By MALIK MERCHANT
Publisher-Editor, Simerg, Barakah and Simergphotos
Talented Ismaili Artists
The Golden and Diamond Jubilees of Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan, revealed and showcased the amazing talent of the artists in the Ismaili community. Hundreds of young children and youth as well as elderly members of the Jamat participated in locally held programs during the Golden Jubilee. Ten years later, the Diamond Jubilee became truly international in scope, and the final celebrations in July 2018 in Lisbon brought together a large gathering of a variety of artists including film makers, singers, dancers as well as fine art and visual artists to perform in front of large crowds and display works of art at an international gallery. Their high quality performances captivated audiences daily throughout the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations.
Some years ago, Simerg produced a highly acclaimed Compendium of Ismaili Artists dedicated to the visual arts. It requires a major and long overdue update! Simerg sincerely hopes that Ismaili visual artists from around the world will go through the compendium and submit their profiles as illustrated in the compendium. Simerg plans to update the compendium and produce a new edition by the autumn of 2022. Please submit your profile and a work of art to Malik Merchant at his email address email@example.com (a common email address for this website, Simerg, as well as its two sister blogs barakah and simergphotos).
The institutional support for the arts has been truly commendable, and we hope that such support will continue.
The Ismaili literary scene had been somewhat dormant for quite some time until the emergence of Moez Vassanji who is one of Canada’s most celebrated writers. He is a prolific writer whose published work include novels, short story collections and non-fiction collections. Moez is a two time Giller Prize winner and has received numerous other awards and recognitions. In February 2005, he was made the Member of the Order of Canada for contribution to arts/writing.
Talented Ismaili Writers
But what about other fine Ismaili authors who have appeared in the writing scene over the past two decades? They have remained virtually unknown to the community at large. Personally, I would have liked to have seen their works to have been sold through the Jamatkhana literature counters around the world, and for the authors to be given an opportunity to do readings in front of audiences, at least at their local Jamatkhana setting. We hope that when the pandemic is over this suggestion will be taken up by our institutions and that Ismaili authors who feel they have written a book that is worthy of reading because of its overall publication quality and literary merit will be able to present themselves to the Jamat, sell their books and sign them for Jamati members who wish to purchase their works. Many authors market and sell their books via on-line sellers such as Amazon, but institutional support and encouragement is vital for their exposure to a world wide Jamat.
Simerg invites Ismaili writers to come forward and submit a synopsis of their book for publication on this website. In addition, we want each writer to respond to the following questions in no more than 50 words per question:
(1) What is behind the naming of the title of the book?
(2) Why would you want me or my family members to read the book, and what will we all learn from it?
(3) What inspired you to write the book?
(4) How can I purchase the book and what are its available formats (ebook, kindle, hardback, paperback?)
Response to the following questions are optional:
(5) How did you find a publisher for the book?
(6) Did you hire an editor, an illustrator or did you do all the work by yourself?
(7) Which was your first book and how many have you written?
(8) How long did it take you to write the book – from start to finish and to begin marketing it?
(9) Tell us something more about your book (and its primary character).
Categories for inclusion in our listing: Novels, short stories, inspirational books, biographies, poetry, jigsaw puzzles as well as all non-fiction on diverse subjects (except religious and literary works published by the Institute of Ismaili Studies).
Languages: We will list books published in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Kiswahili, but the synopsis must be submitted in English. Books in other languages will be considered for listing at a later date.
Your response: Authors should submit their responses to the 9 questions accompanied by the book’s synopsis in English (preferably in no more than 100 words maximum) and an image of the cover page to the attention of Malik Merchant at firstname.lastname@example.org. If your book has been reviewed or is available for on-line purchase, you may provide link(s) to the book reviews and where the book is available for purchase. If you have a website dedicated to your literary work(s), please provide the address of your website.
Simerg looks forward to a fantastic response from Ismaili artists and writers on these two projects dedicated to them.
Date posted: December 3, 2020.
Last updated: October 27, 2022.
Before departing this website please take a moment to review Simerg’s Table of Contents for links to hundreds of thought provoking pieces on a vast array of subjects including faith and culture, history and philosophy, and arts and letters to name a few.
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Malik Merchant is the founding publisher/editor of this website, Simerg (2009) as well as two other blogs Simergphotos (2012) and Barakah (2017). Formerly an IT consultant, he now dedicates his time to family projects and his 3 websites. He is the eldest son of Alwaez Jehangir Merchant (1928-2018) and Alwaeza Maleksultan Merchant (1931-2021) who both served Ismaili Jamati institutions for several decades in Mozambique, Tanzania, Pakistan, the UK and Canada in both professional and honorary capacities as teachers and missionaries. Malik’s daughter, Dr. Nurin Merchant, assists him as an honorary editor of the three websites. She received her veterinary medicine degree with distinction from the Ontario Veterinary College (2019, University of Guelph) and now works as a veterinarian.