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Book cover for Chrysalis, by Anuja Varghese


By Anuja Varghese

House of Anansi Press

“A passionate, sophisticated collection of stories that highlights Anuja Varghese’s impressive range, Chrysalis seamlessly blends realism with the otherworldly to achieve a work that is rollicking and wry, gleeful and ominous. Each story is complex and intimate, the characters served by rich, evocative writing that goes to the heart of their humanity. Confidently cutting across genres, Chrysalis is sparkling and downright delightful.”

—Peer assessment committee: Carleigh Baker, Neil Bissoondath and Jessica Westhead


Genre-blending stories of transformation and belonging that centre women of colour and explore queerness, family and community.

A couple in a crumbling marriage faces divine intervention. A woman dies in her dreams again and again until she finds salvation in an unexpected source. A teenage misfit discovers a darkness lurking just beyond the borders of her suburban home.

The stories in Chrysalis, Anuja Varghese’s debut collection, are by turns poignant and chilling, blurring the lines between the real world and worlds beyond. Varghese delves fearlessly into complex intersections of family, community, sexuality and cultural expectation, taking aim at the ways in which racialized women are robbed of power and revelling in the strange and dangerous journeys they undertake to reclaim it.

Anuja Varghese surrounded by trees.


Anuja Varghese is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Hobart, the Malahat Review, the Fiddlehead, Plenitude Magazine and others. Her writing has been recognized in the PRISM International Short Fiction Contest, nominated for the Pushcart Prize and shortlisted for the Writers Trust of Canada Dayne Ogilvie Prize. Chrysalis is her first book. She lives in Hamilton, Ontario.

Photo: Jesse Valvasori

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