SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

Chitra Divakaruni has spoken at hundreds of conferences, colleges, and companies over the years, and would love to speak at your event.

To watch videos of Divakaruni's performances and talks, please go here.  

 

 

FOR SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS, please contact

Dawn Stuart at Books in Common
(541) 318-6288; dawn@terracommunications.net

 NEW! IF YOU ARE AN EDUCATOR AND ARE TEACHING ONE OF DIVAKARUNI’S BOOKS IN YOUR CLASS, SHE WILL BE HAPPY TO HOLD A FREE SKYPE, GOOGLE OR SIMILAR INTERNET DISCUSSION WITH YOU AND YOUR STUDENTS.

 

At Quail Valley Middle School, Fort Bend County, TX

At Quail Valley Middle School, Fort Bend County, TX

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Cheryl Spector, Director of Academic First Year Experiences and Professor of English, California State University, Northridge:
“Chitra Divakaruni’s One Amazing Thing has been a wonderful choice for this year’s Freshman Common Reading at Northridge. Faculty and staff from every part of campus have been inspired to create learning opportunities for our students ranging from traditional classroom assignments (essays, research projects, and a wide range of lesson plans) to a large-scale library exhibit set up by students and featuring “amazing stories” from various members of the larger community.  Chitra’s speech at Freshman Convocation in early September was a great success; her personal warmth seemed easily transmitted to the very large audience, and our students were thrilled to line up for her autograph after the ceremony ended.”

Jennifer Schwartz, Head of Adult Programming for the Houston Public Library System and Member of the Gulf Coast Reads Steering Committee:
One Amazing Thing was truly an ideal choice for our inaugural year. The story is completely representative of what Gulf Coast Reads is all about—building a sense of community through story and shared experiences. Additionally, we could not have asked for a more supportive author than Chitra Divakaruni. She embraced the program, made a tremendous time commitment, spread the word, and, most important of all, truly touched the community. Chitra’s talk at the kickoff event at the Central Houston Public Library was absolutely phenomenal. As the person in charge of author events for the library, I can truly say that it was the most engaging author talk I have ever witnessed. Chitra got right out into the audience and shared her experiences, her inspiration, and her belief in the power of story in a way that made the audience feel inspired, empowered, and truly a part of the program. I received wonderful feedback that day, and had the feeling that we were truly meeting our goals for the program.”

                       SPEAKING AT ALL HENRICO READS, 2016

                       SPEAKING AT ALL HENRICO READS, 2016

Kara Rothman, Community Relations Coordinator, Henrico County Library, Richmond, VA: "We chose One Amazing Thing as our All Henrico Reads featured title in 2016. One Amazing Thing is a great novel for community read because it includes so many different perspectives and provides so many opportunities for discussion.  Chitra is a warm and funny presenter and was quick on her feet during both Q&A sessions.  Both student and adult audiences were very engaged during her talk. We received nothing but glowing comments on our event survey responses."

                                                        RESPONDING TO A YOUNG AUDIENCE MEMBER AT ALL HENRICO READS

                                                        RESPONDING TO A YOUNG AUDIENCE MEMBER AT ALL HENRICO READS

Cheryl Johnston, co-chair of One Book, One Community, Monroe, MI, common reads committee:
“The highlight of this year’s One Book, One Community of Monroe was definitely a visit from the author of One Amazing Thing, Chitra Divakaruni. She was a warm and engaging speaker to audiences both large and small. In her presentations, Chitra not only addressed the major themes of the novel, but generously offered practical suggestions for writers. The enthusiastic response from our community was overwhelming. We were especially fortunate to have Chitra visit the same week that her new novel, Oleander Girl was released, so we also enjoyed hearing the author read from the opening chapter. Anyone planning a community read should consider the work of Chitra Divakaruni.  She is in a word, Amazing.”

At Google Headquarters, CA

At Google Headquarters, CA

Dr. Hellen Lee, Faculty Coordinator, One Book Program, California State University, Sacramento:
“Dear Chitra: Thank you for your delightful and engaging presentations at our Author Day. Our students at Sacramento State University were thrilled to meet you after reading your book One Amazing Thing for the One Book Program and for their classes. They were charmed by your warmth, friendliness, and humor. Many of our students had never met a “real, living author,” and your ability to connect was inspiring.”

Pat Stone, Chair, One Book One Community, Alliance, Ohio:
“The 2012 selection of Chitra Divakaruni’s One Amazing Thing as the One Book One Community title in Alliance couldn’t have been a better choice.  Chitra’s remarkable and readable story about nine characters trapped in a collapsed building provided us with many opportunities for programs such as storytelling, local disaster preparedness, and learning about Indian culture through food and dance. Her visit to Alliance to speak to residents and  middle and high school students went beyond the committee’s expectations.  She was an excellent presenter who demonstrated strength and wisdom in her thoughtful remarks and answers to the myriad questions asked of her.  Chitra won everyone over with her own storytelling and by taking time to talk to the students eager to meet her.”

