KAIKEYI: Reimagining a vilified Queen with Vaishnavi Patel and Sujata Srinivasa

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May 31 • 7:00 pm


The Mark Twain House & Museum is delighted to present Vaishnavi Patel on her mesmerizing debut, KAIKEYI. Join Vaishnavi  and award-winning journalist Sujata Srinivasan to discuss this powerful reimagining of the life of the infamous queen from the Indian epic the Ramayana.

“I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me.” So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on tales of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear. Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her. But as the evil from her childhood stories threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. And Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak—and what legacy she intends to leave behind.

KAIKEYI weaves a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak—and an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come.

FREE virtual event, although donations are gratefully accepted. REGISTER HERE.

Copies of KAIKEYI signed by the author are available for purchase through the Mark Twain Store; proceeds benefit The Mark Twain House & Museum. Books will be shipped after the event. We regret that we are NOT able to ship books outside the United States as it is cost-prohibitive to do so.


Sujata Srinivasan is an award-winning, independent business journalist with the Connecticut Health Investigative Team (C-HIT), a women-owned, grant-funded news nonprofit founded by Pulitzer-winning journalists. Her data-driven reporting for C-HIT is carried by more than a dozen media outlets statewide, including Connecticut Public Radio. In addition, Sujata is the national Connecticut correspondent for Crain’s Business.

Sujata’s business reporting for NPR’s member station WNPR, and her reporting for C-HIT, earned her six awards for journalistic excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists. She covered the high-profile trial out of New York of former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta for the Indian edition of Forbes, where she was an independent U.S. correspondent and was among a group of journalists invited by the State Department under Secretary Hillary Clinton to cover the Global Diaspora Forum in Washington, D.C.


Programs at The Mark Twain House & Museum are made possible in part by support from CT Humanities; the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts; Ensworth Charitable Foundation, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee; the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign; The Hartford; The Mark Twain Foundation; The National Endowment for the Humanities; and Travelers.


May 31
7:00 pm
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The Mark Twain House & Museum