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Damian Tarnopolsky

Damian Tarnopolsky

Photo: Eric Schippert

Damian Tarnopolsky is a writer, editor and teacher. 

His most recent work, The Defence, won the 2019 Voaden Prize, leading to a staged reading directed by Craig Walker at the Kingston WritersFest. His novel Goya’s Dog, the story of a dyspeptic British painter’s unhappy World War II exile in Toronto, was praised as “very funny and biting” by The Globe and Mail and “a compelling story of an artist at war” by Quill and Quire. It was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book (Canada/Caribbean) and the First Novel Award. Lanzmann and Other Stories appeared with Exile Editions in 2006  and was nominated for the ReLit award. It was praised in the Toronto Star as “at turns surreal, serio-comic, whimsical and erotic,” and by eye weekly for its “authority, Nabokovian play and bawdiness” and “perfect, twisty sentences.” His short fiction has appeared in Maisonneuve, subTerrain, Exile: The Literary Quarterly, Audeamus, and elsewhere, and has been twice nominated for the Journey Prize, as well as the CBC Literary Award.

Damian Tarnopolsky  studied modern literature at Oxford University and writing at the Humber School for Writers, where he was mentored by Mavis Gallant. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, where he specialized in the later modernist novel and was awarded the President's Teaching Academy award. He has since published scholarly articles on such subjects as repetition in the works of Samuel Beckett and the unusual ending of Henry Green's novel Loving. He has taught writing, communications and literature at the University of Toronto, Humber College, the Junction Writes workshop, and the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, and was the 2014 and 2016-18 Barbara Moon/Ars Medica Editorial Fellow at Massey College. He now teaches creative and reflective writing to health practitioners at the Centre for Faculty Development at St. Michael’s Hospital, and leads A Rooster for Asclepius, a health-related writing group.

His articles and reviews appear regularly in the national press and online, in such publications as The Walrus, the Literary Review of Canada, Partisan, and The Globe and Mail, and for a time he was the Managing Editor of the Toronto Review of Books. He is currently the proprietor of Slingsby and Dixon, an editorial communications firm in Toronto, where he lives with his family.

He is represented by Martha Magor Webb at the McDermid Agency.




Goya's Dog. Hamish Hamilton , 2009
Lanzmann and Other Stories. Exile Editions, 2006


Winner - Herman Voaden National Playwriting Contest for The Defence, 2019
Finalist - Commonwealth Writers Prize, Canada and Caribbean for Goya's Dog, 2009
Finalist - First Novel Award for Goya's Dog, 2009
Nomination - ReLit Award for Lanzmann and Other Stories, 2006
Eligible for National Public Readings Program:


Presentation Description

Writing the short story
Writing the novel
Historical fiction (writing and research)
Writing and criticism (relation of studying literature to creating it) - reading and writing (how reading informs the writer's imagination) - editing and writing (the journey from first draft to finished text)
Becoming a writer
Writing about your life - transforming real events into dramatic, fictional ones
Writing about health and illness


Presentation Length:
Fiction/Reflective writing
Audience Size:
Workshop Description:

Damian has long experience leading creative writing workshops for the University of Toronto, the Junction Writes community program, Massey College, etc. Can focus more on fictional techniques, writing from life, creativity and inspiration and the writing process, fiction and health/medicine, etc.