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Looking for some fresh new reads for the vacations? Here are some women writers and their award winning contemporary Indian books in English.
These women writers are carving their way into Indian fiction in English. Readers looking for quality literary fiction in India should check out their work. Quality writing – be it poetry, fiction or non-fiction.
Anjum Hasan is from Shillong, living in Bangalore.
Her prose has been featured in GRANTA’s India Issue. She is the author of the novels The Cosmopolitans (Hamish Hamilton, 2015) Neti, Neti (India Ink/Roli, 2009) and Lunatic in my Head (Penguin Zubaan, 2007), the short fiction collection Difficult Pleasures (Penguin Viking, 2012), and the book of poems Street on the Hill (Sahitya Akademi, 2006). Each book has been nominated for one award or another like the Man Asian Literary Prize, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature etc.
My take: Her work will resonate with the youth. Especially women who go to metropolitan cities for work/study.
Jahnavi Barua is from Assam, living in Bangalore.
She has written a short story collection– Next Door (Penguin India, 2008) and a novel- Rebirth (Penguin India, 2010) which was shortlisted for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize.
My take: Her style is unique. Her novel Rebirth is a glimpse into an Assamese woman’s psyche who lives in Bangalore. Women who enjoy powerful female voices should read her.
Sharanya Manivannan is from Chennai.
She has written a short story collection- The High Priestess Never Marries (Harper Collins India, 2016). It was shortlisted for the Tata Lit Live award 2016.
My take: She redefines feminism in the Indian context. She challenges the way we look at storytelling- Her stories don’t follow the traditional pattern of having a beginning, middle and end.
Janice Pariat was born in Assam and raised in Shillong.
Boats on Land: A Collection of Short Stories (Random House, India) won the Sahitya Akademi Young Writer Award 2013 and the Crossword Book Award for Fiction. Her novel Seahorse was shortlisted for The Hindu Prize for Literature 2015.
My take: Her stories remind you of oral narration, telling vs. showing as opposed to the cliché advice- show don’t tell.
Janhavi Acharekar is a writer in Mumbai.
She is the author of Wanderers, All (2015), a novel. Window Seat, a short story collection and a travel guide Moon Mumbai and Goa (2009).
My take: Her stories will make you think. They will stay with you long after you are done with it.
Tejaswini Apte-Rahm is a writer from Mumbai.
Her short story collection These Circuses That Sweep Through the Landscape (Aleph, December 2016) has already been receiving great reviews.
My take: I decided to buy her collection after reading her short story ‘Sandalwood’ in the fiction special of BL ink. A brilliant piece. You can read excerpts of her book on her website.
Lavanya Shanbhogue-Arvind is based in Mumbai.
She is the author of the novel Heavens We Chase (Roli Books, 2016) which has already received great reviews.
My take: I decided to buy her collection after reading an excerpt of the book on Scroll. There is raw honesty in her prose.
Rheea Mukherjee is based in Bangalore.
She has authored the short story collection Transit for Beginners (Kitaab Singapore, 2016) which has been noticed for its insightful urban storytelling. She was a Top 25 Finalist in Glimmer Train‘s Very Short Fiction Award.
My take: Her protagonists are real, middle class, Indian, urban, female and much more.
Deepti Kapoor is from Delhi.
She wrote A Bad Character (Knopf, 2014) which was shortlisted for The Hindu Prize 2014 in India and for the 2015 Prix Médicis in France. It is also translated into French.
My take: For unreserved storytelling from a woman’s point of view challenging the status quo.
Sumana Roy writes from Siliguri.
She has been published in GRANTA and many other magazines. She writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction which can be found online. Her first book, How I Became a Tree is due from Aleph this year.
My take: Her book is something literary readers should look forward to. You can read the excerpt on Mint.
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Michelle D’costa is an Indian born(1991) and raised in Bahrain.
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