KPU Alumna Self-Publishes New Book
Culture / June 15, 2017
Amrita Lit’s Chasing Kismet follows a young woman challenging the expectations her community has of her
Kyrsten Downton, Contributor
Growing up, Amrita Lit struggled to find accurate representations for South Asian people in mainstream media. Instead of continuing to wait for that to change, Lit created her own role model in her newly self-published novel Chasing Kismet: the journey of an indo-canadian girl who sets out to discover her roots, but becomes uprooted instead.
Lit, a graduate from the psychology program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, spent two years writing her novel. She says that the inspiration for the book was the frustration she felt at the lack representation of ethnic minorities in mainstream media.
“I decided to create a story that was extremely relatable and engaging, but it still had a real message,” says Lit. “I didn’t want to create an empty fairytale of a story that didn’t add value in the end.”
The story follows Tara Sidhu, a young indo-canadian woman who is struggling to understand and challenge the social expectations in her family’s culture. Lit explains that she wanted her novel to mostly be a story of resilience and independence and was careful to not fall into any tropes often seen in similar novels.
“It’s always that cookie-cutter story of you meet a guy and you fall in love and you live happily ever after,” she says. “I didn’t want her happily ever after to be found in a relationship. I wanted her to find her own way and really become something through her trials and tribulations. That’s what defined her character.”
While there are several light-hearted moments throughout the story, the novel tackles serious issues such as gender inequality, alcoholism, and mental health.
“I wanted to shed a light on those topics because they are usually swept under the rug in our community, and even in other cultures. It happens in all cultures and all backgrounds, but I could only speak to what happened around me,” she says.
During her time at KPU, Lit admits that she did not have the confidence to voice her strong opinions or speak publicly. However, she does credit former KPU English instructor Cecilia Martell for helping her learn to think critically.
“She was a huge influence for me whether she knew it or not, because I was too shy to talk to her,” says Lit. “She taught us to form your own opinions and to speak up.”
Lit credits the birth of her first child as the catalyst for her full participation in social change. She began writing articles and blog posts that focus on the social issues specific to the South Asian community. More recently, she also began doing a podcast called The Lit Life.
“I used to dread presentations,” she says. “If you had said to me at that time that you are going to be back doing a student talk, I wouldn’t have believed you. Life experience changes you.”
Now, Lit hopes she can inspire people from all types of backgrounds to broaden their horizons and learn new perspectives different from their own.
“My goal was to always spark the mind of the next individual to create some concrete change,” she says. “I just wanted it to be influential and the messages to remain in the reader long after they are done the book.”