#DesiRepDiscussions - Existing Representation in Books by Enna

Hey guys!
Over the past couple years, the #DiverseReads movement has gained momentum and people have become aware of reading books that have characters that are not just cis straight and white. After All, this world is a huge place and there are many different, diverse people here that are not straight or white. They have been poorly represented in media for a long time and that has taken its toll.
Desis are an example of such oppressed voices. We have not been represented in a good light in the western media, but, thankfully, that has changed in the last few years and with emerging authors such as Roshani Chokshi, Sandhya Menon, Tara Sim, Dhonielle Clayton, Sabaa Tahir etc, hopefully, people will see us in a better light and begin to understand our culture more.
The purpose of this discussion event is to make others aware of the lush, beautiful desi culture and to tell them more about us. So, for the next few days, my absolutely amazing friend, Prags from The Inkedin Book Blog (who, really, put all of this together) and I will be sharing various essays by desi book people – bloggers, bookstagrammers, twitterati etc for you guys.
I hope that you learn something new by reading what we have in store for you here and that you enjoy it. Thank you for stopping by!

On #DesiRepDiscussions today, we have Enna, who is going to talk about the existing rep in books. What authors got right, what they didn't, what she liked and didn't. So, gear up and have fun!


Growing up, Desi representation was something I rarely saw or read in Young Adult novels. No matter how much I loved reading about characters from other cultures and backgrounds, I always felt sad I could never relate to a character myself on that level. And when I did find books that had Desi representation, there were some things I loved about them and some I was really disappointed by.

What I Liked

  • The amount of detail some book had for describing Desi culture! I loved how our traditions and cultural values were expressed and represented for the world to read!
  • I really appreciated the amount of diversity I saw in the characters themselves! I loved to read about individuals who were Desi but were not represented by the stereotype we often saw on TV or in movies (i.e., heavy accents, taxi driver etc..)
  • Most importantly, I loved when characters need to discuss issues or topics that constantly challenged their beliefs and moral obligations (in regard to their culture); it illustrated how different each character was without taking away from their individuality.

What Could Have Been Better

  • The need for diverse books is great, but I wish they did not revolve around overused tropes or stereotypes, like arranged marriages. There is so much potential authors can tap into when writing about Desi culture, but to use tropes and stereotypes as the focus of the book’s plot is disappointing. I would love to see something different.
  • I would love to see Desi characters in more fantasy or sci-fi novels! While there are many contemporary novels and some fantasy novels written by Desi authors which represent Desi culture, it’s rare to find the same in sci-fi novels. I would love to see the same representation across multiple genres.

Before you go, here are some of my favorite Desi YA novels written by some amazing Desi authors and a few highly anticipated novels of 2018!
Top Row (Left to Right)
The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
From Twinkle With Love by Sandhya Menon
When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (coming 2018)
A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena (coming 2018)
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Bottom Row (Left to Right)
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma (coming 2018)
Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier
The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana
Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona

Connect With The Author:

What do you think of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement? 
Have you read any books/ watched movies that celebrate the Desi culture?
Do say hi to Enna ~ she'd love to hear from you!

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