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Umi Sinha

Reading Round Lector
Newhaven, East Sussex
Umi Sinha
Image credit: India Stoughton

I wanted to be a writer from the age of six. My childhood home on a remote naval base in India was full of books (my mother was a published writer, as is my brother, Indra Sinha) and I worked my way through her bookshelves reading a mix of children’s and adult literature. I have written throughout my life. In my thirties in India I wrote some titles for the Amar Chitra Katha comic book series and had short stories published in magazines and anthologies in the UK, but I started dedicating serious time to writing after completing an MA in Creative Writing at Sussex University when I was forty-five.

There I began my historical novel, Belonging, set during the British Raj, which was published by Myriad Editions in 2015. The book explores themes of ethnicity, belonging and colonialism over three generations of a British and mixed-race family. Belonging was published in Polish, Portuguese and Indian editions and was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club Best First Novel award 2016, and the Waverton Good Read award 2017, and longlisted for the Historical Writers’ Association Goldsboro Debut Crown 2016, and the Tata Literature Live! First Book award 2016.

I have recently completed a second novel, set during the Second World War, about the contribution of the Indian Army in the Italian campaign and the exploitation of women in Italy by soldiers of all sides.

My next project, using pieces of writing I have collected over the years, is an episodic memoir about my childhood as a mixed-race child in India in the 1950s and my relationship with my Indian father whom I really only got to know as an adult. I have been featured on the WritersMosaic website where I talk about some of these experiences and their impact on my writing.


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