One of Singapore's favourite authors, Meira Chand, graduated with a PhD from The University of Western Australia last night.

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The author of eight novels, Meira Chand is inspired by different cultures and her work has strong themes of identity and belonging.  In Singapore - where she lives and where she was commissioned by the President to write a history of the nation - she is involved in many programs to promote literature and mentor young writers.

Her 2010 novel A Different Sky was a Book of the Month choice by the UK bookshop chain, Waterstones, and was included on popular US personality Oprah Winfrey's recommended reading list and was long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 2012.

Dr Chand has served for over a decade as an assessor and mentor in the National University of Singapore's Creative Writing Program.  She has also been closely involved since its inception with READ! Singapore, a program initiated by the National Library Board to promote the joys of reading.  She was chairperson of the Singapore Literature Prize in 2012. Dr Chand was chair for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for the region of South East Asia and South Pacific.

At UWA, she completed a PhD in Creative Writing.  This involved a novel, Brave Sisters, and an accompanying essay, A Study of Ambivalence and Change: Indian Woman - Warrior or Victim?  Both novel and essay are linked by an exploration of the issues of feminism and the impact of colonialism and the nationalist uprisings against British rule in late colonial India.

"I really appreciated the journey of scholarship and the fact that I had the guidance of my supervisor, Dr Cynthia vanden Driesen, who knew the area I was writing about very well and could offer me expert guidance," she said.

Brave Sisters is an historical novel set in the late 1930s and 1940s against a backdrop of India and South East Asia.  It explores the life of an illiterate Indian woman, Sita, condemned early to the completely disempowered state of a child widow and overwhelmed by the events of the Second World War and the Japanese occupation of Singapore. 

The essay examines the situation of Indian women during the era before Independence from British rule.  The study explores the Indian concept of shakti, dynamic female energy, and the long history in the country's religious culture of a line of powerful warrior-like women.

News Source : One of Singapore's favourite authors, Meira Chand, graduated with a PhD from The University of Western Australia last night.

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