Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is both and award-winning author and poet and her work is very widely known. She has been published in over 50 magazines and her writing has been included in more than 50 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 13 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, and Japanese.
Divakaruni was born in India and lived there until 1976 when she left Calcutta and came to the United States. She continued her education in English with a Master’s from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio and a Ph.D from the University of California in Berkeley. She held many odd jobs such as babysitting, selling merchandise in an Indian boutique, slicing bread in a bakery, and washing instruments in a science lab to earn money for her education. She has briefly lived in Illinois, Ohio, and Texas where she currently resides. Most of her life has been spent in Northern California, which she often writes about.
Currently, she is teaching at the University of Houston in Houston, Texas in the nationally ranked Creative Writing program. She also serves of the board of organizations that help women women in abusive or domestic violence situations. She is also on the board of Pratham, which helps education children, especially those in urban slums, in India.
In addition to several awards, two of her books, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart have been made into movies by Gurinder Chadha (maker of Bride and Prejudice and Bend it Like Bekham) and Paul Berges, and Suhasini Mani Ratnam.
Divakaruni lives in Houston, Texas with her husband Murthy, her two sons Anand and Abhay (whose names she has used in her children’s novels), and Juno the family dog.
We chose Divakaruni as our December Author of the Month as well as the first author featured in this ongoing “Author of the Month” Program because of her successful career and great ability to write. Don’t forget to read our review on The Palace of Illusions, as well as check out some of her other successful novels: Queen of Dreams, The Vine of Desire, Sister of My Heart, The Unknown Errors of Our Lives, The Mistress of Spices, and Arranged Marriage. Her works of poetry include: Leaving Yuba City and Black Candle. Some great choices for young readers are The Mirror of Fire and Dreaming, The Conch Bearer, and Neela: Victory Song. All of her works are very well-written and inspiring.
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