Shweta Taneja is a bestselling author from India. With seven novels and many short stories, she is a leading voice in feminist science fiction and science communication.
Her most selling works include a unique two-in-one flipbook which covers real stories of Indian scientists: They Made What? They Found What? and graphic novel Krishna: Defender of Dharma which was made a must-read in government schools. An international movie producer has optioned the film rights of her critically-acclaimed fantasy fiction series for adults Anantya Tantrist Mysteries.
She was awarded the Best Writer Award (2013) for her work The Skull Rosary and the Editor’s Choice Award (2018) for best Asian science fiction for her science fiction story The Daughter That Bleeds (translated in French as ‘La Fille qui saigne’ by Mikael Cabon). She was a finalist in the prestigious French award Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire (2020) and has received the Charles Wallace Writing Fellowship to write in the UK.
Her work has been translated to Romanian, French and Dutch. In the past, she has spoken at Cartoon Museum, London on comic trends and introduced Europeans 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.
Shweta prolifically voices her twin passions: Writing Asian, feminist and diverse science fiction and making communication of science more accessible to the general public.
- They Made What? They Found What? (Hachette India, 2021)
- 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’, Unnamed Anthology, Graphic India (TBP)
- ‘My Zombie Babe’, an Anantya Tantrist story, Necrobaba, SyenaGiri (TBP).
- ‘How to catch tears in a river of blood’, an Anantya Tantrist story, Unnamed Anthology by a renowned publisher. (TBP)
- ‘Mars Triathlon’, Unnamed Anthology, Harper Collins India (TBP)
- ‘The Songs that humanity lost reluctantly to Dolphins’, Multispecies Cities: Solarpunk Urban Futures, World Weaver Press (2021)
- Bhaisaab’s Bespoke Brides Boutique, The Antonym Magazine (2021)
- ‘La Boutique de Mariées sur Mesure de Bhaisaab’ (French version of ‘Bhaisaab’s Bespoke Brides Boutique’), Galaxies 72 (2021)
- ‘The Biryani Choke‘, Eleven Stops to the Present, Intach (2020)
- ‘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, Galaxies No 58 (2019)
- ‘Granny Garam’s Kitty Party’, Magical Women, Hachette India. (2019)
- ‘Agni’s Tattoo‘ based in a collaborative blockchain universe, Whose Future Is It? (2018)
- ‘The Daughter That Bleeds’, The Best Asian Speculative Fiction, Kitaab, Singapore (2018)
- ‘Obsolete Baby’, Ground Zero Fourth Volume, MetaDesiComics (2018)
- ‘Terror Strikes back’, Celebrate! Holi, Hachette India (2013)
- ‘It’s a dog’s death’, Werehouse, Holy Cow Entertainment (2012)
Awards and Recognition (Chronologically)
- Judge, Spin Your Science, India Science Fest (2021)
- Bestseller and Editor’s Choice, Amazon.in for They Made What? They Found What? (2021)
- 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.
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
When Shweta’s not writing fiction…
She is an avid traveller, collector of folklore and urban legends and pens down articles on travel, writing, science, technology and delectable conspiracy theories. You can find her work in Livemint, Discover India, Huffington Post, Scroll.in, DailyO.in, and Medium.
She also works on future of internet and open-source technologies as a brand and technology storyteller with startups. She cofounded Cooby, a startup building open-source, blockchain-based ERP systems in Switzerland and is an advisor to Buzz India, a financial empowerment NGO for rural women and constantly looking for the next interesting thing to do.
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.