low angle photo of Gavin Barrett framed against ornate ceiling of a medieval Cairo mosque.
Gavin Barrett appears here, in Egypt, January 2019.

Gavin speaks frequently (and some say too much) at a variety of academic, literary and trade events.

Book Launch of Understan

If you missed the launch of Gavin Barrett’s poetry collection, Understan, click here to view the video recording of the event (16th July 2020) which featured readings from the book, live music and a Q&A with literary festival organizer and curator Meenakshi Alimchandani. To buy a copy of Understan, click here.

Upcoming/Current events

(All times EST unless otherwise stated).

The 38th Tartan Turban Secret Readings. Online, 7 pm, Thursday, April 13, 2023. Curated by Gavin Barrett and featuring Tyler Pennock, Keith Garebian and Kate Rogers.

January 2023. Residency with the Choral Creation Lab pairing three poets and three composers in rotation, to co-create original choral works under the mentorship of composer Andrew Balfour and poet Luke Hathaway.

Past Appearances


TTSR 37 February 16, 2023. Curated by Dane Swan and featuring Clifton Joseph, Tyneisha Ternent and Adebe DeRango-Adem.

In Between the Lines. Special guest/contributor of a reflection in poetry on female power, on the occasion of 75 years of Indian independence. This poetry and art exhibition showcased women poets from Canada, India and the global Indian diaspora. September 24th, 2022, in the Crossarts metaverse gallery.

Book launch of fellow Bombay-and-Mawenzi-House poet Keith Garebian‘s In the bowl of my eye. Host and opening reader, 1 pm, September 18th, 2022. Supermarket Bar, Kensington Village.

Gavin Barrett reads Testimony for Poetry X Hunger, an initiative to use poetry to move the public and influence public policy decision-makers to work for the elimination of global hunger. Also featured here are two more of Gavin’s poems: Harbour Line, Mumbai and To the years coming and going.

The Lost Launches Reading Series. 7 pm, Tuesday, April 26, Clinton’s Bar, 693 Bloor St. West. This in-person event, organized by The League of Canadian Poets and hosted by the Art Bar Poetry Series, aims to give a launch-like opportunity to Toronto poets who lost their in-person launches over the last two years because of the pandemic.

Brockton Writers Series. 6:30 pm, May 11, 2022. Featuring Victoria Mbabazi, Gavin Barrett, H. Nigel Thomas and Khashayar Mohammadi and a guest talk by Caroline Suzuki. Online on the Brockton Writers Series YouTube channel.

TTSR33 (Host). Curated by Dr Amatoritsero Ede, and featuring George Elliott Clarke, Lillian Allen, Clifton Joseph, Bertrand Bickersteth and H Nigel Thomas.

The Gathering – Poems on healing, December 2021, Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario.

Wind in the Leaves Collective, November 26 and 27, 2021, at Citadel. Readings from Understan.

TTSR32 (Host). Curated by Mariam Pirbhai. Featuring Farzana Doctor, Lamees Al Ethari, Frances Robert Reilly and Ami Sands-Brodoff.

TTSR31 (Host). Curated by Veena Gokhale. Featuring Bonita Lawrence,  Amatoritsero Ede, Nilambri Ghai, Carolyn Marie Souaid and Andreas Kessaris. August 19, 2021.

TTSR30 (Host). Curated by Terese Mason Pierre. Featuring Avi Silver, Vivian Li, Yohani Mendis and Leslie Joy Ahenda. June 2021

Poetry Capsules, a collaboration between HAPPENING Multicultural Festival (Presented by Muse Arts) and Shab-e She’r (Poetry Night), featuring Gavin Barrett, Bänoo Zan, Mugabi Byenkya, Pamela Mordecai and Olive Senior, the Poet Laureate of Jamaica.  May 27, 2021

Asian Heritage Month host on Howl on CIUT 89.5FM featuring poets Bänoo Zan and H Masud Taj and musical guest, Ritesh Das’s Juno-nominated Toronto Tabla Ensemble. May 18, 2021. 

TTSR29 (Host). Curated by Kateri Lanthier and featuring Shane Book, Bardia Sinaee, Joseph Dandurand, Jennifer Hosein and Isabelle Zhu. April 29, 2021.

Gavin Barrett reads his poem Name Day for Mawenzi House’s 2021 poetry month series.

Showcase of four Mawenzi House poets by Knife Fork Book, Canada’s only all-poetry bookstore. Featuring Gavin Barrett, Leslie Roach, Natasha Ramoutar and Terry Watada reading from Understan, Finish This Sentence, Bittersweet and The Four Sufferings. February 2020.

Featured poet, with 25 poets joining in from around the world at The Personal is Political: a 100,000 Poets for Change event, hosted by Archna Sawhney, Sandy Yannone and Illya Sumanto. November 2020.

Featured writer with Ariane Blackman, Tony Morris, Guglielmo D’Izzia, Uta Sojat and Michael Newman at the Canadian Authors Association—Toronto Branch Indie Author Day Reading. November 2020.

Host at the Art Bar Poetry Café, October 2020.

Featured writer on Canadian Authors—Toronto’s Words with Writers Podcast. (Episode Four: Gavin Barrett, August 2020). See also under Interviews, below.

Featured writer with Lee Parpart, Danny Ramadan, June Rogers and Chris Gorman on Canadian Authors—Toronto’s Words with Writers Podcast. (Episode Three: Painting a picture with words, July 2020).

Host at the Art Bar Poetry Café (Online), July 2020.

Featured reader at Draft Reading Series, with adebe d.a., David Silverberg and Paul Vermeersch. Draft 15.6, May 2020.

Host at the Art Bar Poetry Café, February 2020.

