On Wednesday, July 19th, at 6pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books and Penguin Random House Canada for the launch of Janika Oza’s A History of Burning.
In what the New York Times Book Review calls “Remarkable. . . . A haunting, symphonic tale”, Oza’s A History of Burning is a profoundly moving debut novel spanning India, Uganda, England, and Canada, about how one act of survival reverberates across generations of a family and their search for a place of their own.
Join her in conversation with poet Brandon Wint at Massy Arts Society for this special event.
About the book
Four generations. Three sisters. One impossible choice. A profoundly moving debut novel spanning India, Uganda, England, and Canada, about how one act of survival reverberates across generations of a family and their search for a place of their own. Named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Pick, and a most anticipated book of 2023 by the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, OprahDaily, and Goodreads.
India, 1898. Pirbhai is the thirteen-year-old breadwinner for his family when he steps into a dhow on the promise of work, only to be taken across the ocean to labour on the East African Railway for the British. With no money or voice but a strong will to survive, he makes an impossible choice that will haunt him for the rest of his days and reverberate across generations.
Pirbhai’s children go on to thrive in Uganda during the waning days of British colonial rule. As the country moves towards independence and military dictatorship, Pirbhai’s granddaughters—sisters Latika, Mayuri, and Kiya—come of age in a divided nation, each forging her own path for the future. Latika is an aspiring journalist with a fierce determination to fight for what she believes in. Mayuri’s ambitions will take her farther away from her family than she ever imagined. And fearless Kiya will have to bear the weight of their secrets.
Forced to flee Uganda during Idi Amin’s brutal expulsion of South Asians in 1972, the family must start their lives over again in Toronto. Then one day news arrives that makes each generation question how far they are willing to go, and who they are willing to defy, to secure a place of their own in the world.
A masterful and breathtakingly intimate saga of colonialism and exile, complicity and resistance, A History of Burning is a radiant debut about the stories our families choose to share—and those that remain unspoken.
About the author
JANIKA OZA is the winner of the 2022 O. Henry Prize for Short Fiction and the 2020 Kenyon Review Short Fiction Award. She has received support from The Millay Colony, Tin House Summer and Winter Workshops, VONA/Voices of Our Nation, and the One Story Summer Writers’ Conference, and her stories and essays have appeared in publications such as The Best Small Fictions 2019 Anthology, Catapult, The Adroit Journal, and The Cincinnati Review, among others. A chapter of A History of Burning was longlisted for the 2019 CBC Short Story Prize and published in Prairie Schooner. She lives in Toronto.
Brandon Wint is a poet, spoken word artist, educator and emerging musician based in western Canada. For more than a decade, Brandon has been a sought-after touring performer, educator and collaborator. He has shared his work internationally, including in festivals and showcases in Latvia, Lithuania, Australia and Jamaica. His poetry has also been published in Ex-Puritan, Arc Poetry Magazine and Write Magazine, among others. He is currently the artistic director of Tree Reading Series. His debut collection of poetry is Divine Animal (Write Bloody North, 2020).