Asha Nehemiah : C for Chapati

Bengaluru based award winning children's  author Asha Nehemiah is out with a new book for early readers. Part of Duckbill(PRH) Hook Book series, The Grand Chapati Contest is a delectable tale around the simple chapati. Chetan Sharma's illustrations are captivating and Asha's story engages the readers till the end. Asha Nehemiah shares more about her book written in simple language for 5-7 years.


1. What inspired you to write The Grand Chapati Contest?

I’m quite an adventurous and experimental cook. I can make fancy cakes and biryanis and even my hand-rolled lasagna sheets! But I’ve always failed miserably at making soft, round chapatis.  That’s what gave me the idea. I had to set the story in a palace – because who else but a queen could organise a ‘Grand Chapati Contest’?

 2. Have you ever taken part in a Chapati making contest? How good are you at making chapattis? 

 I’d come last in any chapati-making contest!!! My chapatis are normally tough and of irregular shapes. 

 3. If you were to organise a food related contest, what would it be?

 Any food contest which I had to judge by tasting would suit me very well! I think I’d organise a Biryani contest! Because in India there are so many varieties of Biryani and I love them ALL.

4. Which is your favourite illustration from the book? Why?


Chetan Sharma, the illustrator, has done a superb job. His illustrations have added so much fun and humour to the chapati contest.  My favourite illustration in the book is the one where one of the cooks gets carried away by the huge fluffy chapati he has made (also appears on the cover). There are delightful details, like one shoe falling off.  The look of surprise on the elephant’s face… so much to pore over.

5. Food appears as a central theme in many of your books. Are you a foodie?  Do you enjoy cooking for others? What is your relationship with food?

Yes, I am a foodie. I enjoy cooking for my family and friends. They usually pester me for desserts and cakes.  Spending time with family over meals is very special to me. We love eating together.  On holidays, every meal usually ends with a discussion about what we’re going to eat for the next meal!

6. Anything else your fans should know about the book?


 That I have written it especially for emerging readers. So, it is meant for children transitioning from picture books and beginning to read independently. Also, they should look for the illustrator, Chetan Sharma, making a cameo appearance in the book.

7. You have been writing picture books and chapter books in the past. Do you ever intend writing MG and YA books.

 I have written a few middle grade books – The Mystery of the Secret Hair Oil Formula, The Mystery of the Silk Umbrella and both my collections of short stories are for middle-grade readers, One of my current projects is a MG for 10-12-year-olds. Writing YA requires a special connection with current teens –which I don’t have at this point. But I won’t rule it out as a future project.


To buy a copy of The Grand Chapati Contest, click here.

To know more about Asha Nehemiah, click here.




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