Former Washington Post and New York Times journalist and author of “Seeking Fortune Elsewhere” Sindya Bhanoo reads at Ulrich Museum


Kyran Crist

Seeking Fortune Elsewhere, a collection of fiction short stories following immigrants, hits store shelves next week.

After spending her time telling others stories for the Washington Post and New York Times, author Sindya Bhanoo tells the stories of her fictional characters in her short story collection book “Seeking Fortune Elsewhere”.

Bhanoo shared from the story “Malliga Homes”, at the Ulrich Museum on Tuesday, March 1. “Malliga Homes” is an impactful story of the life of a widow in a retirement community who sees her future while waiting for her daughter and her family to visit from America. 

Having been a journalist first, Bhanoo shared that she came to find that her fictional writing was a lot like her journalistic writing as they are both what she calls an archive and keeping the history to show the next generations. 

“I’ve been a reporter for many years, telling the stories about other people,” Bhanoo said. “But I believe that archive, that record, journalism is a public service. We are trying to provide information to people now, but it is also a record and it makes this forever. And I think about fiction and these stories in the same way.” 

Bhanoo worked hard to get “Malliga Homes” published, it was rejected 22 times before it was published by Granta, which had rejected it once before. It also won the O. Henry Prize, which was the driving force of Granta publishing it. She encourages other writers to continue to push to get their work published and not be discouraged. 

“I think all this is to say that just publishing is so hard, it’s so brutal,” Bhanoo said. “and you just have to keep at it and believe in your work and believe in your stories and your voice and the importance of getting your stories out there, infusing the world with your work.”

The other stories in “Seeking Fortune Elsewhere” include four stories set in India, and four set in the United States. They follow stories of those in the South Indian community in the US and the family that was left behind. 

Bhanoo said she was concerned that these stories would have already been told already, but she had found that they were stories different from other ones because of the technological advancements made since these stories. 

“There’s so many wonderful writers, but I think that our concerns change over time and our sensibilities change and I realized these stories were different from other ones,” Bhanoo said. “Technology has changed for example. What doesn’t change is that families left behind and that will never change in the immigrant story.” 

Partnering with Waterman books, they were able to bring some copies of the book to Tuesday’s event, even though the book doesn’t release until the next week. Bhanoo was able to sign the books of those who were there that night and answer any questions they might have had. 

To read “Seeking Fortune Elsewhere” and the other stories it tells, it can be purchased online and at bookstores next week.