Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Writers at Night: The Writers' Trust Gala Series with Shashi Bhat

Share |
Shashi Bhat

Today we're talking with Shashi Bhat, debut author of The Family Took Shape (Cormorant Books), as part of our Writers at Night series.

Writers at Night celebrates the Writers' Trust Gala, an annual black tie fundraiser for the Writers' Trust. The charity supports authors across Canada through a variety of programs, prizes and scholarships including the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize, the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the RBC Bronwen Wallace Prize for Emerging Writers and the Writers' Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize.

This week we're asking a handful of guest authors to spill about their plans for the glitzy evening, including the most important question — what everyone will be wearing on the big night.

Shashi tells us about the allure of the medal, a year of buying nothing new and the Canadian writer she'd most like to sit with for dinner.

The 28th annual Writers' Trust Gala takes place on November 14, 2013. Stay tuned for more interviews this week!

Open Book:

Is this your first time attending the Writers' Trust Gala? If so, to what aspect of the event are you most looking forward? If you've attended before, what is one of your favourite gala memories?

Shashi Bhat:

This is my second time attending the gala. I was very nervous last year, because I went alone and everyone was much taller than me. The people at my table — the Emerging Writers table — were delightful, and I have to admit I liked wearing the Writers’ Trust medal. It’s actually hanging on my corkboard now. How often do you get to wear a big medal announcing that you’re a writer?


Each guest at your table receives a copy of your most recent book as a gift. Tell us a bit about your book.


My book is The Family Took Shape, about a girl named Mira, growing up outside Toronto in a South Indian, single-parent family, with her autistic brother. Whether she knows it or not, nearly every action she takes in her life is somehow influenced by the experience of growing up with him. It’s called The Family Took Shape because I wanted the novel to follow the growth of the family, and the way the members of the family shape each other.


What will you be wearing to the gala?


I’ve taken a vow not to buy anything new this year! But I found a cobalt blue dress at a thrift store called Secondhand Rose here in Halifax for twenty dollars. Hopefully nobody will be able to guess that it only cost twenty dollars.


What Canadian writer, living or dead, would you most like to sit next to at dinner? What might you ask him or her?


Yann Martel. I sat in my college dorm room and cried for a half hour after I finished Life of Pi. I was afraid to read it again, nine years later, for fear it would have lost its power, but, man, it held up. I cried the second time I read it, too. I may even have cried during the movie. Sitting next to Mr. Martel I would be very awkward and would practice, in my head, before trying to tell him how much his book inspired me.

Shashi Bhat is a fiction writer, originally from Richmond Hill, Ontario. Her first novel, The Family Took Shape, was released this April from Cormorant Books. Her short fiction has appeared in several journals, including PRISM international, The Missouri Review, Event Magazine, The Threepenny Review, The New Quarterly and others, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. One of her stories appeared in The Journey Prize Stories in 2012. In 2010, Shashi was also one of three finalists for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. She teaches fiction writing at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

For more information about The Family Took Shape please visit the Cormorant Books website.

Buy this book at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Related item from our archives

JF Robitaille: Minor Dedications


Open Book App Ad