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

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