Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a Bengali Indian writer who came to the US a young lady for grad studies. She didn’t grow up wanting to become a writer, I was surprised to learn. She is now a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Houston, a wife, and mother of two sons. She is the FIRST desi writer I ever learned about!
I believe read her first collection of short stories, Arranged Marriage, in 1998. My mom has read a few of her books also. I have Arranged Marriage (signed by the author- yaaay!!!), Sister of My Heart (a novel) and The Unknown Errors of Our Lives (an even better set of stories than her first). One of Chitra’s novels (The Mistress of Spices) was made into a movie starring Ashwariya Rai (a huge Bollywood star) and Dylan McDermott (sigh…).
I met Chitra at the book signing after her lecture at The Asia Society recently. She was very humble, funny, and approachable. CBD was an animated/engaging speaker; she read a section from her newest novel- The Palace of Illusions. The (desi intellectual) woman who interviewed her was hilarious, and the audience LOVED it! The coolest part- I spoke a LITTLE Bengali with her!