Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens – to be published in March 2022

I am so excited to announce that my novel CHAI TIME AT CINNAMON GARDENS will be published by Ultimo Press in March 2022. This novel could not have been written without the support of the Blake-Beckett Trust Scholarship and the Create NSW Writers Fellowship (2019).


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 story-telling and the relationships we form through the stories we tell.

‘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. We are supposed to be a successful multicultural experiment. But there’s a very strong narrative in the public space about what it means to be Australian and what it means to be unAustralian. Diversity is defined with reference to a white Australian norm and it’s only allowed to exist if it doesn’t threaten or offend white Australia. 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.’

– Shankari Chandran

Re-writing the wrongs

Looking forward to speaking at this next week, with the National Speaker’s Association, Austin TX Chapter:

Song of the Sun God – the TV show (maybe, fingers crossed)

THIS HAPPENED!! – There’s a long way to go, raising funding etc, but this is an important step for Song of the Sun God, and I’m super excited to share it with you. A very big thank you to Karen Radzyner (Dragonet Films) for believing in my work from the start. I love working with producers, Karen R, Claire Mundell (Synchronicity Films) and scriptwriter Olivia Hetreed on this journey.

EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-nominated Girl With A Pearl Earring writer Olivia Hetreed is to adapt Shankari Chandran’s debut novel Song Of The Sun God for Synchronicity Films, producer of Jenna Coleman-fronted BBC drama The Cry, and Australia’s Dragonet Films.

Hetreed is working on a six-part series based on the 2017 novel, which is a family saga that brings to light an untold story of the conflict in Sri Lanka during the country’s two-decade-long civil war.

The novel is set across three generations, beginning in 1948 when the country gained independence, and journeying to the present day. Hetreed’s adaptation will focus on the youngest generation through Leela, a young woman living in London, who is disconnected from her culture and long-held family secrets (READ MORE IN THE LINK BELOW)

‘Girl With A Pearl Earring’ Writer Olivia Hetreed Teams With Synchronicity Films To Adapt ‘Song Of The Sun God’ For TV

NSW Writers’ Fellow for 2018/2019 – Create NSW

I am thrilled and deeply grateful – the NSW Government has awarded me a Create NSW Artform Fellowship for 2018/19. This grant will make a huge difference to my career. It will enable me to travel to Sri Lanka to research my new work, Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens. I also hope to develop The Phantom Heart (for the proposed Ellie Ryder series) and undertake training and residencies. Being the NSW Writers’ Fellow for 2018/2019 is such an honour. Thank you Create NSW for your support, encouragement and faith.

Jonathan O’Dea, Member for Davidson commented too. He said: “This is incredibly exciting news for Shankari. I am delighted that she has received this prestigious Create NSW Fellowship and look forward to the positive impact on her literary career.”

He’s right. My children said, “Good job, Mummy. Can we have extra screen time to celebrate?”

Interview with the North Shore Times

You know how I hate having my photo taken? Well, for a day, the local streets were littered with this article (link below). I’m hugely grateful to Caroline Jumpertz and the North Shore Times for this profile of my work and the recent fellowship.

Read more about it here:

North Shore Times 15 Feb 2019


Dublin Literary Award 2019 – Song of the Sun God on the Long List

Public libraries are my favourite place in the whole world. Thank you Colombo Public Library for nominating Song of the Sun God. Here it is on the long-list:…/song-of-the-sun-god/

PRESS CUTTINGS – a summary

I’ve pulled together a summary of my press cuttings (in case anyone is Googling me…):


ABC Conversations with Richard Fidler: 

The Australian:…shankari…/%20a4310823626c4853e60a96fa9ad4d3d8

The Sydney Morning Herald (Pick of the Week):

Book review:



Scroll India Review:

The Economist:

The Island Review:

SBS Tamil Radio Interview: and

The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka):

Tamil Culture (Diaspora Website):




I have also been featured extensively in Sri Lanka in Hi! Magazine (a popular lifestyle magazine), Sri Lankan papers, the Subcontinent Voice (an Australian South Asian paper) and numerous book review sites.

The Norma K Hemming Award 2018 – The Barrier shortlisted

The Barrier has been shortlisted for the 2018 Norma K Hemming Award for Speculative Fiction. I am thrilled to be on this list with exceptional writers (Claire G Coleman and Julie Koh to name just two). Here’s the blurb:

The Norma K Hemming Award, under the auspices of the Australian Science Fiction Foundation (ASFF), announces the 2018 finalists.

The Australian Science Fiction Foundation (ASFF) is delighted to announce the 2018 shortlists for the Norma K Hemming Award, which covers works published in 2016-2017. Designed to recognise excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class or disability in a published speculative fiction work, the jury of the Norma K Hemming Award considered 130 entries published in 2016 and 2017 across the long and short form categories, comprised of short fiction, novellas, novels, edited anthologies, collections, graphic novels and stage plays.

2018 Norma K Hemming Finalists Announcement

Interview – Allen & Overy Alumni Yearbook 2017

So lovely to be featured in the A&O Alumni Yearbook. The decade at Allen & Overy was wonderful – spent with dedicated friends, clients and colleagues. I learnt so much about the role lawyers can play in the delivery of social justice. The work features in my creative writing and the way we raise our children. I left the firm grateful for the opportunity to work there and the friends who have stayed with me.

Review – Emily Maguire and the Feminist Writers Festival

I think Emily Maguire just recommended both my books as her favourite feminist reads of 2017.

Yep. I have no words, just gratitude.