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Piyali Bhattacharya



Piyali Bhattacharya is a writer, editor, and professor of Creative Writing. Her short stories and essays have appeared in PloughsharesLiterary HubThe New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalNational Geographic and elsewhere. She is the editor of the anthology Good Girls Marry Doctors: South Asian American Daughters on Obedience and Rebellion (Aunt Lute Books, 2016), which won the Independent Publisher Book Award and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Piyali is the Abrams Artist-in-Residence at the University of Pennsylvania, where she has received the Beltran Family Award for Innovative Teaching and Mentoring in Creative Writing. She is currently at work on her first novel, which has been supported by fellowships from Hedgebrook, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and ARGS. She was born in New York City, and lives in Philadelphia and New Delhi.


Good Girls Marry Doctors

South Asian American Daughters on Obedience and Rebellion

Edited by Piyali Bhattacharya

The voices in this volume reveal how a Good Girl is trained to seamlessly blend professional success with the maintenance and reproduction of her family's cultural heritage. Her gratitude for her immigrant parents' sacrifices creates intense pressure to perform and embody the role of the "perfect daughter." Yet, the demand for such perfection can stifle desire, curb curiosity, and make it fraught for a Good Girl to construct her own identity in the face of stern parental opinion.


“There’s a point in the life of a ‘good Asian’ when you realize that being ‘good’ is not enough. Not enough to keep others happy, and certainly not enough to be happy yourself. Good Girls Marry Doctors celebrates and affirms our very imperfect inner lives. These are the stories we need to get free.”

Jenny Yang, Stand-up Comedian; Producer of Disoriented Comedy and The Comedy Comedy Festival


“Being a model minority or a good girl is not simply complicity, but the way that power structures are ingrained into our quotidian lives and our relationships with our family, friends, and those we love. Good Girls Marry Doctors is a beautiful testimony to the complexities and complicities of being a good South Asian daughter, since being a good anything means that someone else must be marked as bad. Race, gender and immigration aren’t just words – they are ways we live. In these stories – intimate, heart-breaking, funny – you will hear of mothers who tell off the KKK, the oppressive gossip of aunties, and the symbolic resonance that can vibrate from a Vitamix.”

—Ken Chen, Author of Juvenilia; Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop


“I saw my life and self in so many of these wonderful essays by South Asian women. It takes such courage to expose our families, with all their flaws and gifts alike, as we make our way through a nation that can be so ambivalent about our presence. This is a groundbreaking yet accessible book, and a worthy read for South Asian American women, and for anyone who loves us.”

—Rinku Sen, Executive Director of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation; Publisher of Colorlines

“Heartfelt, introspective, and occasionally hilarious, these essays offer a wink and an escape route for women who are destined to be so much more than ‘good girls.'”

—Mira Jacob, Author of The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing, shortlisted for India’s Tata First Literature Award

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