Neil ten Kortenaar

Neil ten Kortenaar
Telephone number
Building HW 330

Neil ten Kortenaar grew up in Toronto and Montreal and attended the University of Toronto. He has taught high school in Nigeria and adult literacy in Nicaragua. He has taught university in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Uganda. He first taught Caribbean and African literature at UTSC in 1986, when he was a PhD student.


PhD University of Toronto


Centre for Comparative Literature. Associate faculty in the Departments of Religion, French, and Critical Development Studies.

Teaching Interests

African literature, Caribbean literature, South Asian literature, the immigrant experience in literature, the Bible in literature, Introduction to Poetry

Research Interests

African literature (especially West and Southern African); Caribbean literature; South Asian literature (especially Salman Rushdie); the relation of orality to writing; political philosophy and literature. His current research reads African literature as if it were political philosophy and looks at the ways Nigerian novelists imagined the nation-state at independence.

Awards and Grants

SSHRC Insight and Connections grants. 

Mellon grant for “Aesthetic Education,” a collaboration between the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto and the Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape. 


Select Accomplishments:


President, CACLALS (Canadian Association of Commonwealth Literature and

Language Studies), 2007-2010


Director of the Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto, 2009-



Associate editor, Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry


Editorial board of ARIEL, Canadian Literature


Organizer of the ACLA (American Comparative Literature Association)

General Meeting, “Global Positioning Systems,” University of Toronto,

April 4-7, 2013.


Select Publications/Conference Presentation Titles:


Debt, Law, Realism: Nigerian Writers Imagine the State at Independence. Montreal:

               McGill-Queen’s UP, 2021. 281 pp.

“The Reinvention of the Novel in Africa.” Cambridge History of World Literature. Ed. Debjani Ganguly. New York: Cambridge UP, 2021. 621-35.

“West African Literature in English.” A Companion to African Literatures. Ed. Olakunle George. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2020. 319-32. 

“Literary Pedagogy Confronting Colonialism.” Special issue of the Cambridge Journal of

Postcolonial Literary Inquiry 7.2 (2020). 


Postcolonial Literature and the Impact of Literacy: Reading and Writing in

African and Caribbean Fiction. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011. 224 pp.


Self, Nation, Text in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Montreal: McGill

-Queen’s UP, 2004. 317 pp.


“Delhi/Ahmednagar Fort - Washington DC/Birmingham Jail - Pretoria/Robben

Island 1947-1994; or, Race, Colonialism, Postcolonialism.” A

Companion to Critical and Cultural Theory. Ed. Imre Szeman, Sarah Blacker, and Justin Sully. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2017. 115-28.


“The Novel in English in Africa to 1950.” The Oxford History of the Novel in

English. Vol. 9 The World Novel to 1950. Ed. Ralph Crane, Jane Stafford, and Mark Williams. Oxford: OUP, 2016. 91-114.


“Multiculturalism and Globalization.” The Cambridge History of Canadian

Literature. Ed. Eva-Marie Kroller and Coral Ann Howells. Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 2009. 556-79.