RIJULA DAS

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Winner, 2021 Tata Literature Live! First Book Award for Fiction

Longlisted, JCB Prize 2021

Shortlisted, 2022 AutHer Award for Best Debut

Longlisted, PFC Valley Of Words Books Award 2022

Longlisted, She The People, Women Writer's Prize

“Rijula Das has evaded the prevalent tropes of writing. It is very difficult to pin down the genre she is writing in―is it a love story, for instance; is it a murder mystery; is it a novel about social justice? The book gives light to the popular and wrong notion that literature needs to necessarily be heavy. It manages to achieve everything that good literature does while at the same time being entertaining. It is full of beautiful humorous touches and outstanding at zooming in to details.” ―Judges of the JCB Prize for Literature 2021

"A pointillist story about a sex worker’s life, A Death in Shonagachhi is a skilled debut."―The Hindu

"Though Rijula Das’ A Death in Shonagachhi has won the First Book Award at Tata Literature Live!, no number of accolades seem enough for this gem of a novel." ―India Today

"The women of Shonagachhi want to claim their rights as workers, unionise, and ensure safety. What does ‘choice’ mean in their context? If they decide to leave, where can they go? If they opt to stay, what are the avenues available for them to improve their own lives or the lives of their children? What are the costs and consequences that accompany these choices? Das examines these questions, gently and gradually, in this memorable novel that deserves to be read especially by people who are wary of picking up books written by first-time authors"―Firstpost

“It takes a keen insight to portray women like Lalee, Maya, Amina and Sonia in all their profundity and shallowness. Das knows her women well.”―Feminism in India

Das_30647_Small+Deaths_FT_v1.jpg

Winner, 2021 Tata Literature Live! First Book Award for Fiction

Longlisted, JCB Prize 2021

Shortlisted, 2022 AutHer Award for Best Debut

Longlisted, PFC Valley Of Words Books Award 2022

Longlisted, She The People, Women Writer's Prize

“Rijula Das has evaded the prevalent tropes of writing. It is very difficult to pin down the genre she is writing in―is it a love story, for instance; is it a murder mystery; is it a novel about social justice? The book gives light to the popular and wrong notion that literature needs to necessarily be heavy. It manages to achieve everything that good literature does while at the same time being entertaining. It is full of beautiful humorous touches and outstanding at zooming in to details.” ―Judges of the JCB Prize for Literature 2021

Addictive and hilarious. Rijula Das is a writer to watch.” Avni Doshi, author of Burnt Sugar

"A pointillist story about a sex worker’s life, A Death in Shonagachhi is a skilled debut."―The Hindu

"Though Rijula Das’ A Death in Shonagachhi has won the First Book Award at Tata Literature Live!, no number of accolades seem enough for this gem of a novel." ―India Today

"The women of Shonagachhi want to claim their rights as workers, unionise, and ensure safety. What does ‘choice’ mean in their context? If they decide to leave, where can they go? If they opt to stay, what are the avenues available for them to improve their own lives or the lives of their children? What are the costs and consequences that accompany these choices? Das examines these questions, gently and gradually, in this memorable novel that deserves to be read especially by people who are wary of picking up books written by first-time authors"―Firstpost

“It takes a keen insight to portray women like Lalee, Maya, Amina and Sonia in all their profundity and shallowness. Das knows her women well.”―Feminism in India

“This debut novel eschews a smart script in favour of the real, messy world.”―Scroll.in

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ABOUT

Rijula Das's debut novel SMALL DEATHS is out September 2022. It was previously published as A DEATH IN SHONAGACHHI by Picador India in July 2021, where it received the Tata Lit Live First Book Award 2021, and was longlisted for many prominent awards, including the JCB prize 2021. 

 

Russian rights have been bought by Ripol; and French rights have been bought by Éditions du Seuil, for publication in 2023. Adaptation rights have been optioned by Drishyam Films, and a limited series is currently in development. 

Rijula received her PhD in Creative Writing/prose-fiction in 2017 from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, where she taught writing for two years. Her critical research focuses on the connections between public space and sexual violence. A Death in Shonagachhi was born of this research.

Rijula is a recipient of 2019 Michael King Writer's Centre Residency in Auckland and the 2016 Dastaan Award for her short story Notes From A Passing. Her short story, The Grave of The Heart Eater, was longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2019. 

 

Her English translation of Nabarun Bhattacharya's short fiction has appeared in Nabarun Bhattacharya: Aesthetics and Politics In A World after Ethics, Bloomsbury, 2020.

Her translation of Bhattacharya's novel Kangal Malshat is forthcoming from Seagull Books in fall of 2024

 

She currently lives  in Wellington, New Zealand.

A staggering debut novel of murder, loyalty, love, and survival at all costs, set in the teeming underbelly of Calcutta's most infamous neighborhood.

In Calcutta's notorious red-light district, Lalee aspires to a better life. Her unfailingly loyal client Tilu Shau has dreams too. A heady romantic and marginal novelist, Tilu is in love with the indifferent Lalee and wants to liberate her from her street life with marriage. But when a fellow sex worker and young mother is brutally murdered, the solicitous madam of the Blue Lotus invites Lalee to take the woman's place "upstairs" as a high-end escort. The offer comes with the promise of a more lucrative life but quickly spirals into violence, corruption, and unfathomable secrets that threaten to upset the fragile stability of Lalee's very existence. As Tilu is drawn deeper into his rescue mission, he and Lalee embark on life-altering journeys to escape a savage fate.

As much a page-turner as it is poignant, Small Deaths is a brilliantly drawn modern noir that exposes the reality of society's preyed-upon outcasts, their fierce resilience, and the dangerous impediments that stand in the way of their dignity, love, and survival.