Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Mala Kumar

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Period  2011–present
Name  Mala Kumar

Role  Author
Books  The Paths of Marriage
Mala Kumar wwwmalakumarcomwpcontentuploads201307MalaK

Born  Mala Shantha Kumar January 4, 1985 (age 31) Los Alamitos, CA, U.S. (1985-01-04)
Occupation  Novelist, ICT4D Project Manager
Alma mater  The New School (M.A., International Affairs; Development, 2010) Virginia Tech (B.S., Marketing Management, Minors in French for Business and Global Business, 2007)
Genre  Fiction, South Asian, LGBT
Notable works  The Paths of Marriage. [1]
Education  The New School, Virginia Tech

I Want That One! By Mala Kumar | Childrens Book | Read Along

Mala Shantha Kumar (born January 4, 1985) is an Indian American international development practitioner and author. She has held jobs with the United Nations and released her debut novel, The Paths of Marriage, in October 2014.


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Early life

Kumar was born in Los Alamitos, California to K.L. Ashok Kumar and Latha Kumar. Shortly after she was born, her family moved to Chester, Virginia where Kumar lived until she left for college. She has one younger brother, Kiran.


Kumar attended high school at the Governor's School for Government and International Studies (which later became the Maggie L. Walker School for Government and International Studies) in Richmond, Virginia. She played soccer and field hockey, and became an active member of the school's Model United Nations organization.

Kumar attended Virginia Tech. She graduated in 2007 with her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Marketing Management and minors in French for Business and Global Business. After completing her undergraduate degree, Kumar moved to Lyon, France to teach English. She came back to the United States to attend graduate school at The New School in New York City, where she studied international development. She earned her Master of Arts (M.A.) in May 2010.

International Development Practitioner

Kumar has worked in international development in several capacities, including with the United Nations (UN) in New York City and Africa. She has worked in English and French. Currently I'm looking for new opportunities to develop my career.

U.N. World Food Programme

Kumar was a Programme Officer (PO) for a division of the UN's World Food Programme (WFP) called the African Risk Capacity (ARC), which aims to insure African countries likely to suffer from the food security effects of severe weather events, such as drought.


Kumar worked in the central African country of Burundi, where she was a consultant for UNICEF's KiraMAMA project, which aims to help mother and child survival using RapidSMS mobile platform technology.

The Paths of Marriage

Kumar wrote her debut novel, The Paths of Marriage over a period of about four years. The story, which follows three generations of Indian women and their struggles against both internal and external discrimination, contains some similarities to her own family history. Copy summary:

"Lakshmi, a bright student who grew up in poverty, marries and immigrates to the United States from India to provide a better life for herself and her family. Clinging to her cultural realities, she forces her American daughter, Pooja, into an arranged marriage, creating a rift of resentment. Pooja’s daughter, Deepa, is an out lesbian to everyone but her family. The woman Deepa loves presents an ultimatum—come out to Pooja or break up—and Deepa is forced to confront her greatest fear.

Three generations of Indian and Indian-American women navigate the harsh slums of Chennai to the bustle of New York City, struggling through a cathartic generational collision to try to come together as a family."

The Paths of Marriage was picked up by the publishing company Bedazzled Ink. The novel became available for purchase on October 1, 2014, and is a 2015 finalist for General/Dramatic fiction category of the Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) Awards.

This Mourning

On social media, Kumar announced she is writing her second novel, titled This Mourning. The novel is about the Virginia Tech Massacre, which occurred in her final semester at the university; Kumar knew several people who died in the shooting.

Select Interviews and Public Appearances

  • Kumar publicly came out as gay in an op-ed published on the website of the LGBT-interest magazine, The Advocate on November 24, 2014. Kumar cited the UN's lack of protection of its LGBT employees.
  • In February 2015, Kumar was interviewed by IBN Live (CNN India) on the South Asian and LGBTQ communities.
  • In April 2015, Kumar was interviewed by USA Today as part of the "In Their Words" campaign on the Supreme Court decision for federal same-sex marriage.
  • Kumar has written several pieces for the South Asian diaspora community-targeted websites, The Aerogram and Brown Girl Magazine.
  • References

    Mala Kumar Wikipedia