Born On: 1952
Born In: Mumbai, India
Rohinton Mistry is a famous Canadian writer with roots in India. Famous American writer and broadcaster Rick Gekoski once said: 'Mistry has a great eye and a huge heart, and if the world he describes is often cruel and capricious, his characters have a remarkable capacity to survive". Rohinton Mistry has a rare achievement to his credit - he is the only author, all of whose novels have been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize'. His works slowly starts from a family, proceeding gradually outwards along with the development of the characters and gradually widens into the social, cultural, and political backdrop. He has an unusual talent to grab the attention of the readers. Rohinto Mistry is a great writer with has an observable eye and a creative mind. The marked specialty of his work is that, thus far, his books depict the diverse facets of Indian socioeconomic life and culture as well as the life, customs, and religion of the Parsis. Read on!
Rohinton Mistry was born to a Parsi couple Behram Mistry and Freny Mistry in 1952 in Bombay, India. He was born to a middle-class family. He grew up in this city and finished his graduation in Mathematics and Economics from the St. Xavier's College, Mumbai. His father was into advertising and his mother was a housewife. He migrated to Canada after marrying Freny Elavia who worked as a teacher and settled in Toronto. He worked in a bank there to support his studies and finished a degree in Philosophy and English. During his life at the Toronto University he published some stories for which he won two Hart House Literary Prizes and also the Canadian Fiction Magazine's Annual Contributor's Prize. Two years later, Penguin Books Canada published his collection of eleven short stories, Tales from Firozsha Baag. It was later published in the United States of America as "Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag". The book consists of eleven short stories, all set within one apartment complex in modern-day Mumbai. This volume contains the oft-anthologized story, "Swimming Lessons."
Rohinton Mistry got into writing after reaching Canada and some of his early works were published in many Canadian magazines. His short-story collection "Tales from Firozsha Baag" was published in Canada in the year 1987 and then in UK as "Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag" in the year 1992. He wrote three novels and many short stories. His novel "Such a Long Journey" is written with Mumbai as the background. The novel depicts the story of a bank clerk who, though unwillingly, becomes a part of a fraud committed by the government. Rohinton Mistry bagged the Commonwealth Writers Prize for this book. "A Fine Balance", another novel published in the year 1996 depicts the State of Emergency in India and "Family Matters" which was published in 2002, again has Mumbai as its background. The novel narrates the story of an elderly Parsi widower who lives in Mumbai with his step-children. Both his works "Such a Long Journey" and "A Fine Balance" were shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction and the third one 'Family Matters" was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction (renamed version of Booker Prize) in 2002. Many of his literary papers are a part of the Clara Thomas Archives.
He and his family were targeted by security agents because they thought that he is a Muslim and because of this very reason he cancelled his book tour to the United States of America in 2002.He was checked by security agents in every single airport and the humiliation was unbearable to him. Another controversy related to Rohinton Mistry is that his novel "Such a Long Journey" was allegedly against the Mumbai University. The Shiv Sena's student wing lodged complaint against this book to the Vice-Chancellor of Mumbai University and burnt copies of this book at the university gate. The book was eventually withdrawn by the Mumbai University owing to the vigorous protest. His latest work is a story called "The Scream".
His contributions to literature include:
Tales from Firozsha Baag, 1987 or Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag 1989 (US version)
Such a Long Journey, 1991
A Fine Balance, 1995
Family Matters, 2002
The Scream, 2006
Awards and Accolades
First Prize, Hart House Literary Contest, 1983
First Prize, Hart House Literary Contest, 1984
Annual Contributors' Prize, Canadian Fiction Magazine, 1985
Shortlisted for Booker Prize for Fiction, 1991
Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, 1991
Commonwealth Writers Prize, 1992
Books in Canada First Novel Award, 1992
Giller Prize, 1995
Shortlisted for Booker Prize for Fiction, 1996
Commonwealth Writers Prize,1996
Shortlisted for Irish Times International Fiction Prize, 1997
James Tait Black Memorial Prize, 2002
Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize, 2002
Shortlisted for Booker Prize for Fiction, 2002
1952: Born in Mumbai.
1975: Completed his graduation at the St. Xavier's College, Mumbai.
1987: Published his short-story collection.
1991: Shortlisted for Booker Prize.
1992: Published the same short-story collection in USA under the name "Swimming Lessons and Other Stories from Firozsha Baag".
1996: Shortlisted for Booker Prize.
2002: Shortlisted for Man Booker Prize.