Guest Columnists

Welcome to our guest column series "Drawn from Memory: Reflections on the Art of Illustration."

JJ Books has invited well known writers to recall images that have inspired their work, from Brahma to Beardsley and beyond.


Manjula Padmanabhan

Manjula Padmanabhan is an author, cartoonist, illustrator and playwright. During the eighties and nineties, she drew a comic strip based on a female character called Suki, who appeared weekly in the Sunday Observer in Bombay and later daily in The Pioneer in New Delhi.

She has illustrated over twenty books for children, her most recent title being The World Tour Mystery in 2011. She published her first collection of short stories, Hot Death, Cold Soup in 1996.

Her play Harvest won first prize in the Onassis Prize for Theater, in Greece, in 1997. In 2008, she published Escape, a science-fiction novel set in a dystopian future and has recently completed its sequel, tentatively entitled Island.

Her latest collection of short stories, Three Virgins and Other Stories was published last month.

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Manjula Padmanabhan on William Heath Robinson

Prajwal Parajuly

When Prajwal Parajuly's debut collection The Gurkha's Daughter was published in 2012 to international acclaim, critics hailed him as 'the next big thing in south Asian fiction.' A Nepali-speaking Indian, Prajwal has spent this year as the first Writer-in-Residence at the University of Oxford's Centre for Hindu Studies. His first novel, Land Where I Flee will be published worldwide from November.

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Prajwal Parajuly on Max Beerbohm

Anita Sethi

Anita Sethi is an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster who has written for several national and international newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Observer, The Independent, The Independent on Sunday, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The National, New Statesman, Granta, Harpers Bazaar, Times Literary Supplement and BBC Travel among others. She has worked variously as a columnist, critic and freelance features writer.  In broadcasting she has appeared as a guest critic and commentator, panellist and presenter on several channels including BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and ABC Australia. She has been published in several anthologies and is currently completing a book.

Her website is at and she tweets at

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Anita Sethi on ‘The Blind Men and the Elephant’