It is with heavy hearts that we’d like to pay tribute to Rishma Dunlop. Rishma, who has been involved in Diaspora Dialogues for years as a mentor, writer, and festival participant, passed away in her husband’s arms on April 17.
Rishma was an extremely talented writer. In her lifetime she published five volumes of poetry, including Lover Through Departure and the acclaimed Reading Like a Girl; edited and co-edited multiple anthologies; produced a radio drama for the CBC; and contributed to numerous national and international publications. She continued to work on two writing projects—Love and Cancer in the Candy Factory and Dangerous Words: the Poetry of Witness—up to her last surgery in December. When she wasn’t writing, she taught the next generation of great Canadian writers at York University.
Rishma was extremely generous with her time and a great supporter of emerging Canadian writers. In 2010, she got involved with Diaspora Dialogues as a mentor through our short-form mentorship program. She contributed to TOK and appeared at numerous events while maintaining her busy schedule and raising her daughters—a wonder woman if there ever was one.
Thank you, Rishma, for all of you have done for Canadian literature. Our thoughts are with Rishma’s family, friends, colleagues, and students. She touched countless lives and we are so grateful we got the opportunity to work with her.