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Writing Not to Forget

Written by Meredith Farley
2/20/2009

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, an award-winning author and poet, spoke at Ithaca recently.

Her work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and she is the recipient of several prestigious literary awards, including the Pushcart Prize in 2003 and the American Book Award in 1996.

Divakaruni came to the United States from India when she was 19, and her work focuses on the immigration experience, South Asia, historical events, and magic.  Her fifteen books have been translated into twenty different languages.

Divakaruni spoke at as part of the Writing Department’s Distinguished Visiting Writers Series, hosted by the Department of Writing. As part of the series, Divakaruni stayed on at IC to teach a short master's class on writing.

The distinguished author read several passages from one of her newest novels, The Palace of Illusions. The story is based on the epic Sanskrit tale called "The Mahabharat."

The Palace of Illusions is narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the legendary five Pandavas brothers, offering a feminist perspective on the story.

During Divakaruni's engaging and thoughtful talk, she touched upon many different aspects of writing, from inspiration to writer's block. "I write a lot about immigration, perhaps, because immigration made me a writer," said Divakaruni, "I began writing as an action against forgetting. "



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