Begamudré, Ven (1956-)

A writer of novels, short stories, science fiction, fantasy, poetry, biography, and memoir, Ven Begamudré has made Regina his home base since 1978. He was born in Bangalore, India on March 13, 1956, lived two years in Mauritius (1957–59), and moved to Canada at the age of six. During his youth he lived in Ottawa, Kingston, and Bethlehem (Pennsylvania) before completing high school in Vancouver. He received a BA (Honours) in public administration from Carleton University (1977) and an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina (1999). He has also studied at the Banff Centre for the Arts as well as the Saskatchewan School of the Arts. After moving to Regina, he worked in various departments of the provincial civil service on the basis of his training in public administration; but over time, and with the help of positions as writer-in-residence or part-time positions with various writing or arts councils, he has been able to devote more of his time to writing. His books include two novels (Van de Graaff Days and The Phantom Queen), two story collections (A Planet of Eccentrics and Laterna Magika), and a biography (Isaac Brock: Larger Than Life). Although these books and his many publications in literary journals manifest a wide variety of genres, narrative styles, settings and themes, Begamudré’s works consistently demonstrate his interest in literary experimentation. He has experimented with narrative and poetic techniques, with literary forms such as mythic realism, speculative fiction, the postcard story or essay, prose-poetry, and bio-fiction. He has also set up comparative themes such as cross-cultural migration in his Indian-Canadian fiction as well as in his historical-fantasy writing, and even intergalactic migration in his science fiction. Consistently, the figure of the outsider recurs in his writing. Begamudré has received the F.G. Bressani Literary Prize for Prose, the City of Regina Writing Award, and prizes for fiction and creative non-fiction from various literary magazines. His second story collection, Laterna Magika , shared the City of Regina Book Award and was a best book finalist in the Canada-Caribbean region for the 1998 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. In addition to his own books, Begamudré has edited Lodestone: Stories by Regina Writers and co-edited Out of Place: Stories and Poems ; he has also been a generous sponsor and contributor to the writing community. He was the founding president of the Sage Hill Writing Experience, has served in a variety of capacities including the presidency of the Saskatchewan Writer’ Guild, and has given workshops and served as a mentor for the Saskatchewan Writers Guild and the Saskatchewan School of the Arts. He has been much sought after as a writer-in-residence, having been selected for the University of Calgary’s Markin-Flanagan Distinguished Writers Programme, the University of Alberta’s Department of English, the Canada-Scotland Exchange, the Regina Public Library, McMaster University’s Department of English, and the Yukon Public Libraries.

Daniel Coleman

Further Reading

Casey, Allan. 1991. “A Life in Revolution.” Books in Canada 20 (9): 16-18; Coleman, Daniel. 1996. “Writing Dislocation: Transculturalism, Gender, Immigrant Families: A Conversation with Ven Begamudré.” Canadian Literature 149: 36-51.