Books, Current Events

13 Amazing Indian-American Women Authors You Need to Read

March is Women’s History Month, and the month began with International Women of Color Day on the 1st of March. I have had this list of amazing Indian-American women authors (give or take a few) in my drafts for a long time now and decided it was high time I posted it.

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13 Amazing Indian-American Women Authors You Need to Read

Varsha Bajaj

Varsha Bajaj grew up in Mumbai, India. Adjusting to a new culture after moving to the US for her master’s degree was made easier because of her awareness of the culture through books. She has written various picture books, as well as middle-grade novels (source).

I have had Bajaj’s latest novel Thirst (for 10 years and up) on my TBR since I first saw it on Netgalley last year, and I am finally reading it now. It is as amazing as I thought it would be, and I will be sharing my thoughts on it next week.

Sonali Dev

From a play she wrote for a performance at her neighborhood’s Diwali celebrations at eight years of age, to all the wonderful books she churns out with ease today Sonali Dev is doing it all indeed. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog (source)

I read Sonali Dev’s A Bollywood Affair and The Bollywood Bride ages ago and loved it; more recently, I read The Rajes series, and adored a couple of them more than the others. I currently have The Vibrant Years waiting in my digital library

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Chitra Divakaruni is an award-winning writer, activist and teacher, and the author of many books including Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart, Before We Visit the Goddess, Palace of IllusionsThe Last Queen, and Independence. She writes for adults and children (source)

I have read a couple of her books, maybe more actually, but never reviewed them here. I enjoyed Mistress of Spices for its unique storyline and of course, the fact that it is set in the Bay Area! And Arranged Marriage as well as Sister of My Heart were both heartstring tuggers. I hope to get to more of her books soon…

Supriya Kelkar

Supriya is an award-winning author, illustrator, and screenwriter who grew up in the Midwest, where she learned Hindi as a child by watching three Hindi movies a week. She has written and illustrated many picture books as well as authored middle-grade novels and more (source)

I love Kelkar’s work both as an illustrator (American Desi and My Diwali Light, for example) as well as a writer (Bindu’s Bindis and Brown is Beautiful). And will be reading more of her books for sure in the years to come.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Born in London and raised in Rhode Island, Jhumpa Lahiri currently lives in New York. Her debut collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies, was awarded the Pulitzer and her other novels have earned praise and accolades as well (source)

The last time I read Lahiri’s books was way before I started this blog so I never reviewed them though I did mention her and her books a few times here.

Rajani LaRocca

Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area, where she practices medicine and writes award-winning books for young people, including middle-grade novels, picture books, and more. She finds inspiration in her family, her childhood, the natural world, math, science, and just about everywhere she looks (source)

I have read a few of Rajani LaRocca’s picture books and her I’ll Go and Come Back was nostalgia and heartstring tugger rolled in one, while Red, White, and Whole – was a leaving you with all the feels beautiful middle-grade novel in verse. I am hoping to get to her latest (another novel in verse!) – Mirror to Mirror (on my NetGalley shelf) soon.

Sandhya Menon

Sandhya Menon is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels with lots of kissing, girl power, and swoony boys. Her books have been featured in several cool places, including on The Today Show, Teen Vogue, NPR Book Review, Buzzfeed, and Seventeen. A full-time dog servant and part-time writer, she makes her home in the foggy mountains of Colorado (source)

Sandhya Menon’s books delight! And her Dimple Met Rishi series (teen and YA) effortlessly charm and bring smiles as you read them. I have read a few more of her books (including this anthology with other authors) and enjoyed them to varying degrees and hope to keep reading others she writes too.

Sajni Patel

Sajni Patel is an award-winning author of women’s fiction and young adult books, drawing on her experiences growing up in Texas, an inexplicable knack for romance and comedy, and the recently resurfaced dark side of fantastical things (source).

Her ‘My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding‘ made me feel like part of a wedding, and of course I enjoy being part of a big fat Indian wedding!

Mitali Perkins

Mitali Perkins has written many novels for young readers, including You Bring the Distant Near, Rickshaw Girl, Bamboo People, and Forward Me Back to You. She currently writes and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area (source)

I am yet to review Perkins’ books on my blog. But enjoyed Rickshaw Girl, and her You Bring the Distant Year is on my must read soon list.

Shanti Sekaran

Shanthi Sekaran was born and raised in California, and now lives in Berkeley. Her novel Lucky Boy, was named an IndieNext Great Read, an Amazon Editors’ Pick, and a Best Book of 2017 while her first middle grade novelThe Samosa Rebellion(Harper Collins), came out in 2021 (source)

Lucky Boy made me feel so many feels, and the fact that so much of it was set in the Bay Area added to its appeal (but even without that, this book would have tugged at my mom-heartstrings throughout). I am yet to read her middle-grade novel and glad I have something to look forward to.

Nisha Sharma

Nisha Sharma is the critically acclaimed author of YA and adult contemporary romances including My So-Called Bollywood Life, Radha and Jai’s Recipe for Romance, The Singh Family Trilogy and the If Shakespeare was an Auntie series. Her books have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Entertainment Weekly and more. She lives in Pennsylvania with her Alaskan husband, her cat Lizzie Bennett and her dog Nancey Drew (source) (photo source)

I devoured Nisha’s Radha & Jai’s Recipe for Romance! Check out my detailed review of the book here. And I read and enjoyed My So-Called Bollywood Life a couple of years ago though I never reviewed it.

Indu Sunderasan

Born in India, and growing up on Air Force bases all over the country, Indu Sundaresan’s love of stories came from her father and paternal grandfather, both of who were avid storytellers. Indu moved to the US for graduate school and before she knew it, the storytelling gene took over and she wrote her first novel.

(photo from Goodreads bio of author)

The Twentieth Wife took me to an India of ages ago, of royals and “others,” and so much more. As I mentioned in my review of the book here, it is “a fascinating read that perfectly blends wonderfully researched historical fact with splendidly written fiction.” I did finish reading the three books in the Taj Mahal Trilogy (The Twentieth Wife was the first in that series) and enjoyed them all. I am glad that I still have a couple of her books I am yet to read, and hope she writes more soon.

Thrity Umrigar

(photo from Goodreads bio of author)

Umrigar had been on my TBR for a while and I finally read Honor recently (thanks to the publishers for sending me a copy of the book – it was a lovely surprise!) And the book – well, it needs more space than this for my proper review but it was powerful to say the least. So now, I am honor-bound to read more of her books (pun intended there)!

Related Reads

And Now, the End of This Post

13 thoughts on “13 Amazing Indian-American Women Authors You Need to Read

  1. Sonali Dev is definitely the one that peaked my interest the most! She wrote a play for her neighborhood celebrations at the age of EIGHT? That says a lot!

  2. So thankful that you featured one of the best authors Supriya Kelkar. She is truly a remarkable talent and trailblazer in children’s literature! I’m in awe of her ability to wear so many creative hats – award-winning author, illustrator, and screenwriter.

  3. “Lucky Boy” by Shanti Sekaran has been on my reading list for a while now, and I’m excited to delve into its themes of motherhood and immigration. The novel’s exploration of cultural identity and the complexities of adoption promises to be a thought-provoking and emotional read.

  4. Your enthusiasm only cements my decision to bump it up my reading list. The cultural journey and insights these authors bring to the literary world are invaluable, offering perspectives that are both enriching and enlightening!

  5. I have read quite a few books by some of these authors and each and every single one has been amazing! Thanks for sharing such a comprehensive list.

  6. I have never had a chance to read their books. I have never thought that there are a lot of female Indian authors that have a great book for me to read. I am going to get them one by one.

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