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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Belief - a novel

Belief, my debut novel, is being published next month. I began writing it soon after I came to Toronto; when I was working as a security guard at a condo in Toronto’s St. Clair West.

Those long and lonely (and cold) night shifts turned me into a fiction writer. The residents of the building supported me in many different ways, and one of them told me about Diaspora Dialogues. Through Diaspora Dialogues I met MG Vassanji, and then began a journey that transformed me as a person.

Writing doesn’t come easily to me, and it became more painful and nearly impossible during the four years I struggled with the manuscript. Many friends helped me in this process. And sometime in 2014, I forced myself to stop revising the manuscript.

Then, I waited for a publisher to publish the novel. Nobody seemed interested. If writing had been hard and painful, looking for a publisher was even more so. Helen Walsh of Diaspora Dialogues suggested I should ask Nurjehan Aziz of Mawenzi House (earlier known as TSAR). I did, and she agreed.

Finally, after a very long time, the novel is ready for its readers.

Here’s the media release from the publisher:


Mayank Bhatt

TERRORISM: What makes young people give up their secure, sheltered lives and take up causes that are sure to lead to catastrophe, for others as well as themselves? This is a burning question that plagues our times.

Rafiq is a young man whose family fled the 1993 violence against Muslims in Mumbai. His father Abdul is a sceptic in religious matter and a liberal, a former labour activist in India. His mother Ruksana is devout and practicing though also a former activist who worked with poor women. The family was reduced to humble circumstances after arriving in Toronto and with Rafiq working as a web-designer, is only now beginning to look up. They proudly own a house in Mississauga.

One late afternoon Rafiq’s father and his sister discover some files on Rafiq’s computer that strongly indicate that he is part of a Muslim-radical plot to bomb public places in Toronto.
Belief examines the radicalization and alienation among a section of young Muslims living in western societies, the interplay of attitudes on both sides that is leading to an ever-widening chasm.

It does this not polemically but by setting it within the intimacy of a family situation to accentuate the difficult material conditions and the conflicts of belief, values, and hope that immigrants face in a new country.

Mayank Bhatt immigrated to Toronto in 2008 from Mumbai (Bombay), where he worked as a journalist. His short stories have been published in TOK 5: Writing the New Toronto and Canadian Voices II. In Canada he has worked as a security guard, an administrator, and an arts festival organiser. He lives in Toronto with his family.


Nurjehan Aziz
Sabrina Pignataro

You may buy the book from the publisher or Amazon or from me.

Also, visit my new website and the Facebook page for updates

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations, Mayank! This has taken longer than the usual 9 months to conceive and produce but no doubt gives you the same joy and pride as your first born.
    I look forward to getting my copy on Sep 9.
    More power to you and best wishes.