Date: 26 11 2015
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Shani Mootoo
(Dublin, Ireland, 1958)

Shani Mootoo
Shani Mootoo
Shani Mootoo is a Trinidadian-Canadian writer, painter, and filmmaker. Survivor of childhood sexual abuse (she was repeatedly abused from age of 2 to 13 by her uncle), she found in art the healing power and a way to cope with this trauma. In 1989 she confronted sex offenders at the Stave Lake Correctional Centre by telling them truthfully, but level headedly, "It's very much about trying to find out what the purpose of life is, wondering why certain things that happened to me as a child could be permitted to happen, and why the universe would allow such a child to's about what to do with suffering." It was after this experience that she opened and started to express her thoughts and emotions not only through visual arts but also through words. She addresses issues of a prescribed cultural authenticity and true identity, triumphing over childhood abuse, and explores characters that are sexually divergent, abused as outsiders, or simply confused with the feeling of guilt because of their hybrid identity, as they don’t fit into any group with monolithic, rigid culture and thus are culturally inauthentic persons. In 1998, she was awarded the New England Book Sellers award for a novel “Cereus Blooms at Night.”

Major works:

Out on Main Street, 1993
Cereus Blooms at Night, 1996
The Predicament of or, 2001
He Drown She in the Sea, 2005


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