Conversations with Contemporary Women Writers: Professor Manju Jaidka

Professor Jaidka is a novelist and critic. In her talk for Leeds Metropolitan University in association with the CWWA, she speaks about and reads from her recent novel, Scandal Point, which is set in 1892, in colonial India. The handsome young ruler of an Indian princely state angers the British rulers. His fault? He has fallen in love and eloped with the Viceroy’s daughter. Not an ordinary romance, the elopement has far-reaching consequences. It results in a child who grows up unaware of his lineage but one day, like Oedipus, he discovers the truth and embarks on a journey seeking his roots. There are no records, no documents, no witnesses, no evidence. With the help of stray bits of information and semi-reliable clues he pieces together the almost incredible tale of his mother’s elopement and its tragic aftermath.

Manju Jaidka is a Professor at the Department of English & Cultural Studies at Panjab University, Chandigarh. A recipient of a UGC Text-book Award in 1994, she has also received several international fellowships including a Fulbright Research Grant to Harvard and Yale Universities in 1990-91, a Rockefeller Residency at the Bellagio Study Centre (1995), a fellowship at the Salzburg Center (1996), a Rockefeller Visiting Professorship at the University of Iowa (1998- 99), and the Lillian Robinson Fellowship from the Simone de Beauvoir Institute at the University of Concordia, Montreal in March 2008. Professor Jaidka is also the author of the novel, Spots of Time, and a play, The Seduction and Betrayal of Cat Whiskers, as well literary criticism on Indian and American literature. She is Chair of MELUS-India (The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States – India chapter) and MELOW (the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the World).

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