Revisiting ‘Born Confused,’ 20 Years Later

A surprise pitch meeting with Scholastic landed Tanuja Desai Hidier her first book deal. Her 2002 young adult novel became a sensation.

Sanjena Sathian

November 25, 2022

Revisiting ‘Born Confused,’ 20 Years Later
(Tanuja Desai Hidier/Facebook)

When copy editor Tanuja Desai Hidier moved to London in the early 2000s, she wanted to take on more freelance work. So she went to see a mutual friend who happened to work at Scholastic. The meeting turned into her very first book deal, which would birth Born Confused, published on October 1, 2002. The book would change young adult fiction forever. The novel follows Dimple, a 17-year-old New Jersey teenager who is sometimes embarrassed by her Indian Americanness. Meanwhile, her best friend Gwyn can’t get enough of Dimple’s culture. On the 20th anniversary of the book, Gold Diggers author Sanjena Sathian and Born Confused’s Tanuja Desai Hidier sat down to chat about the novel’s legacy, its place in South Asian media today, and why it still resonates two decades later.