Born in Bombay, India, Mistry immigrated to Canada in 1975. While attending the University of Toronto he won two Hart House literary prizes and Canadian Fiction Magazine's annual Contributor's Prize for 1985.
Two years later, Penguin Books Canada published his collection of 11 short stories, "Tales from Firozsha Baag."
When his first novel "Such a Long Journey" was published in 1991, it won the Governor General's Award , the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, and the W.H. Smith/Books in Canada First Novel Award. It was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize and for the Trillium Award . It has been translated into German, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Japanese, and has been made into a movie.
In 2002, Mistry cancelled his United States book tour because he and his wife were targeted by security agents at every airport he visited, apparently because of his "Middle Eastern" appearance. Mistry reported that on his first flight of the tour, "we were greeted by a ticket agent who cheerfully told us we had been selected randomly for a special security check. Then it began to happen at every single stop, at every single airport. The random process took on a 100 percent certitude." His publisher issued a statement that said, "As a person of color (Mistry) was stopped repeatedly and rudely at each airport along the way--to the point where the humiliation ... had become unbearable."