 2014-15 academic year. She is also  an inaugural recipient of the UC Alumni of Influence Award.



Shyam Selvadurai | 2013-2014
Shyam Selvadurai is the author of four novels centering on his native Sri Lanka: Funny Boy (1994), winner of the WH Smith/ Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Lambda Literary Award (United States); Cinnamon Gardens (1998), which was shortlisted for the Trillium Award, the Premio Internazionale Riccardo Bacchelli (Italy), and the Aloa Literary Award (Denmark); Swimming in the Monsoon Sea (2005), winner of the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year and the Lambda Literary Award; and The Hungry Ghost (2013). He is the editor of Story-Wallah! A Celebration of South Asian Fiction (2004), a collection of short stories about the South Asian diaspora by authors such as Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Michael Ondaatje, and Monica Ali. His articles have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York TimesTime MagazineToronto LifeWalrus MagazineEnroute MagazineThe Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. He was also featured in UC Magazine.

Sarah Polley | 2012-2013
Sarah Polley has been writing and directing films for the last 12 years. Her short films include Don't Think TwiceI Shout Love (which won the Genie Award for Best Live Action Short Film), and The Harp. Her feature debut, Away From Her, played to rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival, Sundance, and the Berlin Film Festival. It won seven Genie Awards including Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Feature Film. It also earned two Academy Award Nominations (Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay). 2012 will see the release of her latest feature film as a writer/director, Take This Waltz, as well as an experimental documentary, Stories We Tell.

Sarah has also acted in over 30 feature films. Her extensive acting credits include The Sweet HereafterMy Life Without MeDon't Come Knocking, and The Secret Life of Words. She has also been politically active, having worked with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and The Ontario Health Coalition and fundraised for the Canadian Centre For Victims of Torture.

Camilla Gibb | 2011-2012
Camilla Gibb, author of four novels and numerous short stories was the winner of the Trillium Book Award in 2006, a Scotiabank Giller Prize short list nominee in 2005, winner of the City of Toronto Book Award in 2000, and the recipient of the CBC Canadian Literary Award for short fiction in 2001. Her books have been published in 18 countries, translated into 14 languages, and she has been named by the jury of the prestigious Orange Prize as one of 21 writers to watch in the new century. Her novels include Mouthing the Words, The Petty Details of So-and-so's Life, sweetness in the Belly and the Beauty of Humanity Movement.

Linda Griffiths | 2010-2011
Writer, actor Linda Griffiths was born in Montreal and studied at Dawson College, the National Theatre School of Canada and McGill University. However, her real training took place when she worked with a small, young company in Saskatoon Saskatchewan called Twenty Fifth Street Theatre. The company did “devised theatre”, original scripts and then learned to improvise collective creations by working with Canadian Theatre icon Paul Thompson, then artistic director of Theatre Passe Muraille. Through Thompson, the company did its first collective creation, written entirely by the group through improvisation - If You’re so Good, Why are you in Saskatoon? Griffiths was now working in situations that asked her to write improvisationally and this became a springboard for her later work. Three years later, 25th produced another collective, Paper Wheat (1978), in which Griffiths was an original cast member and co-writer. The play was based on interviews with farmers and told the story of the pioneer co-operative movement in the west - it became one of the most significant collective creations of the period.

Karen Connelly | 2009-2010
At just 24 years of age, Karen Connelly won the Governor General's Award in 1993 for her debut book, a travel memoir entitled Touch the Dragon. Her first novel, The Lizard Cage (2007) won Britain’s Orange Broadband prize, was short-listed for the U.S. Kiriyama Prize and long-listed for the Impact Dublin Award. Karen was the Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor in spring 2009, mentoring UC students one-on-on and providing advice on academic and creative writing. She also participated in a UC Book Club meeting in which she discussed The Lizard Cage with a group of UC alumni and students, and gave a thought-provoking seminar entitled "Why I Didn't Go to University."

Michael Enright | 2007-2008
Noted broadcaster Michael Enright served as the 2007-08 Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor at University College for four months during the fall term.

Kerri Sakamoto | 2005-2007
Kerri Sakamoto was the Barker Fairley Distinguished Visitor in Canadian Studies for the 2005-07 academic years. Ms. Sakamoto is a Toronto-based writer of novels, screenplays and essays on visual art. Her first novel, The Electrical Field, received the 1999 Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book and the Canada-Japan Literary Award, and was a finalist for a Governor General's Award. Her second novel, One Hundred Million Hearts, was published by Knopf Canada in 2003; both books have been published in translation internationally. She is presently at work on a third novel for which she received a Chalmers Fellowship. Kerri has given talks and readings and has participated in literary festivals in Canada, the US and abroad. Kerri recently completed a screenplay adaptation of The Electrical Field and a script for an episode of a miniseries for CBC television. She often collaborates with filmmakers as story editor or script editor on narrative, experimental and experimental documentary works. She has also written on visual art for museums and galleries in Canada and the US. Most recently she contributed a catalogue essay on the work of Painters Eleven abstract expressionist Kazuo Nakamura for an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario.