Gavin Barrett, writer

photograph by Richard Picton


Gavin Barrett is a poet and creative entrepreneur, and the author of Understan, a new collection of poems published by Mawenzi House in June 2020.

Gavin was born in Bombay, of Anglo-Indian and Goan East African parentage. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from St. Xavier’s College, Bombay and an M.A. in English Literature from Bombay University. After leaving Bombay, he lived in Hong Kong for several years before immigrating to Canada, always making a living as a professional writer and creative entrepreneur.

In addition to Understan, Gavin’s poetry has been published in Ranjit Hoskote’s anthology of 14 contemporary Indian poets, Reasons for Belonging (Viking Penguin, India); the journal of Pen India; The Folio; The Independent; The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad; and Poeisis – the journal of the Bombay Poetry Circle — he was a Poetry Circle member from its very first meeting.

He is the founder, host and series co-curator of the Tartan Turban Secret Readings, a Toronto reading series that focuses on giving emerging visible minority writers a stage. He is a member of the Canadian Authors Association and sits on its Toronto branch Advisory Board. He is also a member of PEN Canada and The Writers’ Union of Canada, and an associate member of The League of Canadian Poets.

Gavin is also the co-founder of Barrett and Welsh, a “visible-minority-led, creativity-powered, change-making ad agency that puts ideas first to make ideas last.” A certified B Corporation® based in Toronto, Barrett and Welsh specializes in inclusion communications (mainly multicultural/visible minority and persons with disabilities) and urban sustainable development (mainly transit).

His non-literary work has appeared in 35 countries, helped elect prime ministers, attracted the ire of the lawyers for Dolly the cloned sheep, drew an angry crowd in Lagos, has been studied in business texts in Canada and India, and was criticized by a fictional character in a John Irving novel.

This site contains some of Gavin Barrett’s published works and a selection of unpublished pieces. All content © Gavin Barrett unless otherwise specified.