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Rishma Dunlop F.R.S.C. (née Singh), a fiction writer and professor, was born in Poona, India on October 19, 1956 and moved to Canada with her parents, at the age of one, growing up in Beaconsfield, Quebec. She died in Toronto on April 17, 2016.
Dunlop was Professor of Creative Writing, English and Education at York University. She completed a B.A. in English and Romance Languages and a B.Ed. After Degree Programme in Language Arts and French Immersion at the University of Alberta in 1982 and 1990 respectively; and an M.A. in Modern Languages Education and a Ph.D. in Language and Literacy Education from the University of British Columbia in 1994 and 1999 respectively. Her teaching and research philosophy was rooted in the belief that artistic practice is an effective method for knowledge acquisition and creation. Her novel ‘Boundary Bay’ was the first novel accepted as a doctoral dissertation in a Faculty of Education in Canada.
In addition to coordinating the Creative Writing programme at York University from 2007 to 2011, she also held appointments in the Graduate Schools of English, Education, Women’s Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies. Her work was supported by grants from the Fulbright Foundation, Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council. In 2009-2010, she was awarded the Canada-U.S. Fulbright Research Chair in Creative Writing at Arizona State University.
Dunlop was an award-winning poet, with poems in many anthologies and journals both in Canada and overseas, as well as five published collections of her own poetry: ‘Lover Through Departure: New and Selected Poems’ (2011), ‘White Album’ (2008), ‘Metropolis’ (2005), ‘Reading Like a Girl’ (2004), and ‘The Body of My Garden’ (2002). In 2004 she was appointed Juror for the Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Her other books and journals as editor include ‘An Ecopoetics Reader: Art, Literature and Place’ (2008), ‘White Ink: Poems on Mothers and Motherhood’ (2007) and ‘Red Silk: An Anthology of South Asian Canadian Women Poets’ (2004). Her radio drama, ‘The Raj Kumari’s Lullaby,’ was produced by CBC Radio in 2005. Her translations of Cuban poet Maria Elana Cruz Varela were published by Exile Editions, in ‘Twenty Canadian Poets Take on the World’ (2009). She served as Poet in Residence at the University of British Columbia in 2006-2007 and was a frequent public performer of poetry and prose and a keynote speaker for international conferences, on subjects such as interdisciplinarity in the arts, education and public pedagogy, human rights and literature.
For her achievements in the arts and humanities, Rishma Dunlop was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2011.
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2019/01/28 J. Grant. Updated with biographical sketch written by L. Curtis.