Official Website of Best Selling Author
When I was eight, I started writing and illustrating my first book. The Mahabharata - A Child's View went on to be published in seven language editions and sell 50,000 copies worldwide.
My second book, Sita's Ramayana, a graphic novel developed in collaboration with Patua artist Moyna Chitrakar, was on the New York Times Bestseller list for Graphic Novels.
My third book, The Missing Queen, has been published by Penguin (Viking) and Zubaan.
I has worked on the screenplay for the feature film 'Good Morning Karachi' and was head scriptwriter for the first season of 'The Defenders', a TV series produced by Tolo TV in Kabul, Afghanistan.
I live in Bangalore with two overly pampered cats, Zen and Chutki.
‘A fantastic journey . . . Do read!’ Amish
‘Meticulously researched, visually evocative and impeccably written – all the while packing one hell of a page-turning punch’ Krishna Udayasankar
The famous dancer Madhavi is at the court of the Chera King for a grand performance. The King’s first son Shenguttuvan, the crown prince of the Cheras, is getting ready for his engagement to a Velir princess. There is celebration in the air.
But when an astrologer predicts that the second son Uthiyan is destined to be greater than his elder brother, the Chera court erupts in chaos. The courtiers begin to play the brothers against each other. Life becomes dangerous for Uthiyan and the prince is forced to flee his home in the garb of a monk.
In a perilous journey beset by assassins and conspirators, he is joined by others who seek refuge at the just court of the Pandya King. But darkness is descending on the ancient city of Madurai. Warriors from the west, the single-minded and ruthless Kalabhras, have set out to conquer the prosperous Pandya capital and change the face of Tamilaham. Tormented rage and lust, beset by betrayal and terror, Uthiyan is forced to choose a side in a conflict that is certain to end in bloody violence.
The Mahabharata - A Child's View
A grand and complex epic, comparable in scale to the Greek "Iliad" and "Odyssey," "The Mahabharatha" tells an ancient tale of war, kingship, honor and revenge. It narrates the fortunes of a royal household torn by confict. Unable to decide on a suitable heir to a throne he has sworn to protect, an ancient patriarch gives in to the capricious demands of warring cousins. Hatred and envy fare into a fratricidal war.
Samhita Arni's compact and accessible narrative allows readers from other contexts to get to know this ancient tale whose massive cast of characters is part of every Indian child\'s imagination. Her beautifully illustrated version of the ancient epic is a worldwide success. It has been translated into Spanish, French, German, Italian and Portugese.
"Reading this enchanting work is really one of the best ways to approach "The Mahabharatha," both for adults as well as for children."--Roberto Calasso
The Missing Queen
It has been ten years since Ram’s return from fallen Lanka. Ayodhya is shining. Ayodhya is prosperous. But darkness lurks at the heart of the victorious regime. A pointed question piques a young journalist’s curiosity: What happened to Sita? Where is Ram’s absent wife whose abduction triggered the war with Lanka?
And so begins the journalist’s search for the missing queen. Soon her investigation attracts the notice of Ayodhya’s all-powerful secret police and its mysterious head, the Washerman. Forced to fee Ayodhya, the journalist makes her way through a war-devastated Lanka in search of answers.
In this stylish speculative thriller, Samhita Arni skilfully combines her love for mythology with riveting storytelling.
‘Pacy, gritty and very clever’—Samit Basu
‘A thrilling read’—Ashok Banker
‘Samhita Arni started telling stories from the Mahabharata, in an enchanting way, to her grandmother. And here she gets entangled at the same time in the Ramayana and today’s world’—Roberto Calasso
Sita's Ramayana shifts the point of view of the Ramayana to bring a woman's perspective to this timeless epic. Narrated by Sita herself, it is a powerful meditation on the fate of women, as they become pawns in the wars between men and kingdoms. But Sita is not just a patient victim of events - she endures her fate with fortitude, until the moment she decides to challenge it.
The book unites two women from very different backgrounds: young urban writer Samhita Arni collaborates with Patua scroll artist Moyna Chitrakar.
A New York Times Bestseller.
A 2012 USBBY Outstanding International Book.
An ALA Notable Children's Book, 2012
A Texas Library Association 2012 Maverick Graphic Novel
PRESS/ INTERVIEWS/ TALKS
Coming soon. In the meantime, here's a short snippet of me talking at the Jaipur Lit Fest
Temple Run: The Sacred Structures of the Chola Dynasty in Tamil Nadu
Published in Nat Geo Traveller India
Dancing With Spirits: Encountering Karnataka’s Supernatural Bhoothas
Published in Nat Geo Traveller India
Sita's Freedom Struggle
Published in The Indian Express
The Embrace of Contradiction: An essay on Wendy Doniger's 'The Hindus'
Published in The Caravan
Gender Doesn't Come in the Way of Nirvana
Published in The Hindu