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Library holding virtual event with Alka Joshi, author of ‘The Henna Artist’
Alka Joshi
Alka Joshi, author of the New York Times best-selling novel The Henna Artist, will speak with local readers in an online event hosted by Forsyth County Public Library at 7 p.m, Thursday, March 25.

Alka Joshi, author of the New York Times best-selling novel 'The Henna Artist,' will speak with local readers in an online event hosted by Forsyth County Public Library at 7 p.m, Thursday, March 25. Admission to the virtual event is free, but advance registration is required on the library’s website.

“Ms. Joshi will talk about her debut novel The Henna Artist and its forthcoming sequel, 'The Secret Keeper of Jaipur.' She will also talk about her writing process and adapting a novel for television,” said Tracy Walker, FCPL programming manager.

Joshi was born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, and has lived in the U.S. since the age of 9. While 'The Henna Artist' is her first novel, Joshi has always been a writer and spent 30 years of her career writing commercials and marketing copy for her own ad agency. Then, with her husband’s encouragement, she decided to try writing fiction and enrolled in a creative writing program at California College of the Arts.

Joshi said that her instructors were supportive and she began to feel like a semi-serious writer of fiction.

“It wasn’t until my literary agent notified me that MIRA Books, a division of Harper Collins, had sent a really good contract that I realized I’d become an author,” Joshi said.

The Henna Artist, Joshi’s debut novel, tells the story of 17-year-old girl named Lakshmi, who escapes an abusive arranged marriage in the 1950s and makes her way alone from her rural village to the vibrant pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the henna artist — and confidante — most in demand to the wealthy women of the upper class. Trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own, until she is confronted by her husband who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow — a sister Lakshmi never knew she had.


The novel was Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and was the May 2020 selection for Reese Witherspoon’s book club, among other honors. The Henna Artist is also in development for an episodic television series starring Freida Pinto.

A sequel entitled The Secret Keeper of Jaipur will be released June 22 and is set in 1969. Malik, Lashmi’s young helper from the first novel, becomes an educated young man apprenticed at the Jaipur Palace and working on building the state-of-the-art public movie house when he becomes ensnared in a smuggling scheme that threatens all he aspires to, including the woman he loves. 

Joshi will give almost daily online appearances to talk with readers in the run up to the release of The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, while continuing to research and write the final book in the trilogy. She is also active on social media, particularly Instagram and YouTube, where she speaks on the process of writing, the books she loves, and the culture, fashions, and food found in her books.

“We’re so excited to have Alka Joshi joining us for this virtual presentation. So many of our patrons have enjoyed her debut novel and will enjoy this opportunity to talk with her and learn more about the culture and characters in this trilogy,” Walker said.

Joshi’s talk will also include advice for aspiring writers about imagining storylines, writing when inspiration strikes, and the process of publishing. She’ll also have a bit of advice for aspiring screenwriters from her experiences adapting The Henna Artist for television.

An Evening with Alka Joshi will be hosted on GoToMeeting and admission is free. For more information, or to register, visit www.forsythpl.org