Lalita Tademy biography, plus links to book reviews and book excerpts from books by Lalita Tademy.

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Lalita Tademy

Lalita Tademy

Lalita Tademy Biography

Lalita Tademy was born in Berkeley, California, far from her parents’ southern roots. Nonetheless, her parents made sure their household (Louisiana West) maintained a definite non-California edge, including a steady supply of grits, gumbo, cornbread, and collard greens, and a stream of other transplanted southerners eager to share their “back-home” stories.

Capricorn by birth and temperament, Lalita decided early that independence and self-sufficiency trumped personal amusement, and set out with dogged determination and methodical resolve to fashion a career. She climbed the corporate ladder, rung by rung, entering the business world when computers were as big as Volkswagens and mollycoddled by highly specialized experts in refrigerated vaults. By the time she left her position as VP and General Manager at a Fortune 500 high technology company in Silicon Valley twenty years later, ending that particular chapter of her life, all she had to do was pack up her laptop and run for the nearest exit.

The transition from focused, driven, corporate drone to balanced, fully satisfied, fully realized human being (okay, she hasn’t really made it there yet) was an incredible journey of self discovery and growth, only impeded by the fact that there was absolutely no money coming in. But her obsession with finding each root, each branch, stripping the bark and turning over every hidden leaf and stem of her family tree consumed her, until she had accumulated such powerful stories there was no choice but to write about the amazing people with whom she had made acquaintance.

And so, over 1,000 documents in hand, she wrote a novel based on the lives of four generations of colored Creole slave women in Louisiana, women from whom she descended. Cane River was a testament to the strength of those who came before, a blend of fact and fiction, homage, but hopefully a good, fast, exciting read. Fortunately, Oprah Winfrey thought so, and she selected the novel as her summer book pick in 2001.

After everything she learned researching and writing Cane River, book two, Lalita thought, would be much less difficult and involve less than three years to create. She was wrong. Maybe if not for the time-intensive process of falling in love and getting married, it would have been, but she will never know. It will be almost six years between the publication of Cane River and Red River’s debut in January 2007.  Red River also takes place in Louisiana, and is also a historical novel, based on real events during Reconstruction after the Civil War, a time period and subject matter often summarily skimmed in our history books. The story of Red River begins in 1873, and follows the ramifications of an incident on Easter Sunday of that year on successive generations of two families involved.

Reproduced from lalitatademy.com, with the permission of Lalita Tademy.

Link to Lalita's website

This biography was last updated on 06/19/2011.

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Interview

Lalita Tademy Chats with BookBrowse about Her Latest Book, Red River

Red River ends in 1937. I'm very interested to know what happened to your family since then - I know that you were brought up in California, what caused your parents to move from Louisiana to California? Do most of the remainder of your family still live in Louisiana?

Lalita: My parents moved from Louisiana to San Francisco in the early 1940s, where there was a greater range of work opportunities available for a black man. My father, who never enjoyed teaching in Louisiana, came out alone first, worked in odd jobs in the construction trade created by World War II, and then sent for my mother and my two older sisters a few months later after he had a foothold. One by one, his brothers moved their families out to California as well, although none of the sisters relocated out West. Today, there are pockets of Tademys in both Louisiana and California, as well as most other parts of the country.


The family tree in Red River is fascinating, but because it only shows the birth dates of your grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great grandparents, it's difficult to know which you might have known first hand?

Lalita: My paternal...

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Books by this Author

Books by Lalita Tademy at BookBrowse

Recommended in Detail at BookBrowse

Red River
Red River

by Lalita Tademy

This is a story about men whose lives began in slavery, who weathered the Civil War; newly freed men who have to fight for their liberties, hoping the federal government will come to their aid. But after a deadly racial massacre, once-proud families are left to deal with the wreckage and find the strength to push on.
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Lalita Tademy but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Douglas A. Blackmon

    Douglas A. Blackmon

    Douglas A. Blackmon is the Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II, and co-executive producer of the acclaimed PBS documentary of the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Red River

    Try:
    Slavery by Another Name
    by Douglas A. Blackmon

  • Yvette Christiansë

    Yvette Christiansë

    Yvette Christiansë was born in South Africa under apartheid and emigrated with her family via Swaziland to Australia at the age of eighteen. She is the author of the poetry collections Castaway (1999) and Imprendehora (... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Cane River

    Try:
    Unconfessed
    by Yvette Christiansë

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The Arsonist
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Published Jun. 2014

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