From fiction and memoirs to children’s books – our top picks of Indian women authors in 2020

By Rekha Balakrishnan
December 09, 2020, Updated on : Fri Apr 30 2021 12:45:46 GMT+0000
From fiction and memoirs to children’s books – our top picks of Indian women authors in 2020
COVID-19 and the ensuing social distancing meant we turned our attention to our neglected best friends: books. From funny memoirs to mushy romances, these Indian authors and their books staked claim to our attention in 2020.
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One would have thought that the pandemic would play spoilsport for book launches, but 2020 surprisingly saw a number of books in various genres being released. The unprecedented situation also brought along more time to explore books, and Indian authors didn’t disappoint on that front.


From funny memoirs and real-life stories to mushy romances and children’s books, a slew of Indian authors and their books caught our attention and made it to HerStory’s reading list this year.


Here are some of our top picks of the year.

Tahira Kashyap Khurrana, The 10 Commandments of Being a Woman

A rip-roaring and funny take on her life, director and screen writer Tahira Kashyap Khurrana made us laugh with every line as she navigated life’s different paths with huge dollops of humour. Written in a breezy style, the book also inspires women to take life and its challenges head-on while retaining a sense of humour in every situation. The rib-ticklingly funny incidents start in the first chapter itself – when she writes about being a gawky teenager, the last in her class to get her period, and how she thought she’d never be able to wear a bra. From then on, it’s only laughs all the way.

Preeti Shenoy, When Love Came Calling

There is a 19-year-old girl named Puja who is lost, and doesn’t know what she wants to do in life. Then there is 20-year-old Arush, who is the polar opposite of Puja. Arush is a British citizen and has never been to India. When they meet, they never expect that the chain of events that occurs will change them so much. Preeti Shenoy deals with looking for love, longing, finding oneself, and the realisation that things don’t always go the way you want them to, especially when it comes to love in her 13th book, When Love Came Calling.


It deals with several themes like finding oneself, sibling rivalry, family relationships, and parenting. The book is extremely gripping and is a fun, fast read.

Nisha Susan, The Women Who Forgot to Invent Facebook and Other Stories.

Love, violence, intimacy, friendship, and the whirl that technology brings to the life of a millennial finds resonance in journalist Nisha Susan’s debut book, The Women Who Forgot to Invent Facebook and Other Stories. The stories are stark and emotionally different - a classical musician finds love in a chatroom, a young mother who finds a job monitoring content for a social media firm, or a cook deeply worried over her daughter’s telephone conversations. Nisha effortlessly takes us through different lives, and we feel emotions of helplessness, agony and - most of all - love.

Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava, Stoned, Shamed, Depressed: An Explosive Account of the Secret Lives of India's Teens

Journalist-turned-author Jyotsna Bhargava’s book Stoned, Shamed, Depressed: An Explosive Account of the Secret Lives of India’s Teens is an eye-opener in different directions. It’s a chilling, real-life collection of experiences of secret lives of India’s urban teens. Their struggles with substance abuse, social media, gaming, peer pressure, bullying, body shaming, and the resultant physical and mental health issues find resonance in this book as they traverse the journey from childhood to adulthood. Drawn from stories across India, the accounts make you sit up and think – where is this generation heading, and what can be done to stem the rot?

Rohini Nilekani, The Hungry Little Sky Monster

Rohini Nilekani

When Juggernaut rolled out its Kids’ List of the year, it came as no surprise to see author-philanthropist Rohini Nilekani on it. The co-founder of Pratham Books, and the writer of many children’s stories, Rohini is always at the forefront to promote reading among the younger generation. She has written a number of children’s books under the pen name Noni, and is well known for her character, Sringeri Srinivas. The Hungry Little Sky Monster, written for kids between two and five years old, is Rohini’s first children’s book foray outside Pratham. Wondering why the moon wanes, this small fable for children speaks of a scenario where an imaginary sky monster is let loose.


Edited by Teja Lele

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