Dr. Raywat Deonandan

Deonandan.com is intended as a showcase for the literary and journalistic works of Dr. Raywat Deonandan. Before exploring this site, please consult the disclaimer.

Detailed Bio      Brief Bio      Photos        Interests

Detailed Bio

1. Family

Dr. Raywat Deonandan is an author and scientist with the cultural heritage of three nations: India, Guyana and Canada. The youngest of five children, he was born into an Indian farming family in rural Guyana, though emigrated to Canada at a very young age. All that he is, he owes to his beloved parents, who are always first and last in his thoughts.

2. Literature & The Arts

Raywat started writing short stories as a teenager, garnering publications in nine countries and in five languages. His short fiction has been awarded two Hart House Literary Prizes, recognition from the Permanent Trust national fiction contest and the Katha Indian-American fiction contest, first place in the 1995 Canadian Author's Association National Student Literary Contest, and a nomination for the prestigious Journey Prize.

His first book, an anthology of short stories about the Indo-Caribbean diaspora, titled Sweet Like Saltwater (TSAR Books, 1999), was internationally critically acclaimed and won the 2000 Guyana Prize (the national book award of Guyana) for Best First Work. It continues to be taught at such academic centres as Columbia, Cornell and Ryerson Universities.

Raywat's first novel, Divine Elemental (TSAR Books) was published in 2003, owing to generous grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council.

He remains active in the arts, judging fiction contests in Canada, the USA and Trinidad, and serving on various panels, including the awards jury of the Ontario Arts Council and the Advisory Committee for the Luminat'Eau arts festival at Harbourfront in Toronto (2008). He presently sits on the Board of Directors of Harbourfront Centre, one of Canada's biggest and most active interdisciplinary Arts centres.

3. Scientist

Through his two consulting companies --Deonandan Consulting, Inc. and Vak International-- Raywat consults to businesses, academia and government in the areas of epidemiological design, analysis and communication. He recently completed a one year tenure as the Interim Chief Scientific Advisor to the Canadian federal government on the topic of Assisted Human Reproduction. As well, he is an Assistant Professor (specializing in Global Health) in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa, and formerly an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine.

In 2009, Raywat founded the Interdisciplinary Journal of Health Sciences (IJHS) for the undergraduate students of the Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa. The IJHS is a bilingual, student-run and operated, open-access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal.

In 2009, Raywat joined the Board of Directors of the Canadian Society of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, and currently serves as Editor of the Society's national newsletter.

As an alumnus of the science outreach group, Let's Talk Science, Raywat engages with community groups to help spread the art, beauty and relevance of science to non-scientists. In addition, he lectures around the world on topics relating to the overlap between science, literature and social policy.

4. Journalist

Raywat maintains an active interest in current events, particularly issues of social justice. His political articles continue to appear in leading newspapers and magazines, including the major Canadian dailies, The Toronto Star, The Ottawa Citizen and The Globe and Mail, and in California's India Currents Magazine. He also writes a regular column on the MicroSoft Canada website (also appearing on MSN.ca), about issues in science entrepreneurship.

In a previous life, Raywat wrote an immensely popular regular column for the entertainment site 411mania.com on the theatrical aspects of professional wrestling. The old columns are archived here.

Indeed, many of Raywat's journalistic works can be found at Deonandan.com's sister site, The Podium.

5. Trivia

Raywat holds a black belt in karate and has studied 10 other martial arts since the age of 19. He is an avid runner, squash player and TV junkie, and recently began playing the sitar. To learn more about these interests, please click here.

He presently makes his home in both Ottawa and Toronto, Canada. He has a strong fascination for classic science fiction, and maintains the website Skiffy.ca to celebrate that love.

The minor character of Dr. Atul Deonandan in the Canadian science fiction TV show ReGenesis is based in part on Dr. Raywat Deonandan.

Raywat's Wikipedia entry is here. He wants everyone to understand that, no, he didn't write it himself. In fact he has no idea who made the initial entry.

PS. While Raywat owns the domain name Deonandan.com, information about other notable Deonandans can be found here.

Sample Reviews of Deonandan's Fiction

"Deonandan's prose is quirky and engaging... amusing and incisive." -The Globe and Mail

"An endless fountain of fertile imagination." -Pagitica Magazine

"[Deonandan] creates each line like a work of art." -India Currents Magazine

"Brilliant characterization and dialogue." -Canadian Author Magazine

"What works clearly in [Deonandan's] favour is the power of the imagination, a certain freshness." -Stabroek News

"[Deonandan] tells stories in such an unpretentious fashion that one is left wondering about the unbearable lightness of his craftsmanship." -The Caribbean Writer

"Deonandan is at his best when he draws from the material closest to his traditions." -University of Toronto Quarterly

"Like other writers of South Asian background such as Michael Ondaatje, Cyril Dabydeen, Sasenarine Persaud, and Zulfikar Ghose, Deonandan helps readers to understand the enormous cultural diversity of our hemisphere." -Americas Magazine

"There seems no reason why Deonandan could not join... Rohinton Mistry, Michael Ondaatje, and Anita Rau Badami." -India Abroad

Official Author Photos

Click on a thumbnail below to download a large graphic in TIFF format
(each 0.5-6.0 MB).

Credit 1999:
Edmund Wong
Credit 1999:
Edmund Wong
Credit 1999:
Edmund Wong
Credit 1999:
Rossitza Skortcheva
Credit 2003:
David Drummond
Credit 2003:
Tine De Marez

Credit 2003:
Tine De Marez
Credit 2003:
Tine De Marez
Credit 2005:
Luc St-Amour
Credit 2009:
Credit 2009:
Sarah Mercer
Credit 2009:
Sarah Mercer

Brief Bio

Dr. Raywat Deonandan is a scientist, author and journalist. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa (specializing in Global Health), and formerly the Chief Scientific Advisor to the Canadian federal government on the topic of Assisted Human Reproduction. A critically acclaimed fiction writer, his works have been published in nine countries and in five languages. One of his books, a short story collection called "Sweet Like Saltwater", won the national book award of Guyana, the nation of Deonandan's birth. He is also a regular contributor of op-eds and features to The Toronto Star, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail and California's India Currents magazine. Dr. Deonandan presently sits on the Boards of Directors of both Harbourfront Centre (one of the world's biggest interdisciplinary Arts centres) and the Canadian Society of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. He currently makes his home in both Toronto and Ottawa, and is available for speaking engagements on topics relating to science, literature and social policy.

A longer bio is available here.