Shweta Taneja is a bestselling speculative fiction author from India. With seven published novels and graphic novels, she is a leading voice in feminist science fiction and fantasy, most known for her series, Anantya Tantrist Mysteries. She’s a Charles Wallace Writing Fellow. Her short story, The Daughter That Bleeds (translated in French as ‘La Fille qui saigne’ by Mikael Cabon) has been shortlisted for the prestigious Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire 2020 in France. The story was also awarded Editor’s Choice Award in 2018.
Other than novels and short stories, she also writes comics. Her graphic novel Krishna Defender of Dharma (Campfire, 2012) in a Must-Read for government schools. The Skull Rosary (2013), an indie graphic novel written by her was shortlisted for the Best Writer Award in ComicCon India. Her work has been translated to Romanian, French and Dutch.
Shweta prolifically voices her passion for Asian, feminist and diverse science fiction and fantasy. In the past, she has spoken at Cartoon Museum, London on comic trends and introduced Europe SF fans to trends in Indian Fantasy at Eurocon. She has also created extraordinary events to make people interact with speculative fiction, which include detective workshops and occult quizzes.
- They Made What? They Found What? (Hachette India, TBP)
- The Rakta Queen, an Anantya Tantrist mystery (HarperCollins India, 2018)
- The Matsya Curse, an Anantya Tantrist mystery (HarperCollins India, 2017)
- How to Steal a Ghost @ Manipal (Juggernaut Books, 2016)
- Cult of Chaos, an Anantya Tantrist mystery (Harper Collins India, 2014)
- The Ghost Hunters of Kurseong (Hachette India, 2013)
- Krishna: Defender of Dharma (Campfire India, 2013). Part of the Must-Read list for schools.
- The Skull Rosary (Holy Cow Entertainment, 2012). Short listed for Best Writer and Best Cover in Comic Con India.
- The Immortal Manifesto on Pursuing Self-Annihilation: Part of an upcoming anthology by Graphic India (TBP)
- My Zombie Babe (comic): Part of Necrobaba, an upcoming anthology of comic shorts by SyenaGiri (TBP).
- Bhaisaab’s Bespoke Brides Boutique: Part of India 2049, an upcoming anthology by Mithila Review (TBP).
- How to catch tears in a river of blood: Based in the Anantya Tantrist universe, this story is part of an upcoming anthology of South Asian SFF by a renowned publisher. (TBP)
- The Biryani Choke: Part of an anthology by INTACH on Bangalore’s history (TBP)
- The Songs that humanity lost reluctantly to Dolphins: Part of an upcoming anthology from an indie publisher in the USA (TBP)
- Les Chants que L’Humanité abandonna aux (French version of The Songs that humanity lost reluctantly to Dolphins): Translated by Thomas Bauduret, published in Galaxies No 66 (2020)
- La Fille qui saigne (French version of The Daughter That Bleeds): Translated by Mikael Cabon, this story has been shortlisted for the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire Awards of 2020 in France. (2019)
- Granny Garam’s Kitty Party : Part of Magical Women, an anthology by Hachette India. (2019)
- Agni’s Tattoo: Part of Whose Future Is It? the first anthology published by Cellarius, a collaborative SF universe based on blockchain. (2018)
- The Daughter That Bleeds: Part of The Best Asian Speculative Fiction, an anthology by Kitaab, Singapore. The story won the Editor’s Choice Award and was translated in published in Romanian, Dutch and French. (2018)
- Obsolete Baby (comic): Part of Ground Zero Fourth Volume by MetaDesiComics (2018).
- Terror Strikes back: Anthology for children Celebrate! Holi released by Hachette India.
- It’s a dog’s death (short comic): Part of Werehouse by Holy Cow Entertainment (2012)
Awards and Recognition (Chronologically)
- Finalist in prestigious French literary awards Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire (2020)
- Invited Talk on ‘Trends in South Asian SFF’ at WorldCon 2019, Dublin (2019)
- Top 50 List of Startup Women in Switzerland 2019
- Best Indian SF Reads of 2018 to The Rakta Queen, an Anantya Tantrist Mystery. (2018)
- Editor’s Choice Award for The Daughters That Bleed, short story published in Best Asian Speculative Fiction anthology and translated in French, Romanian and Dutch. (2018)
- Top Women Writers in Indian Science Fiction in Factor Daily (2018)
- Invited Talk on ‘Rise of Indian Fantasy’ at Eurocon (2018)
- Best Indian SF Reads of 2017 to The Matsya Curse, an Anantya Tantrist Mystery (2017)
- International Writing Fellow with British Council and Charles Wallace India Trust (2016)
- Invited Talk on ‘Trends in Indian Comics’ at Cartoon Museum, London (2016)
- Recommended Reading for government schools – Krishna Defender of Dharma (since 2015)
- Bestselling listing across Indian Subcontinent in Oxford, Asian Age, Bahrisons for Cult of Chaos, an Anantya Tantrist Mystery (2014)
- Best Writer Award nomination at ComicCon India (2013)
What inspires her
Gulmohar trees with their red blooms, a dead moth, a steaming hot cup of tea, the weathered lips of an old woman, or a crumpled newspaper. Her inspirations come from long walks in nature, morbid movies, passionate discussions on arbitrary questions of life, mythology and its perceptions.
Her heart thumps to the beats of Ursula Le Guin, Octavia E Butler, Roald Dahl, Lewis Carroll, Isaac Asimov, Terry Pratchett and comics by Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore. Her keyboard, family, husband and muse (who has the uncanny habit of dropping by when she’s sleeping) help her bring myriad stories to life. She’s still awed the magic it brings.
When she’s not writing novels…
She is an avid traveller, collector of folklore and urban legends and pens down articles on travel, writing, technology and delectable conspiracy theories. You can find her work in Livemint, Discover India, Huffington Post, Scroll.in, DailyO.in, and Medium.
Her storytelling passion also makes her a powerful narrative creator. She works as a program manager at Nature Conservation Foundation to convince more people to love their natural heritage and gasp at pretty birds (yes, she gets paid for this). She has also founded Cooby, a startup building open-source, blockchain-based ERP systems in Europe. (LinkedIn) She’s an advisor to Buzz India, a financial empowerment NGO for rural women and constantly looking for the next interesting thing to do. (LinkedIn)
A few good media interviews
- “Shweta Taneja’s latest fantasy novel takes a dig at patriarchy and gender inequality.” – The Hindu
- ‘Reluctant feminist’ writes a feminist thriller set in a supernatural world” – New Indian Express
- “A feminist thriller with a kickass, independent and expletive spewing heroine.” – Deccan Chronicle
- “Adventures of a tantric vigilante” – Mail Today
- “Book delves into Delhi’s underbelly” – Business Standard
Take her advice. For free.
For questions on writing, check out this section. She has build her career with the help of a lot of kindness and support of a community of writers, some much senior to her, and is always available to guide, help or generally connect with upcoming authors and writers. If you’re struggling for words, work or looking for worldly advice about writing, the publishing industry or life, reach out to her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram.