Niala Maharaj was born in Trinidad to descendants of Indian migrants. At 16,
she became a journalist with Trinidad’s national newspaper and rose
to editor of the Sunday edition. In between she acquired three university
degrees. She then went on to co-produce and co-present Trinidad’s most
successful TV series, working simultaneously as Public Relations Officer at
the University of the West Indies.
In the late 1980s, she began writing fiction after leaving Trinidad for a
peripatetic existence in far-flung parts of the globe. She worked in Rome
as editor of an international women’s magazine and later in Hong Kong.
In 1990, she settled in Amsterdam, where she contributes articles to publications
around the globe.
The Game of the Rose: The Third World in the Global Flower Trade
(non-fiction) was her first published book. The novel, Like Heaven,
was born when she spent a semester as a Visiting Fellow of Amherst College,
Massachusetts. She has also written a collection of short stories, The
Queen of Coconut Chutney, and is currently working on a novel, Dance
of the Lotus.
The biggest accomplishment of Niala’s life is a circle of amazingly
loyal friends around the world: of every nationality, men and women, gay
and straight, dead and alive. In her leisure time she reads, gardens, plays
squash, and gets beaten by 12-year old kids in stupid internet games. She
is the besotted friend of a bunch of children in the Dutch village of Krommenie.
She loathes aerobics, is unarithmetic, clumsy and forgetful. After 20 years
in Holland, she still cannot ride a bicycle properly, speaks 'defect-Dutch'
and is hopeless with the most basic of technological tools.