Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni: An Indian American Author and Poet

Jun/16/2022 / by Swarnendu Biswas
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Image credits: Wikipedia


Her Story Needs Telling

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an Indian-American author and poet. She is the author of many famous novels including The Mistress of Spices (1997), Sister of My Heart (1999), Queen of Dreams(2004), The Palace of Illusions(2008), One Amazing Thing (2009).

Chitra Divakaruni’s  latest novel, The Last Queen, was launched at the beginning of 2021, and features an enchanting historical figure as the protagonist.  The novel is based on the life and adventures of the fearless freedom fighter from India, Rani Jindan, who was the was the regent of the Sikh Empire from 1843 to 1846.

According to The Last Queen, which was launched in India in January 2021, immediately became a national bestseller, attracting glowing reviews. The book recently launched in the United States in the summer of 2022.


Poetic Endeavors

Though she is more known for her novels, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni first made an impact in the literary scene with her poetic works. Black Candle, Poems About Women from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh (1991), and Leaving Yuba City, St. Louis (1997) are famous among her book of poetry collections. The latter won the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize and the Gerbode Foundation Award.

Divakaruni’s first collection of short stories titled Arranged Marriage (1995) won the American Book Award, the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award, and the PEN Josephine Miles Award for fiction.


Dwelling Into Academics

Divakaruni completed her graduation from the University of Calcutta, in 1976. Thereafter she went toWright State University in the US, where she earned her MA. Following that she received her PhD in English from the University of California-Berkeley in 1985.

While working her higher studies in the US, Divakaruni took on many odd jobs to support herself as a student, including working as a babysitter, a bread slicer in a bakery, a store clerk, laboratory assistant, and dining hall attendant.

Besides being a high-profile literary figure, Divakaruni also happens to be the Betty and Gene McDavid Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Houston. When asked what is the profession of Chitra Divakaruni, many would refer to her both as an eminent author, and an academician. Divakaruni also has experience teaching at Foothill College in Los Altos, California, and at Diablo Valley College.


Literary Success

Divakaruni’s book The Mistress of Spices was adapted into a film and her other novel, Sister of My Heart was adapted into a television series. The Mistress of Spices was also short-listed for the Orange Prize, one of the most esteemed literary awards in the UK.

Chitra Divakaruni has written over 25 books in her more than three-decade long literary journey in writing. Many of her literary works tackle the sensitive exploration of the South Asian immigrant experience.

The works of Chitra Divakaruni  are mostly set in India and the United States. Her novels cover multiple genres such as  realistic fiction, magical realism, historical fiction among others. She also has written books for children and young adults.

Over the years, her writings have been published in over 50 publications, and her fiction has been translated into 29 languages.




To whom is Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni married to?

Her husband’s name is Murthy. She lives in Houston with her husband and their two sons, Anand and Abhay.

Where is Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni born?

Chitra Divakaruni was born in the city of Kolkata, the capital of the West Bengal state of India, on 29th July 1956. Chitra Divakaruni is 65 years old.

What is Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s net worth?

Though there is no authentic information in public domain about her net worth, according to, her net worth in 2021 was within the range of 1-5 million USD.

When did she start her career?

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni began her literary career in 1987.



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