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Balli Kaur Jaswal was born in Singapore and has lived all around the world, including Australia, Japan, Russia, the Philippines, Turkey, the US and the UK, where she was a writer in residence at UEA. Her novel, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, was inspired by the time she spent in Southall. She now lives in Singapore.
Author photo © Susan Gordon-Brown
An enchanting story with real strength, oodles of charm, warmth and laughter. When Nikki starts a teaching job at a temple, she discovers a class of widows full of earthy tales. Her unauthorised story time with the women brings unwanted attention and danger into their lives. Balli Kaur Jaswal writes with a beautiful balance, humour walks alongside menace, while challenging preconceived ideas. I felt as though a door was opened, allowing more than a glimpse into the lives of these Punajbi women. I met them, grew to love them, laughed, celebrated, cried with them. The eye-opening colour and wit of the stories within the story highlight the fear and resignation they feel. With a real sense of community, yet not shying away from darker and more sinister topics, I flew through this novel on rollercoaster rails of emotion. ‘Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows’ is a fiercely alive and resilient tale with real heart and passion, I adored it.
Courage, strength and erotica is at the heart of this humorous, heart-warming tale about a clash of cultures and the women in our lives we should never take for granted. Nikki is a modern girl living in London who is determined to live life on her own terms. She’s also Punjabi. Her mother hasn’t quite forgiven her for dropping out of law school, or selfishly moving from the family home to work in a pub outside of their community. Sister Mindi, to her horror, wants an arranged marriage and Nikki has never felt more alienated from her family and the traditional values they embrace. When she begins teaching a creative writing class for Punjabi widows, Nikki is surprised by the strength and passion that lies within the women and the secrets they hold. Before long stories begin to emerge. They are good, full of erotic description and give the women a platform to be heard for the first time in their lives. Before long the stories are being shared outside the classroom. However, something darker lies beneath the revered community and its traditions, something that brings danger to this group of women who wish for nothing more than to express themselves and move away from the shadows. A deeper truth is soon exposed, a truth that will send shockwaves throughout the community, bringing danger to both Nikki and the group. A great read filled with memorable characters and their stories. ~ Shelley Fallows
Grab your passport and let the Shergill sisters take you on a journey... Meet the Shergill Sisters. The know-it-all, Rajni. The drama queen, Jezmeen. The golden child, Shirina. They have never been close. But their mother's dying wish was for them to take a pilgrimage across India together, to carry out her final rites. And so, the sisters are thrown together for one last (and very strange) family holiday. The three women seem to have nothing in common, apart from the fact that each of them has a secret she would prefer to keep hidden. But as one unlikely adventure follows another, it's not long before they start to realise that they might need each other now more than ever. After all, there are no secrets between sisters... Readers love the Shergill sisters! 'Fresh, funny and moving' 'A heartwarming story' 'Funny and poignant' 'Wonderfully written'
Reese Witherspoon's March Book Club Pick!'Big-hearted, earthy and funny... A rattlingly good story' Deborah Moggach, The Best Exotic Marigold HotelEvery woman has a secret life...When Nikki takes a creative writing job at her local temple, with visions of emancipating the women of the community she left behind as a self-important teenager, she's shocked to discover a group of barely literate women who have no interest in her ideals.Yet to her surprise, the white dupatta of the widow hides more than just their modesty - these are women who have spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands; being dutiful, raising children and going to temple, but whose inner lives are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories. But as they begin to open up to each other about womanhood, sexuality, and the dark secrets within the community, Nikki realises that the illicit nature of the class may place them all in danger.East meets west and tradition clashes with modernity in a thought-provoking cross-cultural novel that might make you look again at the women in your life...