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Koom Kankesan

Koom Kankesan photo from book The Rajapaksa Stories with photoshopped image of the Sri Lankan p.m. as barber

Koom Kankesan was born in Sri Lanka and immigrated to Canada with his family in 1987.  He earned a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Concordia University in Montreal, an M.A. in English and Film Studies from the University of Toronto, and a B.Ed. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.  Kankesan teaches English to secondary school students, sometimes teaches adults and engages in freelance writing.  He lives in Toronto.

Panic Button book cover


The Panic Button

Toronto: Quattro Books, 2011.
PS8621 .A55 P36 2011

Publisher’s Synopsis

Thambi Navaratnam is a young Tamil living with his mother and brother in Scarborough. He wholeheartedly intends to avoid the fate of his brother: arranged marriage. But it’s all anyone can talk about. Marriage– marriage–marriage. To add fuel to the fire, his father, who has been separated from their family for more than twenty-five years is finally escaping Sri Lanka and coming to Toronto. The problem: none of them know that Thambi has been seeing a white woman who wants nothing more than what she has. The pressure only builds from there as the days towards the wedding count down.
A first in Canadian fiction, The Panic Button is a heartfelt story, cut to the bone and told with verve, about the pains and pleasures of immigrant Tamil life.

The Rajapaksa Stories book cover


The Rajapaksa Stories

Toronto: Lyricalmyrical Press, 2013.
PS8621 .A55 R55 2013

Publisher’s Synopsis

President of Sri Lanka, conqueror of the Tamil Tigers, people’s hero, Mahinda Rajapaksa has it all– or does he?  Follow the ups and downs of Sri Lanka’s first family as Rajapaksa hunts a tiger, travels into space, shares a joint with Rob Ford, and almost gets molested by a priest.  Rajapaksa has vanquished his enemies and acquired absolute power but there are cracks and fault lines in the nervous nirvana he has created.  A sense of despair dogs his days as he manoeuvres an absurd landscape of deranged and demanding family members, enraged Tamils, and foreign interests.



The Tamil Dream

Toronto: Quattro Books, 2016.
PS8621 .A55 T36 2016

Publisher’s Synopsis (from its website)

The Tamil Dream follows the lives of two Tamil Canadians as they get caught up in the dramatic events of 2009 in Toronto. Daniel is a schoolteacher who wants only to be successful, and be accepted. Niranjan is a teenaged refugee who cannot find his footing in his new land. Their paths cross in the midst of clashes between people, cultures, and ideologies, inevitably pitting the Canadian and Tamil dreams against one another. Can they ever coexist? The Tamil Dream is a tale of two cultures that can offer each other space but not understanding.


Trump: Utopia or Dystopia

PS648 .P6 T78 2017

Kankesan, Koom. “#Trumptopia.” In Trump: Utopia or Dystopia, edited by JF Garrard & Jen Frankel. Toronto: Dark Helix Press, 2017. 187-203.


Publisher Lyricalmyrical Press

Publisher Quattro Books