When a press release came for a booksigning by an author named Shobhan Bantwal, we thought we recognized the name. Sure enough, Bantwal has had two short stories published in U.S. 1 Summer Fiction issues. Her “Terror in the Mail” was published in 2004, and “Ultrasound” was included in the 2005 edition.
We called her just before press time to ask if either of those stories had made their way into Bantwal’s debut novel, “The Dowry Bride.” No, she said, the themes were very different.
Set in India, “The Dowry Bride” deals with a young bride who is about to be murdered by her in-laws because she did not bring the promised dowry. “Domestic violence of that kind is common in certain areas. mostly the northern part of India, and sometimes deep south. sometimes in the lower and sometimes in the upper classes,” says Bantwal, for whom arranged marriages are a favorite topic.
We reached Bantwal in Arizona, where she was doing book signings. Not coincidentally, she and her husband were also in Arizona to celebrate the birth of their first grandchild. “A new baby and a new book,” she says delight. Both are “doing very well so far.” Good reviews are posted on her website, and she had a good turnout for a library booksigning in Camden County.
In her day job, Bantwal works for the state Department of Labor, helping to provide services to companies and workers involved in mass layoffs.
Bantwal will sign “The Dowry Bride,” at Barnes & Noble at 425 Marketplace Boulevard in Hamilton on Saturday, September 15 at 2 p.m., and another at Plainsboro Library on Saturday, November 10.
Jay Joshi, the owner of Lawrence Day School, featured in the August 22 issue of U.S. 1, wrote to point out that though her school had been co-founded by Jeffra Nandan as a nonprofit organization, it is now a for-profit enterprise at 510 Lawrence Square Boulevard (www.lawrencedayschool.com).
Lawrence Day School shares its facilities with YingHua Day School. Founded this year and directed by Joy Zhao, it offers Chinese language immersion education for preschoolers and kindergartners (732-513-3034, www.yhds.org).
The parent organization for the YingHua Day School is the not-for-profit YingHua Language School, which gives language and culture instruction to children of all ages on Sundays at Rider University (609-530-0399, www.yinghua.org). Bonnie Laio is the founder and principal. “The YingHua Language School was so successful that we started a day school,” says Laio. The same board of directors governs both not-for-profit institutions.