Mahak Jain is an editor, writer and educator living in Toronto, Ontario. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and worked as managing editor for Owlkids and Lobster Press, two Canadian publishers of children’s literature. She has also worked as a freelance editor and as an acquisition editor for Buckrider Books in Hamilton, Ontario. Jain was born in Delhi, India and has lived in Dubai, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Montreal before settling in Toronto. Jain teaches creative writing at Sheridan College.
Fiction (Juvenile, Picture book)
Illustrated by Elly Mackay.
Markham, Ont.: Owlkids Books, 2016.
Publisher’s Synopsis (From its website)
The electricity in Maya’s house has gone out again. She is afraid of the dark — and her fear has been even worse since her father died. Now it feels as if the darkness will never go away.
Maya’s mother distracts her with a legend about the banyan tree, which saved the world from the first monsoon by drinking up the floodwaters, and growing tall and strong. Later that night, unsettled by the noises around her, Maya revisits the story in her imagination. She ventures deep into the banyan tree, where she discovers not darkness but life: snakes move gently, monkeys laugh, and elephants dance. Maya pushes her imagination even further to call up memories of her father, helping to soothe her fear and assuage her grief.
Elly MacKay mixes miniature-paper-theater art with spellbinding shadow puppetry to play with darkness and light, giving Maya’s real, fantasy, and story-within-a-story worlds unique treatment—and making Maya’s world come alive on the page.
Anthology (Short story)
“The Origin of Jaanvi” was first published in Joyland Magazine. It was longlisted for the 2016 awarding of The Journey Prize. It appeared in volume 28 of The Journey Prize: Stories: The Best of Canada’s New Writers (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2016).
Selected Criticism and Interpretation
Jain, Mahak, “Mahak Jain, January 23, 2019,” interview by Kim Davids Mandar, In Appropriate: Interviews with Canadian Authors on the Writing of Difference (Guelph: Gordon Hill Press, 2020), 15-30.