How to write three books before you are 30—lessons from an Indian historian

When his peers were probably still settling into their chosen careers, Manu S Pillai published his first book.

The Ivory Throne: Chronicles of the House of Travancore, a detailed history of the last female ruler of the southern Indian Travancore dynasty, was published by HarperCollins in 2015—when Pillai was just 25. In 2017, it won him the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar, a prestigious literary award for young writers in India.

In 2018, Pillai wrote his next book, Rebel Sultans: The Deccan from Khilji to Shivaji, which spans the 400-year-old history of the Deccan kingdoms in western India. Only a year later, the author is now out with his third book, The Courtesan, the Mahatma and the Italian Brahmin: Tales from Indian History.

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