Amulya Malladi (born 1974 in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, India) is an author. She earned her bachelor's degree in electronics engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India and her masters degree in journalism from the University of Memphis, Tennessee, United States.
After graduating from the University of Memphis, she worked as an online editor for a high-tech publishing house in San Francisco and then as a marketing manager for a software company in the Silicon Valley.
Amulya Malladi was born in 1974 in a small town called Sagar, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh in India. Due to Malladi's father's occupation in the Indian Army, Amulya lived all over the country ranging from the Himalayan foothills to the southern city of Madras.
At the age of 11, when she found herself immersed in a world of goblins, pixies and fairies in the works of Enid Blyton, she wrote her first handwritten book of 50 pages. She once said that her affection and affinity towards writing influenced her academic choices. Though she first earned her Bachelor's degree in electrical and electronics engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, she followed it up with a Master's degree in journalism from University of Memphis, Tennessee. After gaining the journalism degree, she worked as a copy writer and a marketing manager for a software company in Silicon Valley, California.
A Breath of Fresh Air
In an interview, she spoke about the influences behind her first book, A Breath of Fresh Air (2002). While she was nine years old, her family was living in the Indian city of Bhopal because her father was posted in the Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. During that time, on the night of December 3, 1984, methyl isocyanate gas leaked from Bhopal's Union Carbide plant that killed many people. When this gas tragedy occurred, her family and she were staying at the Army Center which was a few kilometers away from the plant. Due to the wind that blew in a direction opposite to theirs, they remained unaffected by the gas leak. However, she remembered how those affected described the methyl isocyanate gas as chili powder in their lungs. These images stayed with her and took the form of a story, which she wanted to tell but had no idea how to. While living in Utah, the writing process for her first novel began.
The San Francisco Weekly wrote in its review about this book:
Amulya Malladi's gemlike first novel has a provocative, almost absurd concept. Built on too-familiar notions about womanhood, fidelity, and family...But, the quality of Malladi's writing elevates Fresh Air well above standard-issue book-club fodder, and her strong control over plot helps her avoid the overwritten narrative drift that plagues most first novels. The prose ... is economical, more Raymond Carver than Bharati Mukherjee. Plainly told, Malladi's story is a fine study of the tenuous control we have over love and memory.
A review from the TIME magazine said:
Malladi's subject is...compelling the survivors of the Bhopal tragedy remain neglected and angry after 18 years. [Malladi] was a child in Bhopal when the disaster happened and wasn't affected because her house was upwind of the Carbide factory. The victims of the accident now total 14,000, a number Malladi humanizes by keeping her story intimate.
The Mango Season
As to how Malladi came up with the title and names of the characters from The Mango Season, she said in an interview that unless she has a title of the book she is writing, she cannot move on. Same is the case with the names of her characters from her works of literature. Most of the influences on her characters came from her Hyderabad connection, which she corroborated by saying, "I think it’s easier to write about a place you’ve lived in. The research element definitely shrinks and you can write more confidently. I also feel I have an obligation to write about a place I’ve lived in. I have moved a lot in my life, as a child and even as an adult, and I just feel that it would be such a waste if I wouldn’t write about the places I have lived in." She said that writing this book was like taking a trip to Hyderabad.
A review from the Santa Monica Mirror said:
Amulya Malladi lays India out like a living picture before her readers. The smells curl out through the spine of the book, the tastes leave our throats burning with an unknown spice. The heat causes sweat to run down our backs, the curious sounds block the more familiar ones of cars and traffic from our ears.
- A Breath of Fresh Air, Penguin Books (2002)
- The Mango Season, Ballantine Books (2003)
- Serving Crazy with Curry, Piatkus Books (2004)
- Song of the Cuckoo Bird, Ballantine Books (2005)
- The Sound of Language, Ballantine Books (2007)
- "Biography: Amulya Malladi". Bookbrowse.com. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Vido, Jennifer (2008-01-01). "Interview with Amulya Malladi". Archived from the original on 5 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Sunderesan, Indu. "Author biography". Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- AUTHOR'S NOTE by Amulya Malladi at Amulyamalladi.com, accessed 28 February 2008
- Malladi, Amulya. "A Note From Amulya Malladi". Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Athitakis, Mark (2002-07-31). "Book review: A Breath of Fresh Air". Archived from the original on 21 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Hempel, Jessi (2002-07-31). "Book reviews: A Breath of Fresh Air". TIME. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Raghupathi, Priya. "A Conversation with Amulya Malladi". Random House Inc. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Stecher, Leah (2003-09-23). "Mangoes vs. Big Macs". Santa Monica Mirror. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- Official Website
- A Novel Occupation, Nirali Magazine, November 2004
- All About Books...And Life
- The Boston Globe reviews Song of the Cuckoo Bird
- BookReporter.com review of The Mango Season
- India Currents reviews Song of the Cuckoo Bird
- Santa Monica Mirror reviews The Mango Season
- The San Francisco Weekly reviews A Breath of Fresh Air