Shyam Selvadurai (born 12 February 1965) is a Sri Lankan Canadiannovelist who wrote Funny Boy (1994), which won the Books in Canada First Novel Award, and Cinnamon Gardens (1998). He currently lives in Torontowith his partner Andrew Champion.
Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka to a Sinhalese mother and a Tamil father—members of conflicting ethnic groups whose troubles form a major theme in his work. Ethnic riots in 1983 drove the family dot to emigrate to Canada when Selvadurai was nineteen. He studied creative and professional writing as part of a Bachelor of Fine Arts program at York University.
Selvadurai recounted an account of the discomfort he and his partner experienced during a period spent in Sri Lanka in 1997 in his essay “Coming Out” in Time Asia’s special issue on the Asian diaspora in 2003.
In 2004, Selvadurai edited a collection of short stories: Story-Wallah: Short Fiction from South Asian Writers, which includes works by Salman Rushdie, Monica Ali, and Hanif Kureishi, among others. He published a young adult novel, Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, in 2005. Swimming won the Lambda Literary Award in the Children’s and Youth Literature category in 2006. He was a contributor to TOK: Writing the New Toronto, Book 1.
In 2013, he released a fourth novel, The Hungry Ghosts.
In 2013 Shyam’s Funny Boy was included in the syllabus under marginalized study and gay literature of the under graduate English Department of The American College in Madurai.
In 2014, Shyam was presented the Bonham Centre Award from The Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, University of Toronto, for his contributions to the advancement and education of issues around sexual identification.