Flipping the pages of a new book is a joy only fellow book lovers can understand. Here is the list of non-fiction reads by Indian women authors to look forward to in 2019.
My Seditious Heart by Arundhati Roy (Allen Lane)
This 1000-page sure-shot classic and collectible features Arundhati Roy’s complete non-fiction work during a two-decade period, during which Roy devoted herself to writing political essays in a bid to open up space for justice, rights and freedom in an environment that has been growing increasingly hostile. These essays form a “near-unbroken memoir” of her journey as “both a writer and a citizen, of both India and the world, from ‘The End of Imagination’, which begins this book, to ‘Azadi’, with which it ends.” In addition to being political, the essays in My Seditious Heart speak in defence of the collective, the individual and the land, especially when faced with the logic of the financial, social, religious, military and governmental elites.
How to Get Published in India by Meghna Pant (Bloomsbury India)
As a new writer, the process of making your dream into a reality feels incredibly daunting given the lack of information out there. This inspired award-winning, bestselling author Meghna Pant to write a book filled with the advice she wishes someone had given her when she was starting out. How to Get Published in India busts myths and answers questions like which publisher would be best for your work, where to find inspiration, how to successfully promote your book, and more. Including never-before collected essays from experts, including Jeffrey Archer, Shobhaa De, Twinkle Khanna, Ashwin Sanghi, Meena Kandasamy, Durjoy Datta, Preeti Shenoy, Rashmi Bansal, Ravi Subramanian and many more, it’s your go-to guide to write, publish and sell your book.
Coming out as a Dalit: A memoir by Yashica Dutt (Aleph)
This memoir is an account of the “exhausting burden of living with the secret of being Dalit and dealing with the crushing guilt of denying her history.” For Yashica Dutt, a journalist living in New York, Dalit student Rohith Vemula’s tragic suicide was the moment to stop living a lie, and admit to friends and colleagues that she was Dalit. In Coming out as a Dalit Dutt recounts how she was terrified of being found out, and how she felt tremendously empowered when she finally stood up for herself and her community. Woven from personal narratives from her own life as well as that of other Dalits, this book forces us to confront the injustices of caste and also serves as a call to action.
Close to the Bone by Lisa Ray (HarperCollins India)
Lisa Ray has had a long and serendipitous career in the entertainment arts, films, television and modelling. This memoir is an unflinching and deeply moving account of Lisa’s nomadic existence: her entry into the Indian entertainment industry; her relationship with her Bengali father and Polish mother; movie sets and the Oscars; her battle with eating disorders; being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma at thirty-seven; her spiritual quest; the lovers and traitors in her life; being a cancer survivor and the mother of twins through surrogacy. It is also about Lisa’s search for love. Candid, brave, and inspiring, Close to the Bone is a brutally honest account of one who’s lived life on her terms.
Good Talk by Mira Jacob (Bloomsbury)
Illuminating the increasingly fractured world we live in, this graphic memoir born from the acclaimed author’s viral Buzzfeed article 37 Difficult Questions from My Mixed-Raced Son—and responds to her six-year-old half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, who asks if Trump hates brown boys like him; deals with her Trump-supporting parents-in-law; and also looks back on what it meant to be a brown-skinned New Yorker on 9/11. Bold, wry, intimate, and by turns hilarious and heart-rending, Good Talk by Mira Jacob is not just about American identity, interracial families, and the realities that divide us, it’s a love letter to the art of conversation—and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions.
Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure by Monisha Rajesh (Bloomsbury Publishing)
In her witty and irreverent look at the world, British journalist, Monisha Rajesh offers a wonderfully vivid account of life, history and culture in a book that will make you reflect on what it means to be a global citizen. Packing up her rucksack – and her fiancé, Jem – Monisha embarked on an unforgettable adventure that took her from London’s St Pancras station to the vast expanses of Russia and Mongolia, North Korea, Canada, Kazakhstan, and beyond. Captured with wit and warmth, her journey is one of constant movement and mayhem, as the pair strike up friendships and swap stories with other travellers, all the while taking in some of the earth’s most breathtaking views.
The Begum: A Portrait of Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan by Deepa Agarwal and Tahmina Aziz Ayub. (Penguin Viking)
Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan was the wife of Pakistan’s first prime minister. She was born Irene Margaret Pant in Kumaon in the early twentieth century into a family that had converted to Christianity, and Irene grew up in the shadow of the Brahmin community’s outrage. Intelligent, outgoing and independent, she was teaching economics in a Delhi college when she met the dashing Nawazada Liaquat Ali Khan, a rising politician in the Muslim League. Three religions – Hinduism, Christianity and Islam – had an immense impact on Ra’ana’s life. She participated actively in the freedom struggle and the Pakistan movement. Her contribution to women’s empowerment in Pakistan is felt to this day. It is this spirit that The Begum by Deepa Agarwal and Tahmina Aziz Ayub captures.
Other Exciting Titles:
I, Anupam by Nabaneeta Dev Sen
Reel India: Cinema and the Mofussil by Namrata Joshi
The Three Khans by Kaveree Bamzai
In Search of Heer by Manjul Bajaj
The Runaway Bridegroom/The Smitten Husband/His Drunken Wife by Sundari Venkataram
Tawaifnama by Saba Dewan
Tell it on the Mountain by Nirupama Rao
Superior: The Fatal Return of Race Science by Angela Saini
Which of Us Are Aryans? by Romila Thapar
The Kitchens of the Prime Ministers of India by Purabi Sridhar and Sanghita Singh
Ultimate Food Rules by Rujuta Diwekar
Heat by Poomani
Unguarded by Mithali Raj
The Lies We Tell by Himanjali Sankar
This list has been curated by Archana Pai Kulkarni. The views expressed are the author’s own. Archana is a Journalist, Editor, Creative Writer and Blogger.