Mahtab Narsimhan

Mahtab Narsimhan

Vancouver, BC

Silver Birch Fiction Award (Winner, 2009)

Finalist for the 2013 SYRCA Snow Willow Award (Short-listed, 2013)

Finalist for the 2013 Red Maple Fiction Award (Short-listed, 2013)

Finalist for the 2012 CLA Book of the Year for Children Award (Short-listed, 2013)

Shortlisted for the 2013 Manitoba Young Readers Choice Award (Short-listed, 2013)

A Resource Links Year’s Best Book (Commended, 2011)

A Quill & Quire Book of the Year for 2011 (Books for Young People) (Commended, 2011)


Junior fiction (Ages 8-12), Intermediate Fiction (Ages 10-14)


Mahtab was born in Mumbai and immigrated to Canada in 1997. Her debut novel in the Tara Trilogy, The Third Eye (Dundurn, 2007), won the Silver Birch Fiction Award in 2009.

The Tiffin (DCB, 2011), is a gritty, middle-grade novel based in the Bombay of her childhood. It has received critical acclaim, was shortlisted for many awards, and named one of the five best books for Young People in 2011 by the Quill & Quire. It has also been published in the UK and will shortly be out in Japan, China and Taiwan.

Her most recent novel, My Best Friend…Not (October 2014), will be published by Pearson Canada. It is part of a book series for the Mental Health and Wellness Program at the TDSB.

Mahtab lives in Toronto with her husband, son, and golden retriever. She continues to write, inspired by life, love and the desire to make sense of the world through stories.  

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On Writing and Overview of my Books

My presentations are interactive which make for a more enriching experience for my audience and for me. Each presentation is about forty-five to fifty minutes long with ten to fifteen minutes for Q&A.

Brief Overview:

I start out with a bit of background about myself and the types of books I enjoyed reading as a child. I go on to talk about the event in my life that made me start writing.

I talk about where I get ideas for my books and substantiate this by showing pictures of Gods, Goddesses and other images from Indian Mythology and Culture. This is an especially fascinating part for students and teachers alike as they can visualize some of the descriptions in the book.

I explain the research and planning that goes into a creating a novel, with each one being very different from the previous one. I walk the students through the process of writing, from rough draft to publication. I share rough drafts and edits from some of my novels.

My talk is peppered with personal anecdotes and challenges that a writer faces when s/he sits down to write, and the tricks and tips I use to make sure I write every day. I also show a couple of book trailers which includes footage I took of the Dabbawallas in Mumbai for The Tiffin.

I always leave adequate time for Q&A. If time permits, I might read a brief excerpt from one of my books.

Special Equipment: A mike, table, projector screen and power socket with multiple plug points.

Book Sales: If requested, I will carry books for students to purchase and have autographed.

Grades I will present to: Grades 4 to 8

Is this flexible? : Yes. Though my current books are ideally enjoyed by Grades 4-8, I have presented to Grade 3 students. I am also happy to speak to grades 9-12.

Maximum number of students per session: Under a 100.

Is this flexible? Yes, I will consider a larger group as long as the Grade levels are not too far apart. Please contact me to discuss.

Presentation type: Reading

Recommended levels: Junior (4-6), Intermediate (7-8)

Fees: $250 per hour plus HST and Travel expenses

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Myth and Magic

Create a fantasy world with words and colour it with your imagination!  Award – winning author Mahtab Narsimhan, will take you through the process of writing with useful tips and tricks to make your story shine.  Come prepared with lots of ideas and oodles of enthusiasm!

This workshop is most effective with smaller groups and a maximum of 16 participants. 

Presentation type: Workshop

Recommended levels: Junior (4-6)

Fees: $250 per hour plus HST and Travel expenses

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On Writing

My workshops are tailored to the age group I am presenting to, and focus on the art and craft of writing, leaving enough time for the students to write a sample piece which they are able to share with the group and get feedback from me.

I touch upon:

Show, don’t tell.


Points of View


Plotting and Pacing

Importance of story/chapter beginnings and cliffhangers.

I am most fascinated and passionate about the Fantasy genre and have great fun introducing students to aspects of this popular genre in my workshops.

Special Equipment: A flip chart and markers. The students should be seated comfortably and bring a notebook and pen for the writing exercise part of the workshop.

Maximum participants for workshop: The ideal size of group for a one hour workshop is a maximum of fifteen students. This will allow enough time for each student to present his or her writing sample in front of the class and receive helpful feedback

Presentation type: Workshop

Recommended levels: Junior (4-6), Intermediate (7-8)

Fees: $250 per hour plus HST and Travel expenses

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Immigration and Fitting into Canada

Mahtab immigrated to Canada in 1997 and her struggles are documented in an Anthology published by Penguin Canada, titled Piece by Piece, Stories About Fitting into Canada. She would love to share her experiences with students who are recent immigrants hoping to inspire and motivate them to reach for the stars, just as she did.

Presentation type: Other

Recommended levels: Junior (4-6), Intermediate (7-8)

Fees: $250 per hour plus HST and Travel expenses