MLA Platinum Award Press Release

Alka Joshi biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author

Alka Joshi

Alka Joshi

Alka Joshi Biography

Alka Joshi was born in India and raised in the U.S. since the age of nine. She has a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts and runs an advertising and marketing agency. She has lived in France and Italy and currently lives in Pacific Grove, California, with her husband. The Henna Artist is her first novel.

Instagram: @thealkajoshi
Facebook: alkajoshi2019
Twitter: @alkajoshi

Alka Joshi's website

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Interview

Alka Joshi talks about what inspired her first novel, The Henna Artist

What inspired you to write The Henna Artist?
I have my mother to thank for my first novel.

When I was fifteen, my mother and I went shopping for school clothes. We'd been living in the States—in the Midwest—for six years by then, but she still wore saris. As we passed the dresses, she plucked one with a plunging halter top off the rack and asked me try it on. An American girl might have thought her mother hip, but I was embarrassed.

For my sixteenth birthday, my mother made an appointment at Merle Norman Cosmetics so I could learn to wear makeup, something she knew nothing about but felt I needed to learn.

At eighteen, when I told her I wanted to sleep with my first boyfriend, she immediately took me to get birth control pills and urged me to experiment—she, who had had an arranged marriage at the age of eighteen and still stumbled over her English.

It took me years to understand that what my mother wanted was a life for me that she herself had been denied. She wanted me to experience the freedom of choice.

At some point, I began imagining a different start to my mother's life. What if her father hadn't made her marry at such a tender age? What if she hadn't had three children in rapid succession? What ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Alka Joshi at BookBrowse
The Henna Artist jacket
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