M. G. Vassanji Age, Wife, Family, Biography & More

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Age: 73 Years
Hometown: Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Profession: Novelist

M. G. Vassanji

Profession(s)• Novelist
• Editor
Physical Stats & More
Height (approx.)in centimeters- 165 cm
in meters- 1.65 m
in feet & inches- 5’ 5”
Weight (approx.)in kilograms- 65 kg
in pounds- 145 lbs
Eye ColourDark Brown
Hair ColourNatural Black
First Novel‘The Gunny Sack' (1989)
M. G. Vassanji's novel 'The Gunny Sack' (1989)
Awards, Honours, Achievements 1990- The Commonwealth First Book Prize in Africa
1994- The Giller Prize for Best Work of Fiction in Canada for ‘The Book of Secrets’
1994- The Harbourfront Festival Prize
2003- The Giller Prize for Best Work of Fiction in Canada for ‘The In-Between World of Vikram Lall’
2006- ‘When She Was Queen’ (2005) was nominated for The City of Toronto Book Award
2007- 'The Assassin’s Song’ (2007) was nominated for The Governor General’s Award for English-Language Fiction
2009- The Governor General’s Award for Best Work of Non-Fiction for ‘A Place Within: Rediscovering India’ (2008)
2015- The Council Molson Prize for the Arts (Career Achievement) in Canada
Personal Life
Date of Birth30 May 1950 (Tuesday)
Age (as of 2023) 73 Years
BirthplaceNairobi, Kenya, East Africa
Zodiac signGemini
HometownDar es Salaam, Tanganyika (now Tanzania), East Africa
College/University• Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States
• University of Pennsylvania, United States
Educational Qualification(s)• Bachelors of Science (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) [1]Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries
• PhD in Nuclear Physics (University of Pennsylvania) [2]Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries
Relationships & More
Marital StatusMarried
Marriage Date14 July 1979
Wife/SpouseNurjehan Aziz (Laboratory researcher)
ChildrenSon(s)- Kabir and Anil
ParentsFather- Gulamhussein Vassanji (deceased)
Mother- Daulatkhanu Nanji (deceased) (Owner of a clothing store)
BeverageIndian masala tea
Writer(s)Fyodor Dostoevsky and Conrad Aiken

M. G. Vassanji

Some Lesser Known Facts About Moyez G. Vassanji

  • Moyez G. Vassanji is a Canadian novelist and editor who is known for his novels like ‘The Gunny Sack’ (1989), ‘The Book of Secrets’ (1994), ‘The In-Between World of Vikram Lall’ (2003), and ‘The Assassin’s Song’ (2007).
  • M. G. Vassanji’s novels and memoirs have been translated into many languages like Arabic, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Spanish, and Turkish.
  • In 1970, Vassanji moved to The United States from East Africa, where he completed his formal education.
  • In 1980, he moved to Canada, where he worked as a research associate at the University of Toronto till 1989.
  • Vassanji was inclined towards medieval Indian history and Indian literature because he grew up listening to anecdotes from his grandparents who were from the western region of Gujarat and later moved to different parts of the world from India to Zanzibar to Mombasa, then from Mombasa to Dar es Salaam (where Vassanji spent his childhood). [3]ProQuest
  • His father, Gulamhussein Vassanji passed away when M. G. Vassanji was at the tender age of five. His mother owned a clothing store, which helped her in raising her five children.
  • In 1981, M. G. Vassanji and his wife, Nurjehan Aziz, founded the literary magazine ‘The Toronto South Asian Review,’ which was later renamed as ‘The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad.’ [4]Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries

    M. G. Vassanji with his wife, Nurjehan Aziz

    M. G. Vassanji with his wife, Nurjehan Aziz

  • M. G. Vassanji started writing his first novel, ‘The Gunny Sack,’ in 1980, and it took him 9 years to publish the book in 1989. In this book, Vassanji laid emphasis on the problematic union of East Africa and South Asia over a period of time. [5]Athabasca University
  • In 1991, M. G. Vassanji started writing short stories, and his first short story was ‘Uhuru Street,’ which revolved around the linked stories of the Asian community of Dar es Salaam, the place where Vassanji spent his childhood. In 2005, he published his second collection of short stories titled ‘When She Was Queen,’ which is based on the ethical dilemma of a religious leader in Toronto.
    M. G. Vassanji's first short stories collection titled 'Uhuru Street' (1991)

