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Ruby Lal wins GA prize for book on Nur Jahan

Compiled/partly written by Suzanne Sen and Murali Kamma Email Compiled/partly written by Suzanne Sen and Murali Kamma
July 2019
Ruby Lal wins GA prize for book on Nur Jahan


As Professor of South Asian Studies at Emory University, Ruby Lal has not only taught many students over the years, but she has also reached a wider audience with her writings.


Her acclaimed biography, Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan (reviewed in Khabar, August, 2018), was published by W.W. Norton last year and has now won the Georgia Author of the Year Award for biography. It tells the story of Mughal emperor Jahangir's wife, who was regarded by historians as the “real power behind the throne” in 14th century India. The book is Lal’s third; it was previously named a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

There were 110 nominees in 14 categories this year, and over 200 authors and members of the local literati attended the banquet and ceremony at Westside Cultural Arts Center on June 15, 2019.

Professor Lal has taught at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, in History and Anthropology, and served as Associate Director of the Program for the Study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. Her fields of study include feminist history and theory, and the question of archive as it relates to writing about Islamic societies in the precolonial and colonial world.

Her first book, Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2005) won much acclaim, including numerous reviews in major international journals and magazines, such as The New York Review of Books, The Economic and Political Weekly, Revue Historique, and The Times Literary Supplement.

Her second book, Coming of Age in Nineteenth Century India: The Girl-Child and the Art of Playfulness (Cambridge University Press, New York, 2013) was reviewed extensively in academic journals and magazines with wider intellectual concerns.

Her recently published biography, Empress: The Astonishing Reign of Nur Jahan (NY: W.W. Norton, 2018) was nominated as a finalist in History for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Among the top ten pick of  Time Magazine, The Telegraph, and Prospect Magazine London, ​Empress has been lauded by The New Yorker, The Guardian, The New York Times, the BBC, The Indian Express, and numerous other national and international journals, magazines, and newspapers.

[The article above contains additional material not in the print and digital issues.]

[Updated July 9, 2019.]

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