Shankari Chandran’s newest manuscript acquired by Ultimo Press

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We’re thrilled to hear that Shankari Chandran has had her latest novel Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens snapped up by Ultimo Press. Shankari is one of our superstar alumnae who found publishing success with her debut novel The Barrier after the Crime and Thriller Writing course at the Australian Writers' Centre.

“This is an evocative, layered novel – a love letter to storytelling and found families,” said Robert Wakins, Ultimo Press Publishing Director, in a press release. “Shankari is an extraordinarily talented writer – and Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens is unafraid to tackle big themes and real contemporary issues through the eyes of rich, interesting characters. We can’t wait to share this book with readers everywhere.”

Shankari’s latest book is set in a nursing home, quite different from the starkly imagined dystopian future of her first novel. But once again, Shankari tackles complex and universal themes.

“I wrote Chai Time because I wanted to explore home, without apology and without deference to the silencing gratitude that was expected of me as the child of brown migrant Australians,” Shankari said. “I wanted to write about the Australia that I experience, love and sometimes fear – a place of refuge for my family but also a place of many contradictions.”

Ultimo Press will publish Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens in March 2022. Congratulations, Shankari, and here’s to many, many more publishing successes.

About Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens:

Cinnamon Gardens Nursing Home is nestled in the quiet suburb of Westgrove, Sydney – populated with residents with colourful histories, each with their own secrets, triumphs and failings. This is their safe place, an oasis of familiar delights – a beautiful garden, a busy kitchen and a bountiful recreation schedule.

But this ordinary neighbourhood is not without its prejudices. The serenity of Cinnamon Gardens is threatened by malignant forces more interested in what makes this refuge different rather than embracing the calm companionship that makes this place home to so many. As those who challenge the residents’ existence make their stand against the nursing home with devastating consequences, our characters are forced to reckon with a country divided.

Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens is about family and memory, community and race, but is ultimately a love letter to storytelling and the relationships we form through the stories we tell.

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