Avni Doshi, 38
Burnt Sugar found favour with this year's Man Booker Prize jury which was big both on women writers and debut novelists. The New Jersey-born mother of two who now lives in Dubai didn't win, but the complicated relationship between Tara and Antara, mother and daughter, made a searing impact.
The novel's tension arises from Antara becoming carer for her mother Tara when she begins to lose her memory—perhaps inspired by Avni Doshi’s grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer's. Set in Pune, where much of her mother's family lived, it tells the story of Tara, who leaves her husband for the Osho Ashram in Pune, with her daughter.
What follows is a difficult journey for the two women who can neither live with each other nor without each other. Doshi lived in India in her twenties, working as a curator with galleries in Delhi and Mumbai, a time that burnished her status as an outsider, perhaps one of the best points of view for a writer in an increasingly multicultural world.