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Mayank and Mahrukh Bhatt Scholarship

Mayank Bhatt (1962-2022) was a journalist and writer who immigrated to Toronto from Bombay (Mumbai) in 2008. He completed the Humber School for Writers creative writing certificate under the mentorship of M.G. Vassanji in 2010. He enjoyed and placed high value on the program and credited it with his ability to complete his debut novel Belief, which was published in 2016 by Mawenzi House. Mayank's survivors and friends believe that Mayank would have been delighted to know a scholarship at Humber for this program in his and his wife's names, will exist for writers who experience financial need. We hope writers will be able to benefit from the mentorship this program offers, as they travel the difficult road to completing the manuscript of a literary work—as Mayank did.

Alongside his literary career and to support his family, Mayank worked in administrative positions in Toronto which suited his Indian background and interests, most recently as Executive Director of the Indo-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and further back as Executive Director of the Canada India Foundation. Members of these organizations have paid homage to Mayank's work with them and his contributions to Toronto's Indo-Canadian community, speaking of his energy, passion, and insight. 

As a writer, Mayank completed the Journalism for Internationally-trained Writers program at Sheridan College soon after his arrival in Toronto, and in 2009 was mentored through Diaspora Dialogues, an organization that pairs emerging—often immigrant—writers with established ones. He published his first fiction, a short story, and became a valued member of Toronto's literary community, attending countless literary events and book launches and showing his support, generosity and insight. Fellow writers remember him with affection, gratitude, and respect. He produced a blog titled Generally About Books ( where he wrote about, reviewed, and showcased writers and their work; he was also one of the organizers of the Toronto Festival of Literature and the Arts (FSALA), dedicated to bringing to Canada writers from the "other" world, specifically South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean. 

In 2017 and with fellow writer and Indo-Canadian Gavin Barrett, Mayank launched the Tartan Turban Secret Readings, which celebrate and support Canadian writers, focussing on those who self-identify as Indigenous, Black or as people of colour. The Readings have developed into a vibrant and well-attended event in Toronto's writing community. Also in 2017, Mayank, with friends in India, co-founded The Beacon, a web-based journal, and in 2018 he became its Executive Editor. Mayank brought writers, readers, and ideas from Toronto's multiracial community to the journal, to engage in writings and dialogues with and about India.

Mayank was working on a collection of short stories set in Bombay when cancer caught him in its grip, and it is his friends' hope that the collection will be published posthumously. 

A strong voice for human rights everywhere, Mayank was a keen observer of his homeland. He never regretted leaving, finding in Canada the freedom and opportunities he sought, especially for his son. But, as he wrote, "Leaving India permanently is impossible. An Indian can never leave India. While we physically left India, spiritually we never could. Emotionally, we remain in India even today." He also always acknowledged the racism in Canada.

Mayank is survived by his wife, Mahrukh, his son Che, his mother Durga Bhatt, his sister and brother-in-law Sonal and Abhinav Shukla, an extended family, and many friends.

Please join us in honouring Mayank with a donation to the Mayank and Mahrukh Bhatt Scholarship. The scholarship will support a student enrolled in the Humber School for Writers: Graduate Certificate in Creative Writing who is of high merit and in financial need.