McClelland & Stewart’s Senior Editor Anita Chong has acquired, in a 5-way auction, Canadian rights to two books of fiction by Journey Prize winner Shashi Bhat. The first, THE MOST PRECIOUS SUBSTANCE ON EARTH, is a darkly comic novel that, beginning in the mid-1990s, follows a young woman’s tumultuous journey from high school student to high school teacher, as she learns uncomfortable truths about how women are conditioned to make themselves silent. The two-book deal was arranged by Stephanie Sinclair.

Shashi Bhat’s fiction has appeared in The Malahat ReviewThe New QuarterlyThe Dalhousie ReviewGrainPRISM International, Best Canadian Stories 2018Journey Prize Stories 24 & 30, and other publications. She was the winner of the 2018 Journey Prize, and a 2018 National Magazine Award finalist for fiction. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, and in 2010, she was a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Award. Her debut novel, The Family Took Shape (Cormorant, 2013), was a finalist for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. Shashi holds an MFA from The Johns Hopkins University and a BA from Cornell University. She is editor-in-chief of EVENT Magazine and teaches creative writing at Douglas College.