Obituary: Chelva Kanaganayakam: A ‘shining beacon’ for Tamil literature

Credited with introducing Tamil poetry and culture to the English-speaking world, Chelva Kanaganayakam brought together writers, scholars and intellectuals through his teaching and academic leadership, and provided a welcome community in Canada for transplanted Tamils.

His work at the University of Toronto, as a professor of English and distinguished scholar of postcolonial literature and South Asian studies, revitalized Sri Lankan Tamil literature at a time when a dialogue between two disparate cultural and literary traditions was most necessary.

“Chelva possessed the best properties of scholarly brilliance – warm collegiality, illuminating critique,” said George Elliott Clarke, poet laureate of Toronto and professor of English at the University of Toronto.

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