The Book Drunkard Literary Festival

Attendees joined us for our delectable ‘A Taste of India’ evening with Alka Joshi and Uzma Jalaluddin.

Alka Joshi, bestselling author of The Henna Artist returned with a follow-up to that critically acclaimed novel. To celebrate, we paired with Lisa Hutchinson of The Passionate Cook’s Essentials to create a delectable evening of conversation, featuring the two fabulous novels, two recipes and two spice mixes, so that attendees could re-create the story’s dishes at home!

Alka Joshi was born in India and raised in the U.S. since the age of nine. She has a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts. At age 62, Joshi released her debut novel, The Henna Artist, which immediately became a NYT bestseller, a Reese Witherspoon Bookclub pick, was Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and is being developed for a TV series. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is its sequel.

Uzma Jalaluddin is the author of the bestselling and acclaimed novel Ayesha At Last a retelling of Pride and Prejudice set in the Toronto Muslim community, a Goodreads Choice Award Finalist, a Cosmopolitan UK Book of the Year, and a Publisher’s Weekly Book of the Year. Her new novel Hana Khan Carries On a reimagining of ‘You’ve Got Mail’ was an instant Canadian bestseller. Uzma writes a culture and parenting column for The Toronto Star. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two sons, where she also teaches high school.

We also had a special guest for this event — Alka’s 89 year old Dad! Born in a village in northeast Rajasthan, Ramesh Chandra Joshi attended MBM Engineering College in Jodhpur where he was arranged in marriage to Sudha Latika Harit in 1955. Immediately afterwards, often working in the erstwhile princely states of the Rajasthani Maharajas, he helped rebuild post-independence India, With his young family (Alka and her two brothers), he obtained his first masters at Chandigarh’s Punjab Engineering College and then a second masters and his doctorate in Civil Engineering at Iowa State University. Dr. Joshi worked in the private sector before entering academia, retiring from the University of Calgary as Professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering. As a young boy, he attended Gandhi’s freedom marches and remains an active fighter for justice and peace to this day.


In The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, henna artist Lakshmi arranges for her protégé, Malik, to intern at the Jaipur Palace in this tale rich in character, atmosphere, and lavish storytelling that continues the journey seen in The Henna Artist.


Attendees who purchased the $30 package received a copy of either The Henna Artist or The Secret Keeper of Jaipur in addition to a recipe and a homemade spice mix.

Attendees who purchased the $55 package received both The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, The Henna Artist and two recipes and spice mixes!

Both tickets included access to our exclusive event with Alka Joshi in conversation with Uzma Jalaluddin. Our special guest, Alka’s 89 year old Dad, gave us a brief cooking lesson using our spice mix!

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