Born in India in 1952 but raised in Warwickshire from the age of seven, Ravinder Randhawa operated under the radar of mainstream literary criticism. Well-known, however, within the Asian writing community, and to feminists, she was essential to the burgeoning British Asian literature. As a founder of the Asian Women Writers' Workshop, Randhawa not only wrote prolifically about the lives of British Asian women, but also fostered the careers of others, including Meera Syal. Her fiction, its focus on themes of generational difference, the domestic and economic exploitation of women, and the often dark comedy of women's lives, has been highly influential on the women authors who have followed. In order to explore the unique way Randhawa engages with British Asian identity, this chapter relies upon the theoretical ideas of gender critic Judith Butler, and also examines the extent to which it is more useful to consider Randhawa's writing in terms of gender rather than ethnicity.
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