Sheila Sundar - HABITATIONS in conversation with Maurice Carlos Ruffin

Please join us for a special evening with author Sheila Sundar celebrating the launch HABITATIONS, her debut novel. She will appear in conversation with author Maurice Carlos Ruffin, author of the recently released novel, THE AMERICAN DAUGHTERS.


A young academic moves from India to the United States, where she navigates first love, a green card marriage, single motherhood, and more in this “delightful novel, written with immediacy, warmth, and wry humor” (Ha Jin, National Book Award-winning author of Waiting).

Vega Gopalan is adrift. Still reeling from the death of her sister years earlier, she leaves South India to attend graduate school at Columbia University. In New York, Vega straddles many different worlds, eventually moving in and out of a series of relationships that take her through the striving world of academia, the intellectual isolation of the immigrant suburbs, and, ultimately, the loneliness of single motherhood. But it is the birth of Vega’s daughter that forces the novel’s central question: What does it mean to make a home?

Written with dry humor and searing insight, Habitations is an intimate story of identity, immigration, expectation and desire, and of love lost and found. But it is also a universal story of womanhood, and the ways in which women are forced to navigate multiple loyalties: to family, to community, and to themselves.

A profound meditation on the many meanings of home and on the ways love and kinship can be found, even in the most unfamiliar of places, Habitations introduces Sheila Sundar as an electrifying new voice in literary fiction.


Sheila Sundar is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Mississippi. Her writing has appeared in The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Massachusetts ReviewThe Threepenny Review, and elsewhereShe lives in New Orleans with her husband and their three children. Habitations is her debut novel.

Maurice Carlos Ruffin is the author of The American Daughters; The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You; and We Cast a Shadow.,He has been published in the Virginia Quarterly Review, AGNI, the Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas. A native of New Orleans, he is a graduate of the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop.


Event date: 

Saturday, April 13, 2024 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

Event address: 

Octavia Books - 513 Octavia Street
New Orleans, LA 70115
Habitations: A Novel By Sheila Sundar Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781668016107
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 2nd, 2024

"Masterful storytelling. A sweeping, immersive and utterly perfect debut of a new talent and a fresh perspective on the Indian diaspora. In its multilayered, nuanced way, this novel will teach you about the strength of family, the force of love, the power of hope and the resilience of spirit. In other words, Habitations will take you fearlessly by the hand and remind you of the purpose of living." - Weike Want, author of Chemistry and Joan Is Okay

"Sheila Sundar's irresistible debut is a provocative meditation on grief, desire, and the unexpected ways the two entangle. Brimming with emotional intricacies, crisp prose, and sly humor, Habitations traverses the complicated, intimate politics and promises of the places we seek to call 'home.'" - Deesha Philyaw, National Book Award Finalist author ofThe Secret Lives of Church Ladies

"Habitations is a delightful novel, written with immediacy, warmth, and wry humor. Covering dramas both personal and universal, Sundar offers insightful reflections on the desire for arrival and the longing for return. This is a significant addition to migrant fiction." - Ha Jin, National Book Award-winning author of Waiting 


The American Daughters: A Novel By Maurice Carlos Ruffin Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780593729397
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - February 27th, 2024

“An enthralling tale of a secret resistance movement run by Black women in pre-Civil War New Orleans.”—Time


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