Global Indian authors making waves in 2021

Global Indian authors making waves in 2021

The first year was unprecedented. But the second year of cautious living with the pandemic has made us all quite an expert in surviving the solitary, bio-bubble life. And now, more than ever, books have turned out to be our greatest friends, philosophers, guides and of course, mental health therapists as well.

As we draw the curtain on 2021, here's a look back at some of the fantastic reads from the year, that it was.

'Anthropocene: Climate Change, Contagion, Consolation' by poet and litterateur Sudeep Sen captures a unique and thought-provoking artistic take on the harshest realities of our time - living in the times of Pandemic. The book encompasses stark imageries of the Covid era, the lockdown, the isolation. It engages multiple creative genres of non-fiction, essay, prose, poetry, and photography.

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Global Indian authors making waves in 2021
A poignant re-telling of complex realities, nature, human frailties

After this, for the Indian readers living abroad, no other book on the shelves has a better chance of getting picked than Mahmood Mamdani's 'Neither Settler nor Native: The Making and Unmaking of Permanent Minorities', simply because of the title of this non-fiction. Also, the fact that the book has been shortlisted for the 2021 British Academy Book Prize makes it a more lucrative pick. The non-fiction has been described as an in-depth inquiry into political modernity, colonial and post-colonial, and an exploration of the roots of violence that has plagued post-colonial society.

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Global Indian authors making waves in 2021
Global Indian author Mahmood Mamdani shortlisted for British Academy Book Prize

Another great book to connect with for the Ex-pat Indians is the celebrated British-Indian author Nikesh Shukla's 2021 release, 'Brown Baby: A Memoir of Race, Family and Home'. The memoir explores themes like fatherhood and racism and is a kind of love letter to his daughters that also reflects on his own childhood and his relationship with his parents. In his own words, "It's like an ode to the soft brown dad, which we don't see enough of, which is me," explains Shukla.

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Global Indian authors making waves in 2021
British Indian author Nikesh Shukla on tackling issues of race, patriarchy

A collection of poetry by Yogesh Patel MBE is deserving of attention for its unbiased approach to the essence of poetry, introducing a whole new genre in 'The Rapids'. The emotions of being uprooted and never quite being able to settle in but being a forever migrant become palpable in the lines of the first poem of this collection, 'The Galatea effect' – "How wonderful to be an intruder in these woods…to be nobody…I am just a migrant in this part of the world. Therefore, before the fog erases is me let me sway with the trees, with earphones crooning Raj Kapoor's 'Mera Jutta hai Japani'…no one wanting me to be a tree in this part of the world."

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Global Indian authors making waves in 2021
The Rapids: An innovative jazz of poetry

Talking about immigrant experiences, this year's Booker Prize longlisted entry 'The China Room' by the British Indian author Sunjeev Sahota deserves special mention. In this book, Sahota turns intense experiences like generations borne trauma and grief related to partition of homeland and immigration to a foreign country into subtle and humorous prose of love and hope. The 40-year-old novelist, whose grandparents emigrated from Punjab in the 1960s, has been previously shortlisted for the 2015 Booker Prize for 'The Year of the Runaways'. Author Sunjeev Sahota won the European Union Prize for Literature in 2017.

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Global Indian authors making waves in 2021
Sunjeev Sahota’s immigrant twist ‘China Room’ longlisted for Booker Prize

Moving slightly away from the above theme, albeit staying with the authors who have candidly shared their vulnerabilities, here's reflecting on two inspiring books of 2021.

This year saw the release of Bollywood and iconic Global actor Kabir Bedi's autobiographical book, 'Stories I Must Tell: The Emotional Life of an Actor'. Behind-the-scenes stories of his uniquely magnificent career, spanning over three continents, the 'tribunals and triumphs' and personal life experiences like complicated relationships and heartbreaks can be found in this book.

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Global Indian authors making waves in 2021
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable: Kabir Bedi’s mantra for his memoir

The second last book in this round-up would be an anthology of real-life stories, compiled by Ritu Sharma, called 'The New Woman'. The book encompasses powerful experiences of everyday women who have surpassed their ordinary existence with resilience, survival, transformation and hope to emerge as today's Superwoman. 'The New Woman' shares "no holds barred" stories of women broken by patriarchy, and just like the Japanese Kintsugi Bowls, they have emerged as more precious and beautiful.

And finally, we have Sheetal Sheth, an award-winning Indian American actress, who has thought about the children. Through her inventive children's illustrated book series 'Anjali', she has filled up a gap in children's literature for the Global Indians. The Anjali series tells the story of a little girl with a great big heart. The series that began in 2018 with 'Always Anjali' continues its journey with 'Bravo Anjali' in 2021. The key aim behind the Anjali series is to create literature for children that not only celebrates differences, highlights inclusivity and diversity but crucially offer up stories that children can identify with and relate to.

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Global Indian authors making waves in 2021
Actress Sheetal Sheth on her vision for the Anjali books for Global Indian children

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