Alka Joshi

New York Times Bestselling Novelist

Readings & Lecture Topics

  • An Evening with Alka Joshi


“Joshi masterfully balances a yearning for self-discovery with the need for familial love.” –Publishers Weekly

Born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, Alka Joshi has lived in the U.S. since the age of nine. She is the author of the bestselling novel The Henna Artist (Harper Collins, 2020), which was a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick and a New York Times Best Seller.

Vivid and compelling, the novel portrays one woman’s struggle for fulfillment in a society pivoting between the traditional and the modern. The Henna Artist opens a door into a world that is at once lush and fascinating, stark and cruel. Of Joshi’s debut, author Sujata Massey says, “Romantic, old-time Rajasthan leaps to life in the skilled hands of Alka Joshi. The Henna Artist brims over with richly drawn customs, locations, and characters. I can hardly wait for Alka Joshi’s next masterpiece.” And the Historical Novel Society notes, “The determination of women to transform their lives and make something of their gifts is a theme that underscores Joshi’s novel.”

Joshi graduated from Stanford University and worked in the fields of advertising and PR before starting her own marketing consultancy. In 2011, she obtained her MFA in Creative Writing from the California College of Arts in San Francisco, California.


Born in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, Alka Joshi has lived in the U.S. since the age of nine. She is the author of the bestselling novel The Henna Artist, which was a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick and a New York Times Best Seller. Joshi graduated from Stanford University and worked in the fields of advertising and PR before starting her own marketing consultancy. In 2011, she obtained her MFA in Creative Writing from the California College of Arts in San Francisco, California.


THE HENNA ARTIST (Novel, 2020)
Escaping from an abusive marriage, seventeen-year-old Lakshmi makes her way alone to the vibrant 1950s pink city of Jaipur. There she becomes the most highly requested henna artist—and confidante—to the wealthy women of the upper class. But trusted with the secrets of the wealthy, she can never reveal her own. Known for her original designs and sage advice, Lakshmi must tread carefully to avoid the jealous gossips who could ruin her reputation and her livelihood. As she pursues her dream of an independent life, she is startled one day when she is confronted by her husband, who has tracked her down these many years later with a high-spirited young girl in tow—a sister Lakshmi never knew she had. Suddenly the caution that she has carefully cultivated as protection is threatened. Still she perseveres, applying her talents and lifting up those that surround her as she does.