Minal Hajratwala first visited Fiji at age four, when she met her grandmothers for the first time and got a fishbone stuck in her foot. She returned numerous times, interviewing relatives and poring through archives to research her award-winning epic Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents. Called “incomparable” by Alice Walker and “searingly honest” by the Washington Post, the book won four literary awards in the United States. It opens with the story of her great-grandfather, who first migrated to Fiji in 1908.
For this edition of Moon Fiji, she was delighted to scout out local hotspots, talent, and natural beauty, underwater as well as above ground, as a PADI-certified diver. Having traveled to islands all over the world, from the Philippines to the Seychelles to the Bahamas, Minal finds that despite threats from climate change and globalization, Fiji remains one of the most welcoming and gorgeous places on earth.
A graduate of Stanford University, Minal is the author of a critically acclaimed poetry book, Bountiful Instructions for Enlightenment, and editor of the groundbreaking anthology Out! Stories from the New Queer India. She is the recipient of several writing awards including a professional fellowship at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a Fulbright senior fellowship to India. She is a co-founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective. She lives in California, where she coaches writers, teaches, and lectures widely through her Write Like a Unicorn enterprise.
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