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Rohinton Mistry

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Rohinton Mistry

Rohinton Mistry
Born Rohinton Mistry
3 July 1952
Mumbai, India
Occupation Novelist
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater University of Mumbai
University of Toronto
Genre Historical fiction,Postcolonial Literature, Realism, Parsi Literature Minor Literature
Notable works Such a Long Journey; Family Matters; A Fine Balance

Rohinton Mistry (born 3 July 1952) is an Indian-born Canadian who writes in English. Mistry is of Indian origin, originally from Mumbai, and currently resides in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. He practises Zoroastrianism and belongs to the Parsi community. Mistry is a Neustadt International Prize for Literature laureate (2012).


Rohinton Mistry was born in 1952 in Mumbai, India. His brother is the playwright and author Cyrus Mistry. He earned a BA in Mathematics and Economics from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai. He emigrated to Canada following with his wife-to-be Freny Elavia in 1975 and they married there shortly after his arrival.[1] in 1975, settling in Toronto where he studied at the University of Toronto and received a BA in English and Philosophy.[2] He worked in a bank for a while, before returning to studies, leading up to a degree in English and philosophy.

Literary career

While attending the University of Toronto he won two Hart House literary prizes (the first to win two), for stories which were published in the Hart House Review, and Canadian Fiction Magazine's annual Contributor's Prize for 1985. Two years later, Penguin Books Canada published his collection of 11 short stories, Tales from Firozsha Baag. It was later published in the United States as Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag.[3] The book consists of 11 short stories, all set within one apartment complex in modern-day Mumbai. This volume contains the oft-anthologized story, "Swimming Lessons."

When his second book, the novel Such a Long Journey, was published in 1991, it won the Governor General's Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, and the W.H. Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award.[3] It was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize and for the Trillium Award. It has been translated into German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Japanese, and has been made into the 1998 film Such a Long Journey.

His third book, and second novel, A Fine Balance (1995), won the second annual Giller Prize in 1995, and in 1996, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction. It was selected for Oprah's Book Club[4] in November 2001 and sold hundreds of thousands of additional copies throughout North America as a result. It won the 1996 Commonwealth Writers Prize and was shortlisted for the 1996 Booker prize.[5]

Family Matters is a consideration of the difficulties that come with ageing, which Mistry returned to in 2008 with the short fiction The Scream (published as a separate volume, in support of World Literacy of Canada, with illustrations by Tony Urquhart).

His books portray diverse facets of Indian socioeconomic life; as well as Parsi Zoroastrian life, customs, and religion. Many of his writings are markedly "Indo-nostalgic".

His literary papers are housed at the Clara Thomas Archives at York University.

In 2002, Mistry cancelled his United States book tour for his novel Family Matters (2002) because he and his wife were targeted by security agents at every airport he visited, apparently because Mistry appeared to be Muslim. Mistry reported that on his first flight of the tour, "we were greeted by a ticket agent who cheerfully told us we had been selected randomly for a special security check. Then it began to happen at every single stop, at every single airport. The random process took on a 100 percent certitude."[6]

Impact on Mistry in the US of 9-11

His publisher issued a statement that said, "As a person of colour [Mistry] was stopped repeatedly and rudely at each airport along the way—to the point where the humiliation ... had become unbearable."[7]



Short stories and chapbooks

  • Tales from Firozsha Baag (1987), also published as Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag (1989)
  • Searching for Stevenson (1994)
  • The Scream (2006)

Awards and recognition


  1. ^ Angela Lambert, "Touched with fire" The Guardian 27 April 2002
  2. ^ "The Man Booker Prize". The Man Booker Prize. Retrieved 16 January 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Malieckal, Bindu (2000). "Rohinton Mistry". In Nelson, Emmanuel Sampath (Ed.), Asian American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook, pp. 219–28. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-313-30911-6.
  4. ^ New, William H. (2003). A History of Canadian Literature, (3d ed.), p. 326. McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-2597-1.
  5. ^ Faber and Faber paperback edition 1997
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Rohinton Mistry wins Neustadt Prize 2012 – "Parsi Khabar"
  9. ^ Critically acclaimed Indian-Canadian writer Rohinton Mistry wins 2012 Neustadt International Prize for Literature – "World Literature Today"

External links

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