Saturday, August 18, 2018

Featured Author: Samhita Arni

As we get ready for the second half of the semester with totally free choices for the reading in Weeks 9-14, I want to highly recommend these three books by Samhita Arni: she has published a version of the Ramayana and also of the Mahabharata, and, just last year, she published a modern political thriller about the Ramayana called The Missing Queen.

Here's a podcast from August 2018 in which she talks about Sita's Ramayana: link to listen.

You can find out more about Samhita Arni at her website: She is active at Twitter, where she shares links to her latest publications, like this lovely piece in the Bangalore Mirror: Can There Be Creativity Without Curiosity?

Here is information about her three books:


When she was just eight years old, Arni started writing and illustrating her own version of the Mahabharata which she finished and published in 1996 at the age of eleven. You will find the book — Mahabharatha: A Child's View — on Reserve in Bizzell for you to read (one or two or three weeks of reading). You can find out more by reading this 2005 interview. As you can see from the cover of the book, Arni's drawings are delightful, and her take on the epic sweep of the Mahabharata from a young person's perspective is really fascinating to read!


Arni second book is a version of the Ramayana as told by Sita herself, with illustrations by Moyna Chitrakar: Sita's Ramayana, published in 2011, and it spent two weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list for Graphic Novels. This book is also on Reserve in Bizzell Library, and you can use it as reading for one or two weeks. And for more about Arni's thoughts about Sita, see the next book option: The Missing Queen.


Her most recent book, published in 2014, is a modern political thriller that is, at the same time, a version of the Ramayana. Specifically, it is a retelling of the Ramayana set in Ayodhya during Rama's rule, after Sita has left the kingdom. Not to give away too much but, yes, Sita is the missing queen. Where has she gone? And why? One intrepid journalist is determined to find out!

Although I have marked The Missing Queen as being two weeks' worth of reading, my guess is that you might end up staying up late one night to finish it because you simply cannot put it down. That is what happened to me!

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