Chitra Divakaruni is a prolific author and an American Book Award winner. Her latest novel, Before We Visit the Goddess, was published this spring to much critical acclaim. It's her 16th book. She was born in Kolkata, India and came to the United States to attend graduate school. She teaches creative writing at the University of Houston and holds a master's degree in English from Wright State University in Ohio and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.
We recently caught up with her while she was in Miami to lead a Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation, or VONA, workshop. VONA is a program that provides support for emerging writers of color.
Before We Visit the Goddess covers the lives of three generations of women and spans the globe from a tiny village in India to Houston, Texas. The story begins in India with Sabitri, a woman who grew up very poor and had her dream of going to school dashed following a misunderstanding with her wealthy patron. Her daughter, Bela, leaves India for the U.S. to marry a man her mother disapproves of. And, her granddaughter, Tara, struggles to figure out where she fits in in the world and in the Indian-American community.
Throughout the novel, Chitra deals with issues of immigration, displacement, the mother-daughter relationship and the proverbs that shape our lives.
- why she chose a unique structure to tell this story
- the marketing decision she disagreed with her publisher about
- how she chose the title
- why she gave a few minor characters a substantial role
- the classic novel she's never been able to finish
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We have two, free signed copies of Before We Visit the Goddess to give away. One will go to the first listener to reach out to us on Facebook and tell us the setting of the book Chitra is working on now. Another will go to the first listener to contact us on Twitter (@ReadMorePodcast) and tell us one of the writers who served as a mentor to Chitra and made her realize she could write, too.
If you want to learn more about Chitra and her work, check out her website, http://www.chitradivakaruni.com/.
If you have won a ReadMore giveaway in the last 90 days, you're ineligible for this contest. Also, if you and I have ever been to 4-H camp together, you're probably ineligible. ReadMore does not have a friends and family plan! But we'll always have polar bear swim and those nifty camp t-shirts.
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Before We Visit the Goddess