Shyam Selvadurai was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and came to Canada with his family at the age of nineteen. He has studied creative writing and theatre and has a B.F.A. from York University. His first novel, Funny Boy, became a national bestseller, won the W.H. Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award as well as the Lamda Literary Award, and was named a Notable Book by the American Library Association. Selvadurai lives in Toronto.
Recently, South Asian writers such as Salman Rushdie, Michael Ondaatje, Rohinton Mistry, Bharati Mukherjee, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Monica Ali have been dominating the world’s literary scene, winning prestigious prizes, and appearing on numerous bestseller lists, and being hailed by critics and readers worldwide. Yet never before has their work appeared together in an anthology. Now, for the first time, the internationally heralded writer Shyam Selvadurai has collected the very best of South Asian short fiction in Story-Wallah!, a remarkable anthology showcasing 26 beautifully written stories whose memorable characters will remain with the reader long after they have closed the pages of this book.
A "wallah" is a hawker or merchant. In Story-Wallah! some of the world’s best fiction writers hawk their wares from different parts of the South Asian diaspora - Canada, the United States, Britain, Guyana, Trinidad, Malaysia, Tanzania, Fiji - creating a virtual map of the world with their tales. There is an eclectic quality to the way the stories jostle up against each other: life on a sugar plantation in Trinidad next to the story of a childhood in rural 1930’s Australia. A Christmas in Fiji next to the attempts by an Indian family in South Africa to arrange a marriage for their rebellious daughter. A honeymoon in lush Sri Lanka next to the trials of a Bangladeshi refugee in England. The result is a marvelous cacophony, like early morning at a South Asian bazaar. Story-Wallah! is essential reading for anyone with an interest in South Asian writers and the dynamic, important tales they have to tell.
The breadth of Story-Wallah! ensures that any reader will be both charmed and exasperated in nearly equal measures.
...both as Canadians and as members of the English-speaking-and-reading world, we owe Shyam Selvadurai a debt of gratitude: he has given us more than enough cause to celebrate.