Today we’d like to introduce you to Reetika Khanna Nijhawan.
Reetika, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
“My brother is such a dummy, who always wants to fill up his tummy.” These were the opening lines to the poem I wrote about my little brother—who I loved and loathed in equal measure—when I was ten years old. My father applauded the page-long verse and read it out loud in theatric oration. In that singular moment, I fell in love with the idea of weaving words in clever ways to articulate angst and elation, inquiries and discoveries.
Born and raised in small-town India, as a child I voyaged across the world with my father who was a sailor in the merchant navy. Yielding to wanderlust after earning a degree in Psychology, I became a flight attendant for Lufthansa, all the while scribbling words on paper napkins whenever inspiration struck. During my travels, I documented the curious contrasts and commonalities across countries and cultures. A few years later, I gave up my wings to work for ELLE and ELLE DÉCOR in India. Since moving to Atlanta about a decade ago, I’ve been writing freelance about subjects that interest me while channeling my rather bizarre imagination to fuel my fiction. I penned a collection of short stories—Kismetwali & Other Stories, over time while waiting for my daughter in carpool outside Morris Brandon Elementary School in Buckhead! The book was shortlisted for the Townsend Prize for Fiction in 2016. I didn’t win the award, but I felt like a winner for being included in the company of several august writers. I am currently working on a novel, and I still scribble poetry on paper napkins and Chick-fil-a-bags!
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
One must have the tenacity of a spider spinning a labyrinthine web to be a successful writer. Playing the part of a marketer through constant showcasing of one’s work has been my greatest challenge. I would much rather live on a remote island (with wi-fi, of course) and hammer away on my keyboard!
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I am an author and freelance writer. My work has appeared in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Atlanta Magazine.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Interacting with my engaged readers and getting the opportunity to meet with other writers brings me immense joy and that alone is the metric of success for me.
- Website: reetikanijhawan.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: ReetikaWrites
- Twitter: @reetikawrites