Raj Tawney is a writer.

My debut Colorful Palate: A Flavorful Journey Through a Mixed American Experience will be out 10/3/23.
Contributions include nonfiction essays, journalism, and poetry in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Iowa Review, and over 70 publications around the world.LATEST WRITING:
The Teacher Who Inspired Me to Be Who I Am Today (Education Week)
Accepting pitches and ideas.
Also, I love hearing from readers and writers alike. Email me.

Raj Tawney

© Raj Tawney LLC. All rights reserved.


ESSAYS/CREATIVE NONFICTIONThe Teacher Who Inspired Me to Be Who I Am Today (Education Week)Roger Federer's Legacy Goes Way Beyond Tennis (The Arrow)Think Different (KQED/NPR)What it's been like as a writer of color trying to sell a book that isn’t all about trauma (NBC News)An Ode to 'Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast' (Brooklyn Magazine)1952: Why Try to Change Sinatra Now (The Great American Songbook Foundation)In a Gazan Home in California, Two Writers Share a Taste of Home (Literary Hub)Being Ricky Ricardo: Why Desi Arnaz matters (Fortune Magazine)A Letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald From the Second Roaring '20s (Writer's Digest)Beware of Humans at the Dog Park (Weekly Humorist)How Oscar Wilde and an Indie Rock Song Inspired My Path (Chicago Review of Books)From chana masala to lasagna, my family's Thanksgiving table tells our American story (NBC News)My Puerto Rican Grandma Was a Silent Trailblazer (Latino Rebels)For many Americans of color, including my friends, Sept. 11 only inflamed divisions (USA Today)Malaria, My Mother and Me (PBS Next Avenue)Everyone Gets Rejected – Here's How to Move On (Harvard Business Review)Tour a 1930s Long Island Bungalow DIYed Into a Creative Haven – Photo Essay (HGTV)Naomi Osaka Just Reminded Me Why I Left Social Media (Newsweek)Going Vegetarian Is Better For Us And The Environment—Why Is It So Hard To Do? (Delish Magazine)What a Pandemic Funeral Taught Me About Family (Modern Loss)A year of changed minds: I changed my mind on my own racial identity (The Philadelphia Inquirer)The diversity dinner (The Spectator)She’s 90 and Italian. I’m in my 30s and half Indian. Here’s why we’re the closest of friends. (The Washington Post)Will Indian Buffets Survive the Pandemic? (The New York Times)How my Puerto Rican mother became an expert Indian cook (The Guardian)How my family came to feast on meatballs, plátanos and curry for Christmas dinner (Los Angeles Times)70-Year-Old's Commitment to Tennis, Fitness Is Inspiring to All (Sports Illustrated)For The Voter Who Cares About a President's Public Image (McSweeney's)Why movie houses matter, more than ever (The Hill)Adopting a Dog during the Pandemic (The Bark)Contrariwise: Let's Stop Bashing Millennials (The Saturday Evening Post)Moving into my in-laws' could've infantilized me. But we worked to make it empowering. (NBC News)The Ramblings of a Young Curmudgeon (F(r)iction Literary Magazine)Robert De Niro has arrived, again. (Berlin Film Journal)An Eventual Friendship (Best Friends Magazine)A Crash-Course in a New Cuisine (New York Magazine)Grandma Elsie's Rich Life Lessons (Reminisce Magazine)I went 24 hours with no coffee. Here’s how it went (The Boston Globe)Blinded by the Light Reminds Us That We're All the Same—Regardless of Skin Color (O, the Oprah Magazine)Remembering Anthony Bourdain (LA Weekly)How a stray cat brought my neighborhood together for the very first time (HelloGiggles/Yahoo)Doris Day, my grandma and me: A reflection on family on the movie star’s birthday (New York Daily News)I'm a born and bred New Yorker — but I've realised this year that I have to leave (The Independent)Was I Love Lucy Ahead of Its Time? (Academy of Television Arts & Sciences/Emmys.com)A Mind Blown Upon Learning John Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme' Was Written on Long Island (Long Island Press)At home, a mom. At the hospital, a professional nurse. (Newsday)Resolution For 2019: Find a Common Ground (The Daily Rant)New generations loving Sinatra in the digital age (The Desert Sun)It Took Me 30 Years To Come To Terms With Half Of My Identity (Huff Post)We’ll always want to sit in the dark at the movies (Miami Herald)A general friendship at the movies (Newsday)JOURNALISMThey Freed 19 Sharks From a Commercial Fisherman’s Net. Now They Could Go to Prison. (The New Republic)The Dumping of Pandemic Pets (The Village Voice)Buddy Guy Is a Reminder of Blues' Influence on Popular Music (Miami New Times)FC Barcelona Arrives in Miami, Preceded by Its Reputation (Miami New Times)Jurassic World Dominion's dinosaur trafficking isn't far from reality (New Scientist)Why Arturo Sandoval Matters (uDiscover Music)Steve Almond's Debut Novel Contains Echoes of His Years as a New Times Staff Writer (Miami New Times)What Happened When My Vaccinated Puppy Contracted a Mysterious Stomach Illness (Slate)Searching for Curry and Enlightenment on the Indian Buffet Line (Smithsonian Magazine)An Interview with Farah Ali About Her New Book, People Want to Live (McSweeney's)When Nas and Lauryn Hill Ruled the World (The Village Voice)An Interview with Jehad al-Saftawi About His New Book, My Gaza: A City in Photographs (McSweeney's Books)South Asian Arts Resiliency Fund Gives Hope to Artists During Pandemic (Hyphen Magazine)Covid-19 and Wildlife Trade Bans (The Ecologist)Martin Scorsese brings Philly’s Frank Sheeran to Netflix with ‘The Irishman’ (Broad Street Review)Humans' Enduring Toll on the Galapagos Island (MIT's Undark Magazine (Republished in Popular Science))The Dave Brubeck Quartet's 'Time Out' at 60: Inside Jazz's First Million-Selling LP (Billboard Magazine)‘Rock ‘n’ Roll High’ at 40: How the Ramones and a Rebellious Female Lead Invaded Theaters (Variety)A sport that lost track of its main asset (Newsday/amNY)Sharks aren't the enemy, we are (The Epoch Times)Sammy, the one-winged bald eagle, snatched from wildlife refuge (TreeHugger)Sinatra, civil-rights champion: A side of Frank not many people know (New York Daily News)POETRYAnd Gizmo Makes Three: An Adoption Poem (Modern Dog Magazine)A Poem for Refugees (The New Humanitarian)A Poem: "Merry Christmas, I’ve Scheduled Your Vaccine Appointment" (Miami New Times)Smartphone Brain Blues (Adbusters)Socially Distant Blues (Bklyner.)Reflections on Henry (Tiny Seed Literary Journal)Trump-or-Treat (The Satirist)Commercial virus (QuarantineDreams (Italy))Hey Techies, Checking In (San Francisco Chronicle)What would Martin Luther King, Jr. think of the future? (The Iowa Review)Trip to the Supermarket During a Pandemic (L.A. TACO)The Business End of COVID-19 (Indolent Books)Oscar Viewing Party at My Woke Friend's House (Entropy Magazine)


