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:: Our spaces are shrinking all the time Githa Hariharan was born in 1954 and educated in Mumbai, Manila and the United States. She worked for public television in the US and returned to India in 1979 to work as an editor with a publishing house. Her latest book, In Time of Siege has just been released in India; the US edition would be out in August 2003.

:: Our past is always present
Geetanjali Shree's first story, Bel Patra, appeared in 1987 in Hans, a literary magazine, but she was noticed as a writer after the publication of Anugoonj , an anthology of short stories in 1991. However, it was the English translation of Mai that catapulted her into fame. The novel, a story about three generations of women, is now being translated into Russian and Korean.

:: Heady mix of history, magic, fantasy
Bapsi Sidhwa was born in Karachi, Pakistan and raised in Lahore. She graduated from Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore, and began writing after the birth of two children. She has published four internationally acclaimed novels: The Crow Eaters (1982), The Bride (1983) Ice-Candy Man (1991) and An American Brat (1993). The Ice-Candy Man was declared a New York Times Notable Book for 1991, received the LiBerature Prize in Germany and was nominated by the American Library Association as a Notable Book the same year.

:: I spent months in a brothel
Alexa Albert was a student at Harvard Medical School when she conducted a public health study at Mustang Ranch, one of the most famous and richest brothels in Nevada (the only state in America where prostitution is legal). The study lasted six years and allowed her to get a first-hand account of the lives of the prostitutes, the clients, the bartenders, the cook, the maids, the hawkers, the owners.

:: Writing gets me out of my skin
Abha Dawesar grew up in India and moved to the US to study political philosophy at Harvard University. She was awarded a Fiction Fellowship from the New York Foundation of the Arts for 2000. Her debut novel Miniplanner was released by Cleis Press, San Francisco in November 2000. Renamed The Three of Us, the book was recently released in India and Singapore.

:: I write not just to tell stories

Unity Dow studied to be a lawyer and was recently appointed Botswana's first female High Court judge. Judge Dow has written two novels: Far and Beyon' and The Screaming of the Innocent. Far and Beyon' is the story of a Botswanan family - a mother and her two children, vacillating between the modern and the traditional; between poverty, AIDS, death and hope. Dow lives with her family in Lobatse, Botswana

:: Belief in every small experience
Carmit Delman grew up in Ohio, New York and Israel. She studied literature and anthropology from Brandeis University and later did MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. Burnt Bread and Chutney: Memoirs of an Indian Jewish Girl , her first book, is the story of a brown girl looking for her identity in an otherwise white world. Delman's father is a Jew with East European descent, while her mother traces her roots back to Bene Israel, an ancient community living in western India.

:: I mourn for religious tolerance
Shama Futehally was born in Bombay in 1952. She studied English literature at the universities of Bombay and Leeds; and has since combined writing with teaching. Her first novel, Tara Lane, was published in 1993 and her translations of Meerabai's songs, In the Dark Of The Heart: Songs Of Meera, in 1994. Her short stories have appeared in several collections. She has also written a collection of children's stories with Githa Hariharan, titled Sorry, Best Friend. Reaching Bombay Central is her second novel.

:: Taking cue from everyday life
Amulya Malladi studied electronics and communications engineering in India and then switched to journalism with a Masters degree from University of Memphis. She now lives in Denmark with her husband and son. A Breath of Fresh Air is her first novel. Set in India with the world's largest industrial disaster as its backdrop, the book peeps into the life of a young woman, her ex-husband, her husband and their sick child.

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