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Tariq Malik

Photo: Salman Malik 2010

Tariq Malik is a unique voice in Canadian literature that combines an immigrant past with the current realities of Canadian society. A poet and writer of fiction, he has created a sentient place for himself with his first two books. His writing and art focus on the Pacific Northwest and its interaction with historical colonial India in general, and the province of Punjab in particular.
His last book was titled ‘Chanting Denied Shores’ (Bayeux Arts, Calgary 2010), a historical fiction set on the North American West Coast during the pre-war period of 1907–1914. The novel highlighted the events surrounding the voyage of the Komagata Maru to Canada – a watershed incident largely forgotten outside the South Asian community.
‘Rainsongs of Kotli’ (TSAR Books, Toronto 2004) was set in the romantic Himalayan valleys, amidst the breathtaking mountain snowmelts and the monsoon rainstorms. These stories explored issues of loss and survival through nuances of social gesture and the ethos of a historically accurate time, place and mindset. Since its publication, Rainsongs of Kotli has been the focus of book clubs, writers’ associations, study groups, and has been used as course material by various North American universities and colleges. A thesis based on the material of the book has also been completed in Pakistan. Editor Alan Twigg of BC BookWorld described the book as ‘…a memorable, deeply felt and frequently amusing debut, full of lively conversation and sure-handed narratives. Lovely stuff’.
Tariq’s current work, ‘Blood Towers’, is a novel set in the imagined kingdom Arabistan, in which it is rumored modern day slaves are building glass pyramids out of the desert sands to fulfill the wet dreams of latter day pharaohs.
UBC Press will shortly be publishing the poetry Tariq delivered as a keynote address to the Royal British Columbia Museum during the centenary of the Komagata Maru affair. In addition, he is compiling a collection of his newer poems gathered under the working title of ‘Nights of Kleptomania’.
The inspiration for most of Tariq’s writing comes from his early years spent in the western Punjab region, and later, from the rainforests surrounding Vancouver where he now spends his free time ‘hiking and ‘moving to the sound of water’, and observing the etchings of time and seasons on the natural environment‘.
Tariq lives in Vancouver with his wife, and can be found ‘hunched over his easel, camera or laptop when not hiking or at work‘.
Tariq Malik’s writing is heavily influenced by his re-readings of the many splendored works of the naturalist / paleo-anthropologist / story-teller par excellence, Loren Eiseley; Lyall Watson’s ground-breaking novel ‘Gifts of Unknown Things’; the spiritual cogitations of Annie Dillard in ‘For the Time Being’; the dazzling early short fiction by Updike; EL Doctorow’s stellar ‘Ragtime’, and Michael Ondaatje’s jazz bio classic ‘Coming Through Slaughter’.

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c/o Writers' Union of Canada


Rainsongs Of Kotli. TSAR Publications, 2004
Chanting Denied Shores, Komagata Maru' Narratives. Bayeux Arts, Calgary, Nov, 2010
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