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Jahnavi Barua is an Indian writer based in Bangalore. Next Door (Penguin India, 2008), her debut collection of short stories was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Her next, a novel called Rebirth (Penguin India, 2010), was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. The third, Undertow, a novel, was published by Penguin Random House India (Viking Books) in February 2020 and was longlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature 2020 and the BLF Atta Galatta Book Prize 2020. Her short fiction has been widely anthologized and her work is part of several university syllabi. Jahnavi studied medicine but is not a practising doctor. She was born in Guwahati and raised between Assam, Meghalaya, Delhi and Manchester.

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Jahnavi Barua

Let's talk Homecoming

On 28th Nov 3.00 pm to 3.40 pm

Anushree Kaushal questions Jahnvi Barua about her latest novel, Undertow. This book is about a young girl of 25 who goes to Assam to look for her family on the father’s side. Her mother was shunned by her father’s family because she belonged to a different culture. Of course, Loya who is the young girl we are talking about pretends that she wants material for her thesis but the real reason is to get back to her roots. In the process she develops a strong bond with her grandfather and both learn from each other, Anushree asks Jahnvi about her style of writing which is very simple. Jahnvi says that this kind of writing comes very naturally to her and actually it is very difficult to be simple in any literary work. She very closely relates to the character of Loya and says that in a way it is her own sense of a family that brought about this book, because she grew up in a joint family.