Residence: Seattle, Washington
Banerjee has long been creating prize winning literary jewels for both children and adults with a uniquely witty and accessible voice. As one of the most popular and best selling Asian authors of modern times, Banerjee has set the gold standard for excellence in writing, serving as an inspiration to legions of fans worldwide. With her genuine kind and compassionate nature, readers have been learning more about this beautiful author, recognizing her valuable contributions not only to aspiring writers but also to young Asian women.
Of Indian descent, Banerjee is a living example of how hard work, persistence and the careful crafting of one’s talents can result in ultimate success, providing hope to countless fans throughout her native India and Asia. She is a phenomenal success not only as an author, but as a woman who has gracefully mastered the delicate balance of a demanding and difficult career and family life.
Anjali Banerjee was born in India, raised in Canada and California and received degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. She has written five novels for youngsters and three for grownups, and she’s at work on her next novel for adults, ENCHANTING LILY, to be published by Berkley/Penguin. Her books have received accolades in many review journals and newspapers. Of her new novel, HAUNTING JASMINE, Melinda Bargreen of The Seattle Times wrote, “Banerjee invites the reader into her colorful, hopeful world, one in which the Northwest island tides coexist with the ghost of Julia Child, Charles Dickens’ mirror, and a sari or two.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer called her young adult novel, MAYA RUNNING (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House) “beautiful and complex” and “pleasingly accessible.” The Seattle Times praised Anjali’s novel for adults, IMAGINARY MEN (Downtown Press/Pocket Books) as “a romantic comedy equal to Bend it Like Beckham.”
Anjali has always loved to write. When she was seven, she penned her first story about an abandoned puppy on a beach in Bengal. Then, inspired by her maternal grandmother—an English writer who lived in India—she wrote a mystery, The Green Secret, at the age of nine. She illustrated the book, stapled the pages together and pasted a copyright notice inside the front cover. After that she churned out a series of mysteries and adventure novels with preposterous premises and impossible plots.
Growing up in a small town in Manitoba, Canada, Anjali’s favorite family event was the weekly drive to the garbage dump to watch for bears. She also loved jaunts to the library, where she checked out the same Curious George books dozens of times. She adored a picture book called The Bear Who Couldn’t Sleep, starring a baby bear who refused to hibernate in winter. Her favorite authors were Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, Alexander Key, C.S. Lewis and others. Every night her father read to her from C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia or Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
After she grew up and finished university, Anjali tried on jobs like new sets of clothes — veterinary assistant, office manager and law student—before rediscovering her love for writing. Since then, Anjali’s Pushcart Prize-nominated short fiction has appeared in several literary journals and in the anthology New to North America. She was a contributing writer for three regional history books and local newspapers before she began writing novels. An alumnus of Hedgebrook, an esteemed retreat for women writers on Whidbey Island, Anjali has been a speaker at the South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival (SALTAF®) at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., at many schools, libraries and writers’ conferences, and she has led workshops for Field’s End and the Whidbey Island Writers’ Association MFA program.
Anjali loves hiking, reading, watching movies, supporting local animal welfare organizations, feeding birds, and playing piano. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, in a cottage in the woods, with her husband and five rescued cats.