Who’s Who in Black Canada (2011)

Writer / Professor (Retired), Université, Laval, QC. Born: St. Vincent & the Grenadines.

Dr. H. Nigel Thomas is a recently-retired Professor of American Literature at the Université Laval and an author of many publications including short stories, critical studies, poems and novels.

Dr. Thomas is one of the few authors to openly write and/or talk about being gay in the Caribbean. He spearheaded many initiatives in Montreal, where he lived from 1968-88, including co-founding the Free South Africa Committee and founding the literary magazine, KOLA. Much of what he writes comes from a need to explore, via the imagination, what it is to be human. Previously, he had taught English and French for several years with what is now the Montreal English School Board. He now resides in the Montreal suburb of Greenfield Park.

Works: Lives: Whole and Otherwise (2010); Return to Arcadia (2007); Why We Write: Conversations with African Canadian Poets and Novelists (2006); Behind the Face of Winter (2001); Moving Through Darkness (1999); How Loud Can the Village Cock Crow? (1996); Spirits in the Dark (1993); From Folklore to Fiction: A Study of Folk Heroes and Rituals in the Black American Novel (1988).

Reviewed in: Callaloo; KOLA; South Atlantic Review; Journal of West Indian Literature; Commonwealth; Times Literary Supplement; Caribbean Writer; Montreal Gazette; Globe & Mail; Quill & Quire; Writers’ Monthly; Halifax Chronicle-Herald.

Honours: Inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada 2 (2006); Jackie Robinson Professional of the Year, MABBP (2000); short-listed for the Hugh MacLennan Fiction Award, QSPELL (1994).

Education: Ph.D, Université de Montreal (1986); Diploma in Education, McGill (1976), Master of Arts (1975); Bachelor of Arts (1974) Concordia University.

Motto: Time passes without our control, but we can control how we pass time.

Favourite book? No overall favourite. I have about 50: Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon; Leslie Marmon-Silko’s Ceremony; Henry David Thoreau’s Walden

Favourite quote? “With the farming of verse, make a vineyard of the curse.” – W.H. Auden

Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? Volunteer my time teaching AIDS orphans.

What inspires you? Trees. They imbue me with humility and send my imagination on long journeys.

Why do you do what you do? I feel an inner compulsion to do so.