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Anna-Marie Souza lives in Horton, a suburb on the hem of London, a far cry from the city of Bombay from which her parents had arrived one cold December day in 1989, two Goans in search of a new life. Born in this land of their dreams, raised in a broken home, Anna-Marie has grown up into a state of constant and indefinable yearning. She belongs to the sisterhood of swans seeking to pair for life, curving their necks to entwine with the perfect mate. Only, she has realized, her species is fated to disappointment. Her disastrous choice in men is fuelled not just by a chaotic childhood but by a loss of sexual agency as she embarks on a series of doomed relationships.
Set against a cast of intriguing female characters—Anna-Marie’s Indian-hating Indian mother; her best mate, Sujata, haunted by thoughts of suicide; and Jassie, the sharp-tongued beautician at Bollywood Style Salon—is an ensemble of men who are serial philanderers or, worse still, token brown Conservative party members. In this shaky world, Anna-Marie navigates through the pain of a troubled coming of age, while trying to find her place as a second-generation Indian immigrant.
Selma Carvalho is a British-Asian writer whose work explores themes of migration, memory and belonging. She is the author of three non-fiction books documenting the Goan presence in colonial East Africa. She led the Oral Histories of British-Goans Project (2011-2014) funded by the UK Heritage Lottery Fund. Her short fiction, in English and in Portuguese translation, has been published in journals like Litro and Lighthouse and anthologies published by Comma Press and Kingston University Press. She is also the editor of two volumes of The Brave New World of Goan Writing & Art (2018 and 2020). Her work has been shortlisted for several literary prizes, notably the London Short Story Prize, the Dinesh Allirajah Prize and the New Asian Writing Prize. She is the winner of the Leicester Writes Prize 2018 and her collection of short stories was a finalist for the prestigious SI Leeds Literary Prize 2018. Sisterhood of Swans is her debut novel and was shortlisted for the Mslexia Novella Prize 2018 in the UK. Selma lives in London.