May 7, 1952
|Died||November 22, 2014 (aged 62)|
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Kanaganayakam was born on May 7, 1952 in Colombo, Ceylon. He was the son of V. Chelvanayakam, head of the Department of Tamil at the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, and Kamalambikai. He was educated at Trinity College, Kandy. After school Kanaganayakam joined the University of Sri Lanka Peradeniya campus but following Osmund Jayaratne's "re-organisation" of universities, he and other language and literature students were moved to the university's campus in Kelaniya. He graduated in 1976 with a B.A. degree in English language and literature.
Kanaganayakam was a lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Jaffna before joining the University of British Columbia on a Commonwealth scholarship, receiving a Ph.D. degree in 1985 after producing a thesis, supervised by W. H. New, on the writings of Zulfikar Ghose. Kanaganayakam joined the University of Toronto's Department of English in 1989 to research and teach Commonwealth literature. Appointed a professor in 2002, he went on to become director of the Centre for South Asian Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs and co-ordinator of the independent studies program at Trinity College, Toronto.
Kanaganayakam was a founding member of the Tamil Literary Garden and the Toronto Tamil Studies Conference. On the morning of November 22, 2014 Kanaganayakam was inducted to the Royal Society of Canada as a fellow in Quebec City. That evening, as he went to a celebratory dinner in Montreal, he suffered a heart attack and passed away.
Kanaganayakam wrote, translated and edited several books: