Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and her Last Queen

In her latest work, Chitra Divakaruni has lifted Maharani Jindan, an Indian freedom fighter from relative obscurity to international fame.

Divakaruni – an author, poet and a professor of writing at the University of Houston – has won many accolades, including an American Book Award. Among Divakaruni’s book-to-screen adaptations have been “Sister of My Heart” and the 2005 movie, “The Mistress Of Spices,” co-scripted by director Gurinder Chadha and starring Aishwarya Rai and Dylan McDermott.

Chitra Divakaruni’s latest novel, “The Last Queen,” published by William Morrow/HarperCollins, will be out in the US, May 10. There have been talks of a movie script as the book went on to win some early awards: the Best Fiction 2022 Award from the Times of India AUTHER Awards, and Best Book 2022 Award from the International Association of Working Women. It is long-listed for the Dublin Literary Award and the Publishing Next Fiction Award.

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Reading Samira Ahmed, you would expect her to be someone who’s always been a published writer, as if she’d tumbled out of the womb creating historic and phenomenal characters and storylines. But it turns out, she published her first book at 46, after a long and rewarding career involving teaching high school English, working for non-profits and even fighting for equitable funding in NY’s public schools as a lobbyist. “Love, Hate, & Other Filters” was an instant bestseller.

Ahmed is the first South Asian Muslim woman to voice Kamala Khan, Marvel’s first Muslim superheroine. Like Ms. Marvel, her signature characters have always been revolutionary girls. Her “revolutionary girls,” as she calls them, represent an archetype of strength, insight and compassion, are usually Muslim and often Indian American.

Revolutionary girls don’t necessarily take up arms…sometimes the revolutionary girl is just taking control when others are falling down. And sometimes it means standing up for yourself when others want to muffle you.

Samira Ahmed

Ahmed ‘s latest young adult novel, “Hollow Fires” (on sale May 10, 2022; ages 12+), taps into the current and timely conversation about racism and its dangers and the terrible costs of misinformation. A topic so delicate and polarizing blooms fully through an innovative storyline and lyrical prose.

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Sari, not Sari – Sonya Singh

Singh is storyteller from Toronto, Canada who started out as an entertainment reporter before becoming a PR expert, then writer. 

Her debut novel, “Sari, Not Sari,” slated for release this month, has already generated buzz and seems like material for a big screen rom-com. The book follows the adventures of a woman trying to connect with her South Asian roots, and introduces us to a feast of food, family traditions and fun. It is also an ode to Singh’s own dating experiences.

Singh began her career as a broadcast television reporter for CBS, the first South Asian hired on air for E! News. Raised in a small town, in Ontario, Canada, by immigrant factory worker parents, she grew up surrounded by a Caucasian culture. The author talks about how she retained her culture there.

“There actually weren’t a lot of South Asian or Indian families, so my South Asian roots are really embedded in whatever we learned at home,” Singh said. “My parents were really busy working and so we were kind of left to our own in terms of being able to teach each other what the culture was about.” Singh and her two younger sisters learned to straddle both cultures and accept what was going on around them at a time being different wasn’t cool.

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Khabaar: A Love Letter to Her People

A conversation with Madhushree Ghosh, author of ‘Khabaar,” a book about food, and the memories and connections it evokes