Kathleen Conway, Director, First Year Experience, Molloy College, Rockville Center, N.Y.: "During her presentation to the class of 2018 at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY, award winning author Chitra Divakaruni was warm and engaging as she focused on her own writing process in general and on Molloy’s 2014 Common Read, her 2010 novel One Amazing Thing. 

In selecting a common read, a committee of Molloy professors, administrators, staff, and students looks for a book that will fulfill the college’s mission, a mission built around commitment to academic excellence and respect for each person.  And of course, we search for a work that members of the Molloy community, and especially our freshmen, will find interesting and well written.  We knew we had a winner in One Amazing Thing.  The emergency that begins the novel, the variety of ways that characters react to that emergency, and their sharing of personal stories as a way of coping, all engage us and make us care about the outcome for each member of this diverse group. Students, faculty, administrators, and staff thoroughly enjoyed both the book and the opportunity to meet its author during her day on campus.  And I know that several of our freshman seminar groups have used the book as an incentive, sharing their own amazing stories in class."

At Molloy College

At Molloy College

Jennifer Rudolph, Coordinator of Library Services, Massasoit Community College, Massachusetts: "Dr. Chitra Divakaruni engaged students, faculty and administrators for two days at Massasoit Community College, presenting, to many for the first time, a chance to meet an author of a book they had read. Dr. Divakaruni’s engaging personality and warm presence encouraged our students to ask questions and offer opinions about their reading of One Amazing Thing, our One Book One College selection for the semester. Meeting with the college community in several different venues and at two separate campuses, the author kept the presentations fresh for each audience and awed our diverse population with her wardrobe which reflected her Indian heritage. One of the goals of the One Book program at Massasoit is to encourage reading. Following Dr. Divakaruni’s visit, her books are not only hopping off the library shelves, there is a waiting list. While we enjoyed her books before her visit, we now feel we have gained a lovely friend whose writing has touched us."

Nandini Bhattacharya, Professor of English and Director of Graduate Studies, English department, Texas A&M University:
“Chitra Divakaruni’s novel, The Palace of Illusions, transformed the historical and literary horizons of my students in a course I taught on Transnational Women’s Writing.  When she visited us, the students were electrified by the presence of the author, who they soon discovered was relaxed, charming, and sophisticated yet intense in talking about literature, myth, feminism, history and families.  The day Divakaruni came to our class, we became convinced that literature and art live among us.”

Dr.Genie McKee, Dean of the Maryville University Library, Chair, Maryville Reads Committee, St.Louis, MO:
One Amazing Thing worked out very well as a Freshmen/Common Read book for Maryville University. Students enjoyed reading the book and thinking of their own amazing thing. The book encourages readers to become involved in the incidents and to reach their own conclusions. The Maryville community had a wonderful day with Chitra. The students enjoyed meeting her and Chitra was so kind to give each student special time as she signed their books.”

At Evergreen Valley College, CA

At Evergreen Valley College, CA

Catherine Olson, Professor, Lone Star College, Tomball, TX:
“Lone Star College-Tomball was lucky enough to convince Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni to come to our campus and give a reading. She read from Sister of My Heart, a novel that I was teaching at the time, and she also touched on some of the short stories my colleagues had been teaching (plus her latest novel, One Amazing Thing). For many of our students, Divakaruni’s reading was their first experience with going to see an author talk about his or her work. While she was signing books, several of my own students came up to me, as if in a daze, gushing about how much her talk moved them. What a gift Divakaruni brings her readers—especially college students who can learn, now in this pivotal time in their lives, that they must trust in their own self-worth. Her writing and her talk seemed to say, “Namaste,” greeting all that is sacred within each student at our campus.”

Stacia Boettcher, Teacher, Sam Houston Math, Science and Technology High School, Houston:
“My twelfth-grade AP English classes at Sam Houston MSTC were lucky enough to have Ms. Chitra Divakaruni come visit our school for a reading and book signing. We read one of her short stories as a part of a unit and the students fell in love with it. In the weeks leading up to Ms. Divakaruni’s reading, the enthusiasm of my students grew as they read as many of her works as we could get hold of and watched her movie Mistress of Spices. For many of my students this was their first experience with an author, and the first time they related to literature. Ms. Divakaruni’s reading from her novel One Amazing Thing was so compelling that the students eagerly bought her books afterwards. She was an engaging and compassionate speaker who shared so much with my students about her life and the value of education that they felt like they really got to know her. After Ms. Divakaruni finished her formal presentation, she spoke with many of my students individually as she signed their books. In addition to all of this she graciously took a picture with us at the end of her visit and encouraged all of my students to find her on Facebook. Because of the way she connected with her audience, she inspired many of my students to read, reinvest themselves in their education, and to learn about the diverse cultures of Houston. Ms. Divakaruni’s visit to our school was a once in a lifetime experience for everyone who was able to attend.”

