I'm pleased to welcome Supriya Kelkar to Michigander Monday!
Debbie: Supriya, please tell us a little about yourself.
Supriya: I am a Bollywood screenwriter who studied film at the University of Michigan. I have credits on several Bollywood movies and one Hollywood feature. My first middle grade novel, Ahimsa, comes out today (Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books). And I learned Hindi by watching three Hindi movies a week growing up.
Debbie: And, of course, we want to know all about your book.
Supriya: I started Ahimsa back in 2003 on a break between film projects. Every year I would go back to it and revise it. After several drafts I finally got it to a place I was happy with and in 2016 I won the New Visions Award along with a publishing contract from Tu Books.
Ahimsa tells the story of a ten-year-old girl named Anjali in British-ruled India in 1942. When Mahatma Gandhi asks each family to give one member to the nonviolent freedom movement, Anjali is devastated to think of her father risking his life for the freedom struggle. But it turns out he isn't the one joining. Her mother is. And when Anjali's mother is imprisoned for her participation in the movement, Anjali must step out of her comfort zone to take over her mother's work, ensuring their little part in the independence movement is completed.
Debbie: Other books or projects on the horizon?
Supriya: I am working on a couple other middle grade novels and some picture books but they are all still works in progress.
Debbie: Upcoming appearances?
Supriya: My release party is Sunday, October 8th at 3 PM at Nicola's Books.
Debbie: Do you have a favorite Michigan bookstore? And/or a favorite Michigan library?
Supriya: I adore Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor. I tend to like almost all the libraries I have set foot in so that is a hard one for me to answer.
Debbie: How about a favorite place in Michigan?
Supriya: I really like Oval Beach and the town of Saugatuck. The water is beautiful and the beach is not crowded at all in the off-season.
I also enjoy Grand Rapids' children's museum, Frederik Meijer Gardens, and their art museum.
And I love Ann Arbor. It brings back lots of memories from college and the restaurant scene is great.
Debbie: Do you have a Michigan event or happening that you love to attend?
Supriya: I love fall in Michigan because it is the start of cider season.
I also like to see the peonies bloom at the Arb in Ann Arbor in June and the tulips bloom in Holland in spring.
Debbie: Something you'd like a non-Michigander to know about Michigan?
Supriya: Michiganders are correct; it is "pop," not "soda."
Debbie: Last question. Some folks in Michigan refer to themselves as Michiganders, others as Michiganians. For our ongoing vote tally: are you a Michigander or a Michiganian?
Supriya: I am 100% a Michigander.
Debbie: We'll add you to the Michigander column! Supriya, thank you so much for joining us today, and congratulation on your book!