Erika Banerji

Erika Banerji

Erika Banerji was born in Assam and grew up in New Delhi.

As a child Erika learnt to read and write Bengali and Hindi. At school she won prizes for her short stories written in Hindi and then at sixteen she won first prize in a national writing competition in English. She went on to study English Literature at the university of Delhi where, inspired by the study of Dickens and Austen and in particular the Brontës, she first began to dream of becoming a writer. She came to London in her early twenties, drawn by her love of English literature and to research nineteenth century Indian women writers who defied gender barriers and wrote in English for her PhD thesis. She went on to work as a journalist, book critic and newspaper columnist before deciding to write fiction full time. She is an alumnus of ‘The Faber Academy’ Writing a Novel Course and the London Library Emerging Writers Programme.

Erika’s short stories have been published in various journals. She has been listed for the Fish Short Story Prize, Plaza Prize, Lorian Hemingway, V. S Pritchett, Bridport Prize, Bristol Prize, Brick Lane Bookshop, Mslexia, London Short Story Prize and commended in the BBC Short Story Award. Her fiction has appeared in the anthology Same Same But Different published by Everything With Words and various prize anthologies.


Q: What is the first book you remember reading or having read to you as a child?

A: My earliest memories are of my mother reading to me, Rabindranath Tagore’s children’s poems in Bengali. When I learnt to read English at school, I remember having a copy of Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare, which I read over and over again.


Q: Do you have a lucky writing talisman? If so, what is it?

A: I was handed down an antique silver pillbox from my mother. It’s shaped like a book, right down to the spine and the cover which opens to the box underneath. I keep it on my desk.


Q: Who is your personal inspiration?

A: Toni Morrison; fierce, strong, and a role model to women all over the world.