The first accession of the fonds contains manuscripts, research material, copy-edited typescripts and proofs from Dionne Brand's published works of fiction, poetry and non-fiction prose including: "Sans Souci and Other Stories"; "At the Full and Change of the Moon"; "In Another Place, Not Here"; "Land to Light On"; "Thirsty"; "Map to the Door of No Return" and "Bread Out of Stone". Also included is material from oral history projects, film projects, interviews and teaching; photographs; notes from travel, appearances and awards; and professional and personal correspondence and memorabilia. The fonds documents Brand's activities, graduate studies and writing career from her arrival in Canada, to 2002. The various series in the fonds are interconnected in the sense that Brand was working on many of these projects at the same time or in conjunction with others. The themes which enliven Brand's work thread back and forth between her poetry, fiction, film, research work and non-fiction prose. Brand's work with oral histories of Black Canadian women inform her poetry, novels, prose and film work; as do her past, her experiences coming to Canada, her experiences in the Black Power Movement in Toronto and her work in Grenada. The fonds demonstrates Brands movement from a poet on the scene in the seventies much involved with grass roots community work to her increasing recognition and critical attention. The fonds also elaborates Brand's connections to other writers, in particular Adrienne Rich with whom she corresponded and from whom she received feedback concerning her writing. Brand has corresponded with George Elliot Clarke, Austin Clarke, Marlene Nourbese Phillip, Claire Harris, Michael Ondaatje, Michelle Cliff and numerous other writers. Most of the material derives from periods when Brand lived in Toronto, though material from the 1990's also includes work composed in Burnt River, Ontario. Certain of the photographs and other document the period Brand was in Grenada, or working with Adrienne Rich in California, return trips to Trinidad and Tobago, and conferences or tours in South Africa and Europe. The fonds is divided into the following series': Series 1. Poetry Stories and Novel Manuscripts; Series 2. Oral History, Black History : Manuscripts and research material; Series 3. Non-fiction Prose : Manuscripts of Writings on Feminism, Race, Racism and Literature; Series 4. Correspondence and memorabilia; Series 5. Teaching; Series 6. Interviews; Series 7. Conferences, Professional Appearances and Awards; Series 8. Filmmaking: transcripts, visuals, planning and correspondence; Series 9. Social Action Work ; Series 10. Notebooks. The second accession of the fonds relates to Dionne Brand's writing, editing and publishing, publicity and awards as well as her work on literary prize juries. Also included are documents relating to Brand's personal life and friendships. The material dates predominantly from the period after the first accession and mainly documents the creation and reception of the volumes of poetry thirsty and Inventory and the novel What We All Long For as well as her recognition and appearances and her friendships. However, in this accession, there is also a substantial portion of material relating to Brand's early development as a writer and her work in graduate school at OISE. This material comprises the series Early writing and education : drafts, correspondence, promotional material and clippings (Series 7.). This early material was stored at Brand's aunt's home just prior to her work in Grenada. The second accession contains the following series: Series 1. Correspondence, and photographs and printed material relating to friends; Series 2. Poetry, Stories and Novel Manuscripts; Series 3. Manuscripts of Non-Fiction Prose; Series 4. Professional Printed material and publicity; Series 5. Jury work : information packages, correspondence and notes; Series 6. Journals/Almanacs and Series 7. Early writing and education : drafts, correspondence, promotional material and clippings.
