Alka Joshi and Aparna Shewakramani Dive into the Writing Process, Opportunities for Women Authors
HOUSTON, January 18, 2024 — Internationally bestselling author Alka Joshi visited Asia Society Texas to discuss her latest novel The Perfumist of Paris, the third and final book in her Jaipur Trilogy which includes The Henna Artist and The Secret Keeper of Jaipur. Joined in conversation with Aparna Shewakramani, writer and star of Netflix's Emmy-nominated series Indian Matchmaking, Joshi explored the creative writing process, the writer’s journey, and how personal experiences and identity can inform storytelling.
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Joshi’s Jaipur Trilogy portrays the journeys of strong women characters who pivot between tradition and modernism. In her author talk, Joshi shared how her passion for storytelling developed during her marketing career and consequently how her journey to become a writer was inspired by her family and her experiences in Jaipur, Paris, and New York. She reflected on how traveling back to India was an important part of her creative process as it allowed her to reconnect with the traditional Indian textiles, medicinal herbs, fragrances, and "the beauty that women create in India."
Joined by an enthusiastic audience, Joshi shared how she navigated the challenges of the publishing industry, including editor revisions and publishing contracts. She also delved into her research process to accurately depict Indian and Himalayan communities, culture, and traditions, and how she embraced the opportunity to transform The Henna Artist into a Netflix series. Joshi highlighted Reese Witherspoon as a champion of women writers and reflected on the important role that book clubs can play in promoting women authors.
Shewakramani and Joshi spoke about the themes in The Perfumist of Paris, including the meaning of family, the balance of career and relationships, gender roles, religious diversity, and spirituality. According to Joshi, the painting culture of Paris and India and the stories of remarkable women served as inspiration for the book.
During the audience Q&A, Joshi provided valuable insight for first-time writers and authors looking to be published, such as being proactive, promoting their work in book clubs, and applying continuous learning during the writing process. Following the conversation, a book-signing with Joshi took place.
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.