About me

Priya was born in London. Her parents moved to Kenya when she was a year old. At sixteen she went to a boarding school near London, but Nairobi remained her home until she was twenty, when her family moved back to the UK.

Always an avid reader, Priya's own attempts at storytelling began, rather ingloriously, through her efforts to avoid sports lessons. Elaborate excuses were invented, letters citing medical problems were written, and parental signatures forged, in an attempt to evade anything that involved moving fast enough to work up a sweat.

Priya studied English literature at the University of Bristol. There she became too paralyzed by the greatness of other people's writing to dare follow her own desire to write.

After graduating Priya worked in advertising for three years. The job sapped her soul and got her obsessing over what she could do to make sure she never had to work in an office again.

Then Priya's partner offered her the chance to go and spend some time with him in Berlin, and try to write the novel she'd been dreaming about. She quit her job, left her friends and family and moved to a city where she didn't speak the language. There she began to write. Two years later, her first novel Ishq & Mushq was finished.

Priya's first book explored themes and places closely related to her own life. The journey of the fictional characters, from India to East Africa to Great Britain, reflects the trajectory of her own family. Ishq & Mushq came second in the World Book Day 'Book to Talk priya 2008' competition. The novel was also short-listed for a Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and long-listed for the Dylan Thomas Award and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

The story told in Priya's second book, The Obscure Logic of the Heart, is further from her own experience, yet the issues it explores are more dear to her. Part of the challenge she set herself in the new book was to inhabit and portray mindsets alien to her own. As an atheist she examines sympathetically the nature of faith, as a pacifist she seeks to work out the motives of men who enable the illegal arms trade to flourish, as a hopeless romantic she creates a heroine who loves passionately but cannot simply follow her heart.

Priya is a supporter of the Control Arms Campaign. She is keen to be a more active advocate in getting all nations of the world to sign up to a legally binding Arms Trade Treaty. Priya is also a fan of Peter Singer's The Life You can Save, and seeks to live up to the ideals for giving outlined in that book.

In July 2010, Priya founded Authors for Peace. It is intended to be a platform from which authors can actively use literature in different ways to promote peace. The first Authors for Peace event was a global, live, online, 24-hour reading, done by 80 authors from around the world, and hosted by Priya, on the UN's International Day of Peace, 21st September 2010. The event was approved as a Guinness World Record. For more info, please visit: www.authorsforpeace.com

Photography by: Heike Steinweg