H.S. Bhabra

British-Indian, 1955-2000

Bhabra was born in Mumbai and moved to England with his family two years later. An accomplished student, he earned a full scholarship to Trinity College, after which he worked in financial advertising. He resigned from this lucrative but soul-shrinking career six years later, a decision that allowed him to finally finish the novel he had been working on for years. The success of Gestures allowed him to spend the following years traveling through Egypt and Latin America and to acquire teaching positions at The University of California, Amherst College in Massachusetts, and Humber College in Ontario. In Ontario, Bhabra’s fortunes began to change. He developed a debilitating case of writer’s block, which prevented him from finishing his novel-in-progress, Ôzone. He attempted to find work in television and publishing, but each of his connections faltered in turn. He became increasingly desperate until, on June 1 2000, he killed himself by jumping off Toronto’s Prince Edward Viaduct. The following year, his unfinished novel was posthumously nominated for a Gémeaux Award (Prix Gémaux).