Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Wiki, Age, Family, Biography & More

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an Indian American author, poet, and a professor of writing at the University of Houston, Texas. Her prominent works include The Palace of Illusions (2008), The Mistress of Spices (1997), One Amazing Thing (2009), and Sister of My Heart (1999). Her work has been published in several magazines and anthologies, including The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, and the O. Henry Prize Stories. Her written works have been translated into thirty languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, Bengali, Hungarian, Turkish, Hindi and Japanese.Ā 


Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni was born on Sunday, 29 July 1956 (age 67 years; as of 2023) in Calcutta, India. Her zodiac sign is Leo. She gained her B.A. degree from the University of Calcutta in 1976. In the same year, she went to the United States to pursue her master’s at Wright State University. In 1985, she did a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a professor of writing at the University of Houston, Texas, and has taught at Diablo College and Foothill College in California. She is a founding member and President of Maitri, a helpline for South Asian Women in the Bay Area.


Parents & Siblings

Her father’s name was Rajendra Kumar Banerjee and her mother was Tatini Banerjee.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's mother

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s mother

Husband & Children

She is married to S. Murthy Divakaruni, a Shell Oil engineer. They have two sons, Anand and Abhay. She has used her sons’ names in her children’s novels.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni with her husband Murthy and sons

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni with her husband Murthy and sons

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni with her husband and sons

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni with her husband and grown-up sons


Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's signature


Divakaruni began her writing career as a poet. Her volumes of poetry include Black Candle and Leaving Yuba City. She is the author of 21 books such as The Mistress of SpicesĀ (1997), Sister of My Heart (1999), Before We Visit the Goddess (2016), Palace of Illusions (2008), The Forest of Enchantments (2019), and The Last Queen (2021). She is a renowned and prolific writer, who has published novels in several genres like historical fiction, magical realism, myths, realistic fiction, and fantasy.

The Palac of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Unknown Errors of our life by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Vine Of Desire by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Last Queen by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


  • Arranged Marriage: Stories (1995)
  • The Mistress of SpicesĀ (1997)
  • Sister of My HeartĀ (1999)
  • The Unknown Errors of Our Lives (2001)
  • The Vine of Desire (2002)
  • Queen of Dreams (2004)
  • The Lives of StrangersĀ (2007)
  • The Palace of Illusions: A Novel (2008)
  • One Amazing ThingĀ (2010)
  • Oleander Girl (2013)
  • Before We Visit the Goddess (2016)
  • The Forest of Enchantments (2019)
  • The Last QueenĀ (2021)
  • IndependenceĀ (2023)

Young adult and children’s

  • Neela: Victory SongĀ (2002)
  • Grandma and the Great Gourd (2013) (children’s picture book)

Brotherhood of the Conch series

  • The Conch BearerĀ (2003)
  • The Mirror of Fire and DreamingĀ (2005)
  • Shadowland (2009)


  • The Reason for Nasturtiums, Berkeley (Berkeley Poets Workshop) (1990)
  • Black Candle. Poems About Women from India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, Corvallis (Calyx Books) (1991)
  • Leaving Yuba City, St. Louis (Turtleback Books) (1997)


  • Multitude: Cross Cultural Readings for WritersĀ (1993)
  • We Too Sing AmericaĀ (1997)
  • California Uncovered: Stories for the 21st Century (2004)

Awards, Honours, Achievements

  • In 1996, she was awarded the American Book Award, the PEN Josephine Miles Literary Award, and the Bay Area Book Reviewers’ Award for her first collection of stories Arranged Marriage.
  • In 1997, she was honoured with the Pushcart Prize for Leaving Yuba City: New and Selected Poems.
  • In 2003, she received the Pushcart Prize for The Lives of Strangers.
  • In 2007, she was awarded the Distinguished Writer Award by the South Asian Literary Association.
  • In 2022, The Last Queen received the Times of India Best Fiction Award and the Best Book Award from The International Association of Working Women.

    AT a banquet at U.C. Berkeley's International House, where she recieved the Alumna Of The Year Award.

    AT a banquet at U.C. Berkeley’s International House, where she received the Alumna Of The Year Award.


  • Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni chose Christopher Marlowe as a subject of her doctoral dissertation titled, For Danger Is in Words: A Study of Language in Marlowe’s Plays at the University of California, Berkeley under the direction of Stephen Greenblatt.
  • Her work has been made into films, plays and dance dramas, and performed as operas. Her short story The Word Love, was made into an award-winning short film, Amaar Ma. Her other book, Arranged Marriage has been made into a play and performed in both USA and Canada. Palace of Illusions has been performed on the stage in the USA and India. Mistress of Spices is in the process of being made into an opera.
  • In 2015, The Economic Times included her name in the List of 20 Most Influential Global Indian Women.
  • She supports several organisations like Pratham, which educates underprivileged children in India, Akshaya Patra, which feeds Indian schoolchildren, Daya & Maitri, which assists survivors of domestic violence, and the Houston Food Bank.
  • She wrote the libretto for the opera River of Light, which was performed by the Houston Grand Opera and Festival Opera in San Francisco.

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