Mishi Saran’s first novel, The Other Side of Light (HarperCollins India, June 2012) was shortlisted for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize. Her travel book-cum-memoir Chasing the Monk’s Shadow: A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang (Penguin, 2005) is available in hardback, paperback and e-book versions, as well as in a French translation. The book was shortlisted for the 2006 Hutch-Crossword Award for Literary Non-Fiction, and long listed for the 2006 Lettres Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage. To research the book, Saran spent a year tracing the footsteps of Xuanzang, a 7th Century Chinese Buddhist monk who travelled along the Silk Road from China to India, passing through Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Saran is currently working on her third book, also a novel, set in Shanghai in the 1930s, as well as researching the history of Parsis in China.
Saran writes in English and is also fluent in Mandarin, French and Hindi. Following an undergraduate degree in Chinese Studies from Wellesley College (USA), she worked in Hong Kong as a news reporter and as a freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in a variety of international publications including the Los Angeles Review of Books and Quartz, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, the South China Morning Post and the Asian Wall Street Journal. Her short stories have won awards and been broadcast on the BBC.
Saran was born in India and spent the first ten years of her life in New Delhi. Since then, she has lived in Switzerland, Indonesia, the United States, China, Hong Kong and Korea. She moved back to Hong Kong in the summer of 2014, after eight years spent living in Shanghai.
United States of America
One of ten winning entries
United States of America
Young photographer comes of age during India’s Emergency and falls in love; the novel gently tackles the ache of departures and lost memories, the fleetingness of each moment. Described as “A first novel of startling beauty, it seamlessly weaves stories about young lives transcending troubled times,” India’s Sunday Guardian said “…Mishi Saran has transcended her own capacity to etch out a haunting narrative…”
A personal chronicle of an epic journey on the Silk Road from China to India, through fabled oasis cities of China’s Xinjiang and Central Asia, across now-vanished Buddhist sites in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, following in the footsteps of the Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang (7th Century) The Deccan Herald called it “…a dazzling, mesmeric piece of literature”. Published as Par-Dela Les Montagnes Celestes: Un Voyage sur les traces de Xuanzang, le moine pelerin (Les Editions Noir sur Blanc) in 2011.
Novel set in a mesmerizing, turbulent Shanghai of the 1920s and 1930s, as China struggles to find her modern soul – jammed between opium-riddled imperial China and ruthless colonialism – the book features an asthmatic Shanghai gangster who might just have shaped the country’s destiny.
Co-editing an illustrated anthology on the rich history of the varied Indian communities in Shanghai, including the Parsis, Sephardic Jews, Bohra Muslims and Sikhs. The project is sponsored by the Indian Consulate in Shanghai and the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR). With Professor Zhang Ke, Executive Director of Fudan University’s International Center for Studies of Chinese Civilization. (ICSCC). Contributing a chapter on the Parsis of Shanghai and other pieces of work
Contributed a short story. Co-edited PEN Hong Kong anthology of fiction, poetry and non-fiction marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s 1997 return to China. With poet and academic Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, author Jason Y. Ng, journalist Sarah Shafer, and poet Nicholas Wong. The collection features the work of 41 contributors from Hong Kong and the world.
'Split in Half Six Ways' in Kapur, M. (ed) (2014), Shaping the World, Women Writers on Themselves (India: Hay House India)
'Primary Education and Economic Development in China and India: Overview and Two Case Studies' (with Jean Dreze), in Basu, K., Pattanaik, P., and Suzumura, K. (eds) (1995), Choice, Welfare, and Development: Essays in Honour of Amartya Sen (Oxford: Clarendon Press)
‘My Nani Remembers…’ in Oldenburg, V.T. (ed) (2007), Shaam-e-Awadh, Writings on Lucknow (India: Penguin Books India). Saran interviews her Nani (maternal grandmother) about growing up in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
Indie film captures Hong Kong angst over future under China
Xi Jinping and Modi both understand that the desire for drums and loyalty-parades is buried deep in the hearts of their people…
Modi asks Indians in Shanghai to feel proud of their nation
Tiananmen Sqaure, then and now..
Saran presented an illustrated lecture on the history of Parsis in Shanghai at NYU Shanghai’s Center for Global Asia.
PEN Hong Kong anthology launch at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club: Poets, writers and artists gathered to release an anthology to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Handover. Saran was one of the anthology editors and also read a passage from her short story.
Connecting South Asia’s and Australia’s unique identities, the festival brought the Jaipur Literary Festival, ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’ to Australia’s City of Literature. Saran was on a panel on travel and writing with Catherine Anderson and Namita Gokhale.
Saran gave an illustrated lecture on her book “Chasing the Monk’s Shadow: A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang.”
Saran gave an illustrated lecture on her the history of Parsis in Shanghai and the story of Mr. Tata’s house in Shanghai.