Brand, Dionne, 1953-: Poet, fiction writer and essayist, Dionne Brand's writing explores themes of exile, lesbian erotics, black identity and cultural constructions, racism, revolution, socialism and Black women's history. Dionne Brand's published writing includes: books of poetry "'Fore Day Morning: Poems" (1978), "Primitive Offensive" (1982), "Winter Epigrams and Epigrams to Ernesto Cardinal in Defense of Claudia" (1983), "Chronicles of the Hostile Sun" (1984), "No Language is Neutral" (1990, nominated for the Governor General's Award), "Earth Magic" (1993), "A Land to Light On" (1997, winner of the Trillium Award and the Governor General's Award), "Thirsty" (nominated for the Griffin Prize 2002) and Inventory (2006); a collection of short stories "Sans Souci and Other Stories" (1988); novels "At the Full and Change of the Moon" (1999), "In Another Place, Not Here" (short-listed for the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Trillium Award, 1996) and What We All Long For (2005); as well as prose works including essays "Bread Out of Stone" and "Map to the door of no return" (2002) a work of creative prose reflecting on the Black diaspora. Her work is widely taught and frequently anthologized. In 2008, the Institute for Coastal Research published her lecture for the Ralph Gustafson Chair in Poetry at Malaspina University College: A Kind of Perfect Speech. In 2009, Leslie Saunders published a selection of Brand's poetry Fierce Departures: The Poetry of Dionne Brand. Brand has been instrumental in oral history projects concerning Black women's history: "The Lives of Black Working Women in Ontario" written with Lois de Shield: later she developed this oral history work into "No Burden to Carry" and the film "Older Stronger Wiser". Brand also worked on a history of the Canadian Negro women's club (CANEWA): a project later completed and published by Laurence Hill. Brand has directed a number of documentary films for the National Film Board: which include "Older Stronger Wiser" (1989), "Sisters in the Struggle" (1991), "Long Time Comin'" (1993), and "Listening for Something: Adrienne Rich and Dionne Brand in Conversation" (1996) which portrays Brand's dialogue with American poet Adrienne Rich. Born in Guayguayare Trinidad in 1953 and raised there by her grandmother, Brand immigrated to Canada in 1970, settling in Toronto. She was active in the Black Power movement in the 1970's: an experience, as she later notes, which helped her counter racial oppression but not sexual repression. Brand received a B.A. in English and Philosophy from the University of Toronto (1975) and an M.A. in History and Philosophy of Education from the University of Toronto (OISE) (1989). In 1983, during the revolution in Grenada, Brand worked for ten months in the Agency for Rural Transformation and was airlifted out of Grenada during the American invasion: an experience which altered her profoundly and which surfaces particularly in the writing of "In Another Place, Not Here, Chronicles of the Hostile Sun" and in her essay "Nothing of Egypt" published in "Bread Out of Stone". Brand has worked extensively within the Black and feminist communities: she was a counselor at the Immigrant Women's Centre, a founder and editor of Our Lives (Canada's first black women's newspaper), she chaired the Women's Issue Committee of the Ontario Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, was a facilitator for the Ontario Federation of Labour's Women's Committee, she was on the organizing committees of the OFL Workers of Colour Conference and the Metro Labour Council Anti-Racism Conference, she worked on the Black Education project in Toronto, she was Information Officer for the Caribbean Peoples' Development Agencies and Brand served on the board of a shelter for abused immigrant women. In 1988, Brand submitted her Masters thesis to OISE at the University of Toronto "A Conceptual Analysis of how Gender Roles are Racially Constructed : Black Women" to OISE at the University of Toronto. She began working toward a PhD in women's history centering on the work of Mary Ann Shadd (-Cary) editor of the "Provincial Freeman and Weekly Advertiser" ; but subsequently she quit the PhD program and left an assistant professorship in the English Department at the University of Guelph in order to write full-time. In the 1990's, Brand lived for a brief period at Burnt River, Ontario, later returning to live in downtown Toronto. Brand has taught courses in Black literature, literature by women and creative writing as an assistant professor of English at the University of Guelph and at York University. Brand was writer-in residence at the at the Halifax City Regional Library and the University of Toronto (1990-1991) and she held the Ruth Wynn Woodward chair in Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University (2000-2002). She was writer-in-residence at the University of Guelph (2003-2004), Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Writer-in-residence at St.Lawrence University in New York State (2004-2005), Ralph Gustafson Poetry Chair at Malaspina University College (2006), faculty member for the Writing Studio at the Banff Centre (2007 and 2009). She also taught poetry at the West Coast Women and Words and through the Humber School for Writers. Brand took part in the New Nation Writers Conference in South Africa (1991) and participated in the Writing Thru' Race Conference (1994) and the Transitional Identities Conference in Mainz, Germany (2000). She also toured England and Scotland with Canadian writers Barbara Gowdy, Nicole Brossard and Lee Maracle in 1992. Brand was a juror for the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2002. In 2003, Brand was head of the Commonwealth Writer's Prize jury. She is currently a professor of English at the University of Guelph where she also holds a University Research Chair. In 2003, Brand won the Pat Lowther Award and was shortlisted for the City of Toronto Book Award, the Trillum Book Award and the Griffin Prize for thirsty. In 2006, Brand won the City of Toronto Book Award for What We All Long For and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award and the Trillium Book Award for Inventory. In that same year, she won the Harbourfront Festival Prize for her important contribution to literature and was made a Fellow of the Academies for Arts, Humanities, and Sciences of Canada (of the Royal Society). In 2007, Brand was shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award for Inventory. In 2009, Brand was appointed Poet Laureate of Toronto.