• Saturday, December 02, 2023

Frontlist | Indian women authors who impressed the world in their debut

Frontlist | Indian women authors who impressed the world in their debut
on Dec 02, 2020
Frontlist | Indian women authors who impressed the world in their debut
India’s first woman novelist to write in English was Krupabai Satthianadan (1862-1894) — a native of Bombay Presidency. Her novel — which was published posthumously — is considered as the first piece of Indian writing read by Queen Victoria, the Empress of India. Krupa used to write articles that were published in leading periodicals under the byline of ‘An Indian Lady.’ Her novels are written from a women’s point of view on subjects, including caste, ethnicity, gender, and cultural identity in the 1900s. The book was presented to Queen Victoria, and she was so impressed that she asked for more books by the same author. Let us look at four Indian women authors, who impressed the world with their first book: Kiran Desai In 2015, the Economic Times listed Kiran Desai as one of India’s 20 most influential global Indian women. Her first novel — Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard — published in 1998, won the Betty Trask Award. The Society of Authors presented the award to Kiran for “Best New Novels by Citizens of the Commonwealth of Nations,” who are under the age of 35. Her second book, The Inheritance of Loss, won the 2006 Man Booker Prize, and the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award. The book is set in the Indian village of Shahkot, Punjab, and revolves around the life of Sampath Chawla, who tries his best to avoid the responsibilities of adult life. He sits under a guava tree and convinces people that he is a holy man who is clairvoyant. Arundhati Roy Arundhati Roy’s first book — The God of Small Things — won her the Man Booker Prize in 1997. In fact, her debut novel also became the best-selling book by a non-expatriate Indian author. She began writing the book in 1992 and finished it four years later in 1996. The book revolves around the childhood experiences of fraternal twins in Kottayam, Kerala, who witness their lives being destroyed by the “Love Laws” they are supposed to follow. The book tells you how the smallest of things affect people’s lives, and also delves on the casteism prevalent in the country. In November 2019, BBC News listed Roy’s first novel on its list of 100 most influential novels. The God of Small Things — which is available in 42 languages — has sold over eight million copies. Jhumpa Lahiri Jhumpa Lahiri’s debut collection of short stories — Interpreter of Maladies — published in 1999, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her first novel — The Namesake — was adapted into a successful movie of the same name. The daughter of Indian immigrants from West Bengal, Jhumpa’s family moved to the US when she was three. Interpreter of Maladies addresses difficulties in the lives of Indian immigrants based on themes, such as disconnection between first and second-generation immigrants, marital difficulties, grieving over a still-born child, etc. The book sold over 600,000 copies. In fact, it was only the seventh instance when a story collection had won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Chitra Banerjee An Indian-American author, Chitra’s first book was a collection of stories called Arranged Marriage, which won the American Book Award in 1996. Her work focuses largely on the experience of South Asian immigrants in the US. The book also won a PEN Josephine Miles Award and a Bay Area Book Reviewers Award. Many of her works have been adapted into movies and TV series. Presently, Chitra is the McDavid Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Houston, Texas. Madhuri Vijay, Avni Doshi, Shubhangi Swarup, Amrita Mahale, and Megha Majumdar, are some other women writers, who are taking risks and gaining prominence in literary fiction these days.  

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