La description

Winner, 2023 Governor General's Literary Award
Winner, 2023 Writers Trust Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ2+ Emerging Writers
Longlisted for the 2024 Carol Shields Prize for Fiction

Genre-blending stories of transformation and belonging that centre women of colour and explore queerness, family, and community.

A couple in a crumbling marriage faces divine intervention. A woman dies in her dreams again and again until she finds salvation in an unexpected source. A teenage misfit discovers a darkness lurking just beyond the borders of her suburban home.

The stories in Chrysalis, Anuja Varghese’s debut collection, are by turns poignant and chilling, blurring the lines between the real world and worlds beyond. Varghese delves fearlessly into complex intersections of family, community, sexuality, and cultural expectation, taking aim at the ways in which racialized women are robbed of power and revelling in the strange and dangerous journeys they undertake to reclaim it.


  • Winner, Hamilton Arts Creator Award 2023
  • Winner, Governor General's Literary Award in the Fiction Category 2023
  • Winner, Writers Trust Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ2S+ Emerging Writers 2023
  • Commended, CBC 2023 Best Canadian Fiction 2023
  • Long-listed, Carol Shields Prize for Fiction 2024


Fantastical, surreal, complex, and often quite sensual. … A powerful punch of stories.

- Miramichi Reader

The stories in Chrysalis shine as thoughtful, surprising, horrifying, tender portrayals of urgent transformation. Varghese’s dedication to upending expected queer and immigrant narratives, and to spotlighting complexity in relationships is welcome and invigorating.

- Xtra

Every piece in Chrysalis is as subtle and punchy as the eponymous final story. Varghese’s women are like her words: brutal, elegant, and resonant.

- Quill & Quire

[Varghese’s] raw and poignant writing works beautifully to tell stories of belonging, family, and identity.

- White Wall Review

Whether real or fantastical, these stories are bound by women struggling with love and identity amidst their troublesome predicaments.

- Wasifiri Magazine

These are stories of the most common people, touched with a sense of weird, of the beyond, of magic.

- Hamilton Review of Books

A brisk, beguiling collection.

- That Shakespearean Rag