I am delighted to announce the release of my sixth book, Mermaids In The Moonlight, published on the Indian subcontinent by Red Panda/Westland.
Mermaids In The Moonlight is a children’s picture book and marks my debut as an illustrator. It will be followed by a graphic novel for adults, Incantations Over Water.
A press release from my publisher about both books is here:
Selected Interviews, Reviews & Events
Virtual book launch hosted by Bahrison’s Bookstore, in conversation with Neha Singh.
An essay, “Making Up The Mermaid of Mattakalappu” in The Willowherb Review
An essay, “Ila, The Mermaid of Batticaloa” in Mermaids Monthly
“Mermaids In The Moonlight is intended to be a feminist picture book.” In conversation with Chintan Girish Modi for Hindustan Times
“Some silences come from erasures and deliberate elisions, and some silences exist because one is listening, creating the space for a truth to emerge. Both of these are honoured in Mermaids In The Moonlight and in Incantations Over Water.” In conversation with Priyanka Sacheti for Michigan Quarterly Review
“In Mermaids in the Moonlight, a mother from the diaspora takes her child to Batticaloa for the first time, and they listen to the mysterious underwater sounds in the lagoon. The child, Nilavoli, asks her mother about the story of the mermaid in the depths below, and the mother responds by telling the truth — she does not know — but also by sharing stories from around the world, interweaving them with information about heritage and history. The book is essentially a gesture of inheritance.” – In conversation with Rushda Rafeek for the Los Angeles Review of Books
“One thing that The Ammuchi Puchi—which was a book on bereavement, and took over half a decade to find a publisher because it was prose-heavy, like Mermaids—taught me was that it’s okay to be fearless. It’s okay to write complex narratives and explore heavy themes when writing for children. They already feel everything. It’s we as adults who have sometimes forgotten or lost that capacity.” – In conversation with Avantika Bhuyan for Livemint
“My family is from Mattakalappu (Sri Lanka). My mother would say when I was a child that there was a mermaid in her hometown, who could be heard singing in the lagoon on full-moon nights. This phenomenon is real, usually attributed to either shells or fish, and has been recorded and documented. As an adult, travelling to Mattakalappu for the first time, I was struck by how mermaid (meen magal) figures are all over the town, but there is an absence of lore about them. This folkloric void was my starting point for this work.” In conversation with Paromita Chakrabarti for The Indian Express
“Nestled amid the magic of mer-beings and the mysterious depths of stories from foreign lands is the tender tale of a rite of passage, an initiation into wonder and otherworldliness. A rarely seen depiction of the mother-daughter dynamics that will serve as your anchor in the vast sea of what-could-be.” – Kannalmozhi Kabilan in The New Indian Express
“Dreamlike illustrations” – Praveen Sudevan in The Hindu
“”The stories can hold safe space for adults, and children to understand that the world is kind and cruel at the same time, and to tell children that when life becomes overwhelming, curling up in the lap of stories could be restorative. Amma gives Nilavoli many things – truth, imagination, curiosity, and the cultures of many peoples. A child loved like that can make the healing less painful.” – The Bookdog
“Doubt and faith are equally valued in this book: as a work steeped in collective loss, and which taps into collective lore, I have taken care to acknowledge lacunae, and to leave open-ended questions exactly as they are.” – A picture-essay on the book’s illustrations in Scroll
“Mesmerising… The mythology of mermaids has always enthralled children but I love that this book dives a little deeper into the mythos and explores strong female identities…” – Toka Box
“…a sheer treat for the senses… The book’s vibrant illustrations make the work unpredictable, and yet alive, just like the evocative prose.” – Mid-Day
A session at the Hyderabad Literary Festival, with Dr. Vijay Kumar Tadakamalla and Savie Karnel.
A session at the Atta Galatta Bangalore Literature Festival, with Priya Muthukumar
A conversation with Storyteller Bookstore
“Over and over I have read, to my seven-year-old daughter, Westland author Sharanya Manivannan’s Mermaids in the Moonlight. I received Mermaids as a gift from a friend who breathes books like air, and my daughter and I have both loved it so dearly.” – Durba Chattaraj in Scroll