    M. G. Vassanji’s first short stories collection titled ‘Uhuru Street’ (1991)

    M. G. Vassanji's second collection of short stories titled 'When She Was Queen' (2005)

    M. G. Vassanji’s second collection of short stories titled ‘When She Was Queen’ (2005)

  • In 2003, he released another novel titled ‘The In-Between World of Vikram Lall,’ which was based on World War 2, colonial and post-colonial conditions of Kenya.
  • In 2005, Vassanji was rewarded with the Member of the Order of Canada (OBE) honour for his contribution to arts/writing. [6]Toronto Metropolitan University Libraries
  • In 1994, he published his second novel titled ‘The Book of Secrets.’ In 1999, M. G. Vassanji published his novel ‘Amriika,’ which was based on the experiences of Indian immigrants who moved to the United States during the mid-90s. In 2007, he published a novel titled ‘The Assassin’s Song,’ which was solely based on the after-effects of the brutal violence that struck Gujarat in 2002.
    M. G. Vassanji's second novel titled 'The Book of Secrets' (1994)

    M. G. Vassanji’s second novel titled ‘The Book of Secrets’ (1994)

    M. G. Vassanji's award-winning novel titled 'The Assassin's Song'

    M. G. Vassanji’s award-winning novel titled ‘The Assassin’s Song’

  • In 2008, M. G. Vassanji published his first memoir titled ‘A Place Within: Rediscovering India,’ which is based on his travel back to his homeland Gujarat and searching for the shrines and the places of his ancestors. In the same year, he wrote ‘Extraordinary Canadians: Mordecai Richler,’ the biography of Canadian writer Mordecai Richler. [7]Penguin Random House
    M. G. Vassanji's first memoir titled 'A Place Within- Rediscovering India' (2008)

    M. G. Vassanji’s first memoir titled ‘A Place Within- Rediscovering India’ (2008)

    Canadian writer Mordecai Richler's autobiography titled 'Extraordinary Canadians- Mordecai Richler,' written by M. G. Vassanji

    Canadian writer Mordecai Richler’s autobiography titled ‘Extraordinary Canadians- Mordecai Richler,’ written by M. G. Vassanji

  • He considers himself African, Asian, and Canadian, as he was born in Africa, his ancestors belonged to Asia, and he is settled in Canada respectively. [8]Penguin Random House India
  • In 2009, Vassanji released ‘A Delhi Obsession: A Novel,’ which focused on contemporary India as well as some of the Indian religious views.

    M. G. Vassanji's novel titled 'A Delhi Obsession' (2009)

    M. G. Vassanji’s novel titled ‘A Delhi Obsession’ (2009)

  • In 2012, M. G. Vassanji published ‘The Magic of Saida,’ which was based on a Canadian doctor who is haunted by memories of his early childhood.

    M. G. Vassanji's novel 'The Magic of Saida' (2012)

    M. G. Vassanji’s novel ‘The Magic of Saida’ (2012)

  • In 2014, he published his second memoir titled ‘And Home Was Kariakoo: A Memoir of East Africa. Toronto,’ which was entirely based on the experiences of Indian immigrants living in East Africa.
  • In 2021, M. G. Vassanji published a short story collection titled ‘What You Are: Short Stories,’ which was a collection of 10 short stories that included tales from the streets of Tanzania and towns of Canada.

    M. G. Vassanji's short stories collection titled 'What You Are- Short Stories' (2021)

    M. G. Vassanji’s short stories collection titled ‘What You Are- Short Stories’ (2021)

  • When Vassanji was pursuing his PhD in Nuclear Physics at the University of Pennsylvania, he used to translate Bhakti (religious) poetry called ‘ginans’ from Gujarati into English. He also undertook two courses to learn Sanskrit and understand the foundation of Indian philosophy. [9]Penguin Random House India [10]The Open Magazine
  • Vassanji was fascinated a lot by the ruler Alauddin Khilji, and he used to compare the ruler’s life with the Shakespearean dramas. [11]Penguin Random House India [12]The Open Magazine
  • According to Vassanji, many books have played an impactful role in his life including ‘The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky,’ ‘Living to Tell the Tale by Gabriel García Márquez,’ ‘Weep Not, Child by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’,’ and ‘Toward Freedom: The Autobiography of Jawaharlal Nehru.’ [13]CBC