Balli Kaur Jaswal's new novel, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows will make you relook at the rich, inner lives of the women in your families. Here are 5 things you need to know
1. Balli Kaur Jaswal's born right here in Singapore Yes, the 34-year-old also studied in CHIJ Toa Payoh apart from being raised in Japan, Russia and the Philippines. She wrote her second novel, Sugarbread, as her honours thesis as an undergraduate student at Hollins University in Virginia. Its synopsis? An account of a young Punjabi Sikh girl growing up in Singapore in the '90s, tackling racism and a woman's place in her family and society.
2. Judy Blume was a big influence on the author when she was young According to Jaswal, the Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret author was favoured because of the way she spoke to young girls about topics that were considered off-limits. Think: Sex, death, and the trials of those coming-of-age years. "She told the truth," said Jaswal in an interview.
3. Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows is not just a must-read for the Sikh community It's for anyone who's ever felt unheard or repressed. Set within the Punjabi community of Southall in West London, Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows was born out of the author's interest in uncovering the taboos about sex in the Indian community and her drive to have women rewriting their own narratives apart from those set out by society's demands. She's also heard her fair share of filthy jokes told by older Punjabi women.
4. Her book is going to be made into a movie At least, plans are on their way. The novel was released by Harper Collins/William Morrow in March, with movie rights already sold to Ridley Scott's production company, Scott Free Productions, and Film4. It's only a matter of time before this Singapore connection makes a name in Hollywood again, post-Crazy Rich Asians. 5. The author's already working on her next novel Currently writing her fourth novel, Jaswal will soon take you on a Sikh pilgrimage set in Delhi and Punjab alongside British-Indian sisters who embark on a journey to India after their mother's death.