Gavin Barrett onstage at the Tranzac Club
Gavin Barrett features at Shab-e She’r. Photo by Moji.

Featured reader at the Art Bar Poetry Series, with Tyler Pennock and Veronique Kanor — May 2019

Featured reader at Shab-e She’r with Erin Kang and Swarn Lata, November 2018

Open mic reader at the Shab-e She’r open mic, October 2018.

Reviews, interviews and articles

Interview: HAPPENING Multicultural Festival 7 pm, May 19, 2022. (Presented by Muse Arts) curated by Shab-e She’r’s Bänoo Zan.

Gavin Barrett: A Life of Creativity and Caring An article by award-winning author Ed Seaward in his biographies blog, Profiles from the Bright Side of the Road. August 2021.

Interviewed by Sabyasachi Nag for the Artisanal Writer, an online journal that explores what makes great writing, how great writing happens and how writers we love to read make great writing happen. Interviews take the form of an aesthetic statement of sorts. 

This Smiling Door. A review of Understan by poet Kate Rogers, in Prism International, the reputed Vancouver literary quarterly magazine. Prism focuses on the best in contemporary writing and translation from Canada and around the world.

Poet Patrick Connors reviews Gavin Barrett’s Understan for the League of Canadian Poets. Patrick Connors is the author of The Other Life, published by Mosaic Press.

I am a postcolonial modern mongrel. An interview with Selma Carvalho in the UK-based Joao Roque Literary Journal, a journal of Goan literature, which features writing and writers from Goa and the Goan diaspora.

Canadian Authors Association podcast: Featured writer on Canadian Authors Association—Toronto Words with Writers Podcast. (Episode Four: Gavin Barrett, August 2020).

Five Summer Solstice Gems. Novelist Lisa de Nikolits reviews Gavin Barrett’s Understan in The Minerva Reader. Lisa de Nikolits is author of 10 novels published by Inanna Publications.

CBC/Radio Canada: Interview on tokenism and multicultural marketing on The Link with Marc Montgomery. 2010.

Toronto 411 Daily: Interview with Rea Kelly: TO411 special features writer Rea Kelly discusses the Barrett and Welsh New Canadian Mainstream business model with founder Gavin Barrett. November 2009.

juries and other sentences

Fred Kerner Book Award 2020, juror

League of Canadian Poets, Poetry in your pocket, juror

Lectures, panels, other speaking engagements

The South Asian Experience in Canada. A Seneca College Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (#EDI) panel discussion, exploring the diverse and varied experiences of South Asians in Canada within a historical framework. Organized by Hubert Rau. Featuring Gavin Barrett [ गैविन बैरिट ]Pushpinder (Nikki) Dhillon, director at the Canada Chapter of Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project and Sharanjit Kaur Sandhra, co-ordinator at the South Asian Studies Institute at the University of the Fraser Valley. July 2021.

Book launch: An interview with Leslie Roach at the launch of her debut collection Finish this Sentence (Mawenzi House), November 2020.

Panel: Literature in the Spotlight – Voices Unleashed. Inspired by Dane Swan’s book “The Changing Face of Canadian Literature” this CPAMO The Gathering Online 2020 panel broadens the conversation on Canada’s literary history with a focus on IBPOC writers and the nuanced ways in which they address various IBPOC Canadian perspectives. Panelists: Bänoo Zan, Anthony Bansfield, Charlie Petch, Jessica Kirk, Gavin Barrett, Lesley Fletcher and Dane Swan. October 15th, 2020.

Panel: Featured with Sheniz Janmohammed and Leslie Roach in Canadian Poets of Colour: A Conversation, a Zoom poetry event about poetry and being a poet of colour in Canada, hosted by Mawenzi House and moderated by Nurjehan Aziz. September 2020.

Fireside chat: IG Live Fireside Chat with Rise Agency founder Sarah Kiriliuk about the University of Alberta’s Indigenous Canada Course (MOOC). September 2020.

Panel Speaker: Beyond the Business Case for Diversity. Convenor: Al Ramsay. Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. April 2019.

Panel Speaker: The experiences of an immigrant of colour in Canadian communications. Centennial College. 2018  

Lecture: The Art of the Brief to the Strategic Marketing Communications class taught by Ishan Ghosh at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. 2015.

Presenter: (with Mike Welsh) at Ethnic15, the 2015 Marketing Magazine and Canadian Grocer Ethnic Consumer Conference. 2015.

Lecture (with Russell Barrett): the Zeitgeist Conference. St. Xavier’s College Mumbai. Two Barretts for the price of one (which is free) speak at their alma mater in Bombay. December 2014.

Presenter: #BloodyGreatIdeas: the world’s best multicultural advertising. Marketing Magazine, Multicultural Conference. 2011

Lecture: Place Branding to the MBA marketing classes taught by Ashley Konson at Schulich School of Business/York University. 2013.

Lecture: Change-Making though Communication to the Master of Public Health Class taught by Michael Goodstadt at the University of Toronto. 2012.

Lecture: The Creative Process, Bachelor of Mass Media class taught by Perri Subramaniam at St Xavier’s College Mumbai. December 2012.

Panel speaker: Why poor quality multicultural advertising is unacceptable. Marketing Magazine, Multicultural Conference. 2011.

Lecture: Advertising Creative and The Creative Process at the University of Toronto. 2010.

Lecture: How to not be a racist: 10 Rules at The Monarch Institute a think thank initiative led by Martin Aller-Stead at Monarch Park Collegiate, 2006.

Lecture: Intellectual Property and the Hijacking of Culture at The Monarch Institute a think tank initiative led by Martin Aller-Stead at Monarch Park Collegiate, 2005.