Philip Lutgendorf, Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies, University of Iowa:
“I regularly teach Chitra Divakaruni’s magical-realist novel Mistress of Spices for its insightful portrayal of South Asian immigrants negotiating their identity in late-20th century America. My undergraduate students of diverse ethnic backgrounds always find it stimulating and often inspiring. For a recent class, Chitra granted us a one-hour “Skype” interview, sensitively answering questions from the students. This chance to interact with a real, live novelist—who responded to them with warmth, humor, and insight—was definitely the high point of the semester for many of my students.”

Brad E. Lucas, Chair, Department of English, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, TX:
“Our students, and colleagues, from several disciplines truly appreciated Divakaruni’s time on campus, from class visits and discussion sessions to readings from her work, all with attention to the interconnections of life experiences and imagination. Bringing together present-day issues with literary and cultural legacies, she brought the presence of mind of a writer engaged in her craft, rather than an author on tour. “

At San Jose State University, CA

At San Jose State University, CA

Dr Linda C. Mitchell, Professor, Department of English & Comparative Literature, San José State University:
"In April 2013, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni brought her magic to San Jose State University. Sponsored by the AANAPISI (Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution) Grant Program, she captivated a large student crowd with personal stories in the afternoon about how she became a writer. During an evening reading, she mesmerized her audience with stories about how she finds things to write about and about how she assimilated into American life. Her openness and genuine personality were inspiring to students, faculty, staff, and community members. Students, especially, found her to be warm and energetic, and they took encouragement from her words on writing. Everyone left both the noon discussion and the evening reading with a great appreciation for Chitra and her books. She was no longer a name in a bookstore, but a real person with experiences and a personality."

Angelique Jamail, Teacher, Kinkaid School, Houston, TX:
“A visit from Chitra Divakaruni always benefits my Creative Writing students.  She has a warmth and a generosity of spirit that put all my students at ease, no matter their grade level.  They enjoy learning from her about her writing process and about her experiences as a published author, and she has always been very happy to answer all kinds of questions about her work.  Her engaging, friendly manner belies a kindness and an understanding of people that are part of why her books are such a delight to devour, and all these qualities contribute to an exceptionally positive guest author experience.”

Mona Narain, Associate Professor, Department of English, TCU, Fort Worth, TX:
“Chitra visited my class, and the students’ comments were wholly positive; they enjoyed hearing her describe the process of creation and the numerous associations with events and people in her life that inform her writing. It really helped them demystify the process of creative writing and understand literature at a deeper level. They appreciated her approachability and openness to their questions.”

At the Yavapai College Literary Southwest series, AZ

At the Yavapai College Literary Southwest series, AZ

Jim Natal, Series Director, The Literary Southwest, Yavapai College, Prescott, AZ:

"We recently had the pleasure of featuring Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni at the Literary Southwest series at Yavapai College. In the seven years I’ve been hosting the series I haven’t seen our audience respond so well to an author. Almost everyone stayed for the “Open Conversation” portion of the program and the book signing line was the longest ever. Obviously, people wanted more of Chitra after hearing her read selections from her wonderful prose and poetry. Throughout the evening, she was captivating and entertaining, lovely and gracious, not to mention totally insightful in her comments on writing process and craft. The email raves started coming in before I even got home that night! It was wonderful to see the inspirational power of literature and Chitra’s words at work."

Darren J. N. Middleton, Professor, Department of Religion, TCU, Fort Worth, TX:
“From the viewpoint of contemporary American letters it could be said that Chitra Divakaruni is one of our finest storytellers, an artist whose tender, poignant and life-affirming voice speaks to the concerns of our multi-dimensional, dissonant world. As I see it, her time at TCU served to hook a new generation on the power of her imagination.”

Kate Lambert, English Teacher, Kinkaid School, Houston, TX:
“For those of you interested in pairing older works with more modern texts, I strongly suggest a joint reading of King Lear and Chitra Divakaruni’s story, “Mrs. Dutta Writes a Letter.”  from her collection The Unknown Errors of Our Lives. The story is a wonderful way to round out (and perhaps brighten a bit) the study of that darkest of Shakespeare’s tragedies.  The parallel exists mostly in the comparison between Mrs. Dutta and Lear.  Both have given up their throne in a sense. Both face the storm of aging and not belonging, and both come to see themselves as worthless, for in their worlds, “age is unnecessary.”  But one finds a way out and saves herself. Mrs. Dutta doesn’t just speak; she acts, moving back to India and reclaiming much of what she lost in the abdication of her “throne.” How I wish Lear had been so lucky.”

Alfred Bendixen, Professor of English, Texas A&M University:
“Chitra Divakaruni spoke to my large lecture class on American Literature since the Civil War at Texas A&M University in Fall 2009 as part of our exploration of contemporary multi-culturalism and it proved to be one of the real high points of the semester. The students were thrilled by her appearance and by her response to their questions. They loved her novel, The Palace of Illusions, and were delighted to engage a text that seemed so different from most of what they were reading but spoke to them on multiple levels. The author is an eloquent speaker and superb novelist. Her graceful prose and powerful narrative opens up new imaginative worlds to students unfamiliar with other cultures.”


At Houston Metro's Multicultural Day.

At Houston Metro's Multicultural Day.