Journalist. Novelist. Academic.
Cecil Foster is often described as a renaissance man because of his many intellectual interests. He is an author, an academic and a public intellectual. But should you ask him to describe himself he would probably explain that he is a writer who uses many genres to tell stories about the human condition and the struggles by individuals for a better world. These stories might be in the form of his acclaimed fiction or told through his journalism and media commentaries. Or they might be in his award-winning academic writing and teaching. Or they might be in general nonfiction. These stories are about hope and about social justice and freedom.
Cecil Foster would also tell you that he is intrigued by living in the Americas, that historically idealistic place of second chances for so many individuals and traditional groups of outcasts, the rejected and marginalized, a region teeming with the hybridity and improvisation of peoples and cultures. Foster was born in Barbados which still provides much material for his writing across genres. He moved to Toronto, Canada, where his writing blossomed and where he eventually became a full-time scholar/academic. He was a professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Currently, he is Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, and Associate Director of Canadian Studies in the Department of Transnational Studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo. An author of several acclaimed works of fiction and non-fiction, Foster is one of Canada’s leading public intellectuals on issues of citizenship, culture, multiculturalism, politics, race, ethnicity and immigration. His fiction is often described as post-colonial in terms of the Caribbean. According to the New York Times newspaper (Nov. 5, 2002), he is one of Canada’s leading fiction voices, who depicts the immigration experience and provides a non-traditional perspective on Canada, citizenship and issues of belonging.
As a well-respected journalist and columnist, Foster has worked with major print and broadcast media in the Caribbean and Canada. In Barbados, he was a reporter/editor with Reuters News Agency Caribbean service at the time, but which later became the Caribbean News Agency (CANA) that was the forerunner to the Caribbean Media Corporation. After a stint in Jamaica at Caribbean Institute of Media and Communications at the University of the West Indies, Foster became a reporter/editor with the Barbados Advocate-News. In Canada he worked for several major media outlets including The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Financial Post, CBC Radio and CBC TV and CTV New. He was also the host of Urban Talk, a talk show on the Toronto Radio station CFRB 1010AM. He also contributed to several leading Canadian magazines, such as Chatelaine, Toronto Life, Report on Business Magazine, Canadian Business, NOW and Maclean’s. Public advocacy is important to him and is one of the threads weaving his working life.
Foster’s Blackness and Modernity: The Colour of Humanity and the Quest for Freedom (McGill-Queen’s UP 2007), won the 2008 John Porter Tradition of Excellence Book Award by the Canadian Sociology Association. An earlier book, A Place Called Heaven: The Meaning of Being Black in Canada, won the 1996 Gordon Montador Award for the Best Canadian Book on Contemporary Social Issues. Sleep On, Beloved, a novel, was shortlisted for the Ontario Trillium Book Prize.
Click here for a full list of his books. And look out for Foster’s forthcoming books:
Independence, a novel by HarperCollins Canada, which is already receiving positive notice, and
Genuine Multiculturalism: Tragedy and Comedy of Diversity, a work that will be a major intervention in the debate on multiculturalism in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
Both books are available for pre-order through Amazon, Chapters/Indigo and your otherwise favourite bookstore.
Cecil Foster is represented by The Bukowski Agency in Toronto, email firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone (416) 928-6728, fax (416) 963-9978.
Cecil’s Profile on the Web
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“Every sentence of Cecil Foster’s Independence rings with the music of authenticity. His eye for detail and his ear for the rhythms of dialogue are...DAVID MACFARLANE
“Foster’s story of a West Indies community in transition is a marvelous read, filled with humour, sorrow, and wit, and told with the deft and...THOMAS KING
“In Independence, two young children, a boy and a girl, are cared for by their grandmothers as they wait for years for their mothers to...AUSTIN CLARKE, author of The Polished Hoe
“Cecil Foster is a wise man with a flair for storytelling and writing that enters the heart. Slammin’ Tar, Foster’s sixth book, is a moving...QUILL AND QUIRE, starred review, 1998
“The author of the well-received No Man in the House offers a poignant portrayal of a Jamaican woman’s struggle to build a new life in...PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, on Sleep On, Beloved
“A first novel from Barbadian-born Foster, published first in Canada and now making its US debut: one of those rare books that do indeed celebrate...Kirkus Reviews, on No Man in the House, 1991