Host, curators

About the host: Barrett and Welsh is a minority-led, creativity-powered, change-making ad agency that puts ideas first to make ideas last. A certified B Corporation, it has specialty practices in inclusion communications (mainly serving visible minorities and persons with disabilities) and sustainable urban development (mostly transit and economic development).

About the series co-curators:

Mayank Bhatt and Gavin Barrett founded the Tartan Turban Secret Readings in 2017.

Portrait of Mayank Bhatt by Richard Picton.
Series co-curator Mayank Bhatt. Photo by Richard Picton.

Mayank Bhatt’s first novel Belief was published in 2016 by MG Vassanji’s Mawenzi House press. The novel explores youth radicalization and alienation, and the impact of terrorism on a family in the context of the failure of the immigration and settlement framework in Canada. Mayank Bhatt immigrated to Toronto in 2008 from Mumbai (Bombay), where he worked as a journalist. His short stories have been published in TOK 5: Writing the New Toronto and Canadian Voices II. In Canada, he has worked as a security guard, as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce and as an organizer for the Festive of South Asian Literature and Art. He lived in Toronto with his family. In the summer of 2022, Mayank passed away after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer, a journey he documented with plangent truthfulness and painful clarity in the pages of The Beacon, an online long-format journal he helped found and shape. His friends and family have set up a Humber writing scholarship to honour him and we hope you will join us to keep his memory alive by helping Mayank’s flame burn bright in another writer deserving of our support. Click here to donate.

Portrait of Gavin Barrett by Richard Picton.
Series co-curator Gavin Barrett. Photo by Richard Picton.

Gavin Barrett‘s first collection of poems Understan (Mawenzi House, 2020), is a CBC Books recommendation. He was born in Bombay and lived in Hong Kong for several years before immigrating to Canada. Gavin’s poetry has been published in Reasons for Belonging (Viking Penguin India), an anthology of 14 Indian poets; the Pen India journal; The FolioThe Independent (Bombay); The Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad; and Poiesis, the Bombay Poetry Circle journal. He was a contributing writer to This|ability, a book on Canada’s art brut and outsider artists. He is the host and the founder and series co-curator (with Mayank Bhatt) of the Tartan Turban Secret Readings, a series promoting BIPoC writers. He is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of idea consultancy and brand advertising agency Barrett and Welsh. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Canadian Authors Association (Toronto) and an associate member of The League of Canadian Poets.