Avni Doshi answers 16 quickfire questions on writing, reading and her creative inspirations.

Avni Doshi has been longlisted for the 2021 Women’s Prize for Fiction for her debut novel Burnt Sugar. We caught up with her to ask some quickfire questions about her writing habits and inspirations.

1. Describe in three words how it feels to be longlisted for the Women’s Prize.

Surprised. Joyful. Moved.

2. What inspired you to write Burnt Sugar?

One Hundred Years of Solitude, my grandmother’s Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, and the questions I had about maternal ambivalence.

3. What is the best book you’ve read in lockdown?

Luster by Raven Leilani

4. Which women writer do you think is most underrated?

Fleur Jaeggy

5. What was the first thing you ever wrote?

A short story about a crocodile in the third grade.

6. What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Focus on the process, not the product.

7. Which book do you most often buy for friends?

Motherhood by Sheila Heti

8. If I didn’t write, I would be ____

A florist

9. I can’t write without _____

Muji pens

10. My bookshelves are ____

A mess

11. My favourite bookshop is ____

Kitab Khana in Mumbai

12. My favourite fictional character is ____

That’s so hard. I think about Yeong-hye (from Han Kang’s The Vegetarian) and Elaine Risley (from Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye) a lot.

13. Historical fiction or science fiction?


14. Ali Smith or Zadie Smith?


15. Bridgerton or Pride & Prejudice?


16. Plotting in advance or going with the flow?

I plotted in the beginning but going with the flow worked best in the end.

Burnt Sugar

by Avni Doshi

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