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Janika Oza

Janika Oza is an author of fiction and essays and currently lives in Toronto.


A History of Burning

McClelland & Stewart, 2023.
PS8629.Z33 H57 2023

Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)

India, 1898. Pirbhai is the thirteen-year-old breadwinner for his family when he steps into a dhow on the promise of work, only to be taken across the ocean to labour on the East African Railway for the British. With no money or voice but a strong will to survive, he makes an impossible choice that will haunt him for the rest of his days and reverberate across generations.

Pirbhai’s children go on to thrive in Uganda during the waning days of British colonial rule. As the country moves towards independence and military dictatorship, Pirbhai’s granddaughters—sisters Latika, Mayuri, and Kiya—come of age in a divided nation, each forging her own path for the future. Latika is an aspiring journalist with a fierce determination to fight for what she believes in. Mayuri’s ambitions will take her farther away from her family than she ever imagined. And fearless Kiya will have to bear the weight of their secrets.

Forced to flee Uganda during Idi Amin’s brutal expulsion of South Asians in 1972, the family must start their lives over again in Toronto. Then one day news arrives that makes each generation question how far they are willing to go, and who they are willing to defy, to secure a place of their own in the world. 

Awards and Honours

2023 Governor General’s Literary Awards–Fiction, English (Finalist)
2024 Asian/Pacific American Award for Fiction (Winner)
2024 Carol Shields Prize for Fiction (Finalist)
2024 Amazon Canada First Novel Award (Finalist)


Janika Oza personal website

Publisher Penguin Random House Canada, publisher of the McClelland & Stewart imprint