Stephen Gill is one of Cornwall-area’s most talented and prodigious authors, and he is continually drawn back to the place and people that he calls home. Gill recently donated several of his books to the Cornwall Public Library and held a book signing event last Sunday. Over his incredible career, Gill has authored more than 25 books (including poetry and literary criticism) and won multiple awards. Although he was born in Sialkot, now in Pakistan, the main themes that run through all of Gill’s work are the embodiment of Canadian values: peace, tolerance, and freedom.
Gill and his parents moved to New Delhi, India, after he was born in order to live in a calmer area – in the mid-20th century, Sialkot suffered communal riots between Hindus and Muslims after the resolution calling for the establishment of Pakistan as a separate state. Gill grew up with his family in New Delhi before migrating to England and then finally settling in Canada. His early experiences with social turbulence and violence have informed his work throughout his career. His foundational ideology is to live and let live, buttressed by the values of love and peace.
Gill’s latest publication is a two-volume work containing his novels The Coexistence and The Chhattisgarh. These two novels were combined because although they are set in different locales, Canada and India, they are based on similar ideas and philosophies. As its title implies, The Coexistence is about the need for multiculturalism in a growing global community and follows its protagonist Raghu, an Indian-born Canadian, as he pursues a life of heterogeneity over assimilation. Raghu is also the lead in The Chhattisgarh, a novel that focuses largely on the exotic nature of the mythologies around the jungles of Chhattisgarh while incorporating a love story between an Indian professor and Raghu.
Other notable works by Gill include his modern epic poem The Flame, the longest poem ever written in English on modern terrorism, and For a Peaceful Future, a collection of quotations from Gill where he describes the multiple aspects of peace.
In a world currently bombarded with violence, terrorism, and unease, Gill’s work provides a template for examining and implementing harmony.
Gill’s works are available to borrow at The Cornwall Public Library and to purchase at the Friends of the Library Book Store.