Author Shilpi Suneja Discusses Her Epic Debut HOUSE OF CARAVANS

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This post, written by Cara Wood, was originally published on Dead Darlings, a blog about novel writing run by alumni of GrubStreet's Novel Incubator program.


One family burdened with division over three generations. Shilpi Suneja‘s debut novel, House of Caravans (September 2023, Milkweed Editions), chronicles the birth of Pakistan and an independent India with grace, scrutiny, and depth. Somehow, she manages this saga in just over 300 pages – her skillful prose does not shy away from the physical or emotional violence of Partition or its continued aftershocks.

My favorite moments of this novel come …

September 25, 2023 | Cara Wood


Where Do Stories Come From? An Evening with Joyce Carol Oates

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I’m a long-time Joyce Carol Oates fan: Her descriptive power builds an unreal and yet deeply resonant world that keeps you reading even though you know that around the corner something dark and terrible awaits you and her vulnerable, human characters. Stories like hers are always satisfying -- in all the muck and unpleasantness there’s something wonderfully cathartic about being shown a harsh truth.

November 6, 2015 | Cara Wood

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How Novels Get Made: The Specific Becomes Universal

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Novels are big undertakings. That’s not an epiphany, it is a fact.

For proof, you may need to look no further than your own laptop, notebook piles, or margin scribbles. If you are purely a short-form writer and still need convincing, just pick up the last good book you read and really look at it. Then, whisper “how?” reverently into the pages.

This week, authors Claire Messud and Carmiel Banasky discussed everything that goes into a novel--from early ideas to the last edits--for a crowd at Newtonville Books

October 2, 2015 | Cara Wood

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Today You Will Write Something Awesome

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“Where do you get your ideas?” It’s a cliché question with no single answer. Tracing the source of inspiration for your latest writing project can take you back years and across daydreams. The launching point of your next piece could be a news article or an overheard conversation.

 The 20+ authors of I Rate Today A -1,000 shared their origin stories at a recent book launch at the Grove Hall Branch of the Boston Public Library in Dorchester. The book, an homage to Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid and collection of fictional diary entries, was written by students …

July 8, 2015 | Cara Wood

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Memorable Memoirists: What makes a good storyteller?

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If you’ve ever been stuck at a party listening to someone else’s rambling personal anecdote, you know how important a good storyteller is to a good story. I saw two very different memoirists with recent books speak last month at Brookline Booksmith. Congressman Barney Frank provided additional color for his deeply personal and political book, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage

June 5, 2015 | Cara Wood

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