February 25, 2020
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Chitra Bannerji Divakaruni

With that rare combination of winning literary awards and topping US bestseller lists, she’s on a book tour of India for her latest novel, Queen of Dreams

Chitra Bannerji Divakaruni
Chitra Bannerji Divakaruni
What's the secret to the US bestseller list?
Write good books across cultural boundaries.

You're a Marquez of the marketplace?
I admire Marquez but I'm more inspired by Indian folk tales. I try to weave them into my stories.

Do you write aiming at the bestseller list?v
I don't target to be a bestseller. I write the best story I can about subjects I'm passionate about.

Would you be a writer if you hadn't gone abroad?
I probably would have, but very differently. My writing now draws on the immigrant experience.

Aren't you using the immigrant experience to make your writing more exotic?
Certainly an immigrant experience is a very rich one but it's also very challenging because you are writing about a minority group.

You're stuck in a India that no longer exists?
I'm aware that Indian culture is very complex and changing all the time; but the India I write about is the one I grew up in—the '70s and '80s.

What about the contemporary India?
For that I have to come and live here. Maybe after my children go to college....

Considering how little money authors here make, aren't you lucky to be an nri writer?
I think it's the same everywhere—popular writers make money but literary writers don't.

How much do you make from your books?
I've been instructed never to discuss money but I live very comfortably.

Literary awards or a bestselling author, what would you like to be?
I'd rather be a literary writer.

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