Thursday, March 30, 2023

Library to Host an Evening with Best-Selling Author Chitra Divakaruni

Chitra Divakaruni, best-selling author of The Palace of Illusions, will visit Cumming to speak and sign books at Forsyth Conference Center, 3410 Ronald Reagan Blvd., at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 18.

An Evening with Chitra Divakaruni is one of several events hosted by the Forsyth County Public Library (FCPL) as part of Forsyth Reads Together, a community reading program sponsored by Forsyth County Public Library, FCPL Friends and Advocates, and the Forsyth County Arts Alliance at the Forsyth County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the North Georgia Community Foundation.

Admission to the event is free, but advance registration on the library’s website is requested.   

Click here to register now.

Launched in 2008 to encourage literacy and foster community togetherness, Forsyth Reads Together has brought many big-name authors to Forsyth County over the years including Rick Bragg, Martha Hall Kelly, Dennis Lehane, Gregory Maguire, Jeff Shaara, and Kathryn Stockett.

The 2023 Forsyth Reads Together book selection, One Amazing Thing, is a novel about nine people from different backgrounds who become trapped together for days by a massive earthquake, bonding through storytelling to help them survive. 

In her recent interview with FCPL’s Unreadable podcast host Ross Gericke, Divakaruni said she “wanted a situation where story becomes the most important thing.” She wondered what her characters could do in such a situation. “Then it came to me that they can share their stories.” Ms. Divakaruni, a professor of Creative Writing in the internationally acclaimed Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston, loves the power of stories and their ability to get readers to “sympathize with people who otherwise seem to have nothing in common with them in everyday life. That’s the magic of books because they give you a safe place to sympathize.”

Chitra Divakaruni is an award-winning writer, activist and teacher, and the author of 21 books such as Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart, Before We Visit the Goddess, Palace of Illusions, The Forest of Enchantments, and The Last Queen. Her newest novel, Independence, depicts the experiences of three sisters in strife-torn Calcutta as India frees itself from the British yoke. She writes for adults and children. 

Divakaruni was born in Calcutta, India and received her B.A. from the University of Calcutta before moving to the United States. Her work has been published in over 100 magazines and anthologies and translated into 30 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew, Bengali, Hungarian, Turkish, Hindi and Japanese. Divakaruni’s work has also been made into films, plays, and dance dramas, and performed as operas. 

When she visits Forsyth County in April, Divakaruni is expected to discuss how important storytelling is to make sense of our world. “We gain understanding when we share stories,” said Divakaruni. 

Author Chitra Divakaruni's One Amazing Thing
has been selected as a community-read in more than 25 cities. 

Other events related to One Amazing Thing are planned at library branches over the coming weeks.

In anticipation of Chitra Divakaruni’s visit to Forsyth County on April 18, a book discussion about One Amazing Thing will be held Wednesday, April 12 at 10:00 a.m. at Post Road Library. Facilitated by FCPL staff, patrons will gather to discuss Divakaruni’s novel and the many themes it touches upon including marriage, family dynamics, political upheaval, natural disaster survival, and the transcendent power of stories and human expression.

“Forsyth Reads Together brings neighbors together to discuss the ways literature both reflects and influences our society. Reading One Amazing Thing as a community gives us a chance to learn from each other and understand the people in our community more fully,” says Programming Manager Kim Ottesen.

“I think Ms. Divakaruni has a great understanding of what programs like Forsyth Reads Together are meant to do,” says Ottesen. “She summed it up nicely in her interview for our podcast when she said, ‘I was hoping that our common humanity would come through in this book.’"

For more information or to register to attend An Evening with Chitra Divakaruni, please visit

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