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Home > Author > Chitra Divakaruni
Chitra Divakaruni

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  Chitra Divakaruni

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Award winning bestselling South Asian American author who writes about India, immigration, magic, myth, challenges of immigration and women's issues.

Background Information

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 50 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 20 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew and Japanese.

She was born in India and lived there until 1976, at which point she left Calcutta and came to the United States. She continued her education in the field of English by receiving a Master’s degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Divakaruni currently teaches in the nationally ranked Creative Writing program at the Univ. of Houston. She serves on the Advisory board of Maitri in the San Francisco Bay Area and Daya in Houston. Both these are organizations that help South Asian or South Asian American women who find themselves in abusive or domestic violence situations. She is also on the board of Pratham, an organization that helps educate children (especially those living in urban slums) in India.

Divakaruni has judged several prestigious awards, such as the National Book Award and the PEN Faulkner Award.

Two of her books, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, have been made into movies by filmmakers Gurinder Chadha and Paul Berges (an English film)and Suhasini Mani Ratnam (a Tamil TV serial) respectively.

Divkaruni has been influenced by writers such as Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Cristina Garcia, Sandra Cisneros and Andrea Barrett. She hopes to dissolve boundaries and reduce prejudice through her novels about India and Indian immigrants.

Birth Place
Kolkata,  India

Cultural Jewel Award, Indian Culture Center, Houston, 2009
University of California at Berkeley, International House Alumna of the Year Award, 2008
South Asian Literary Association Distinguished Author Award, 2007
The Conch Bearer nominated for the Bluebonnet Award, 2004
Included in Best Books of 2003, Publishers Weekly, The Conch Bearer
“The Lives of Strangers” included in O’Henry PrizeStories, 2003
Pushcart Prize,2003.
Included in Best Books of 2002, Los Angeles Times, The Vine of Desire
Included in Best Books of 2002, San Francisco Chronicle, The Vine of Desire
“Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter” included in Best American Short Stories, 1999
Included in Best Paperbacks of 1998, Seattle Times, The Mistress of Spices
California Arts Council Award, 1998
Included in Best Books of 1997, Los Angeles Times, The Mistress of Spices
American Book Award, 1996, for Arranged Marriage
PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award, 1996, for Arranged Marriage
Bay Area Book Reviewers Award, Best Fiction, 1996, for Arranged Marriage
C.Y. Lee Creative Writing Award, 1995
Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize, 1994
Pushcart Prize, 1994
2 Pen Syndicated Fiction Awards, 1993 and 1994
Gerbode Foundation Award, California, 1992
Honorable mention, Paterson Poetry Prize, 1992, for Black Candle
Santa Clara Arts Council Award, California 1990, 1994
Editor’s Choice Award, Cream City Review, 1990
Barbara Deming Memorial Award, New York, 1989
The Hackney Literary award, Birmingham-Southern College, Alabama, 1988

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