I'm Raj Tawney, a born-and-raised New Yorker, and a proud multiracial American (1/2 Indian, 1/4 Italian, 1/4 Puerto Rican descent). I love writing stories from my unique, personal viewpoint. I explore everything that stokes my curiosity and interests, including identity, race, history, food, health, nature, entertainment, and current events shaping our culture. Simply put, I write with purpose and for the people.I didn’t attend a prestigious university nor was I provided with any pre-existing connections. I've just led with passion and persistence. Life has taught me how to excel, fail, learn, evolve, and appreciate all of the cuts, scratches, and scars–– but most importantly, to get back up, no matter the circumstance. My writing reflects my own life experience and perspective.Aside from writing, I've hosted numerous live events, from introducing Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt" at the Museum of Modern Art, to presenting "Pal Joey" with Frank Sinatra's granddaughter AJ Lambert, to guest-speaking at Queens College, SUNY Old Westbury, and Long Island University. I've also reported on-camera for Public Television, Zee TV, and Namaste America News.I’m a storyteller. Period.Aside from my writing, I'm a freelance publicist in the book industry. I’m also a proud husband, and father to rescue dogs and parrots. I currently reside in South Florida.

Raj Tawney

Credit: Patrick Cline/HGTV



"Raj Tawney deftly explores his culturally-rich upbringing, unearthing pivotal answers to one of the most fascinating questions in the world: who am I? Through a captivating mix of intimate stories of family, tradition and flavor, he paints a poignant portrait of identity and what it really means to be an American. Coupled with mouth-watering recipes that reflect his multifaceted heritage and his respect for food, Colorful Palate is a touching example of the power we can all yield when we embrace our roots as we partake in—to use Tawney's words—the 'Great American Experiment'.
– John Leguizamo
"A lovingly wrought and deliciously intimate memoir that captures the stupendous mélange that is Tawney’s American life (and ours). A feast for the mind, a banquet for the heart, as generous as hospitality and as unforgettable as your favorite meal."
– Junot Díaz, author of This is How You Lose Her
Being an immigrant myself, I have always appreciated the cultural diversity and acceptance of it in the United States. Raj Tawney is born American and, in this delightful book, he relates to his identity, his life, and growing up in three cultures. The recipes that follow in each chapter are a delicious recall of memories and flavors of each culture. He connects to his roots with tenderness, appreciation, and understanding of his multiethnic family that ends in the kitchen cooking those favorite recipes. Overcoming, with understanding, some of the difficulties he encountered as a multiethnic child growing up, he knows that there are many young Americans that are of different cultural blends as he is and that is evermore what America is, and what makes America the great country it is. A great read, the tasteful recipes are the bonus.
– Lidia Bastianich
Raj Tawney's Colorful Palate is a delicious, charming, and winning coming-of-age story that is authentically American in exploring the messy, beautiful, painful, and ultimately rewarding contradictions of trying to expand stifling boundaries to accommodate and celebrate the multi-hyphenated experiences of those who are often relegated to the margins.
– Wajahat Ali, author of Go Back to Where You Came From: And Other Helpful Recommendations on How to Become American
"Too often in America, we are asked to put ourselves into boxes and categories that reduce us to just one aspect of our identity. In Colorful Palate, Raj Tawney rejects the notion that folks with intersectional identities have to choose which aspects to highlight, and which to set aside. He artfully maps the many facets of his own identity: the ethnicities, relationships and meals that shaped him. In doing so, he shows us that both our plates, and our pages, can and should reflect the multitudes we contain. As a new mom to a baby with Indian, Jewish, Irish, and Italian roots, I am so grateful that this book will grace our shelves, and offer a map to my daughter for how to honor her own intersectional story."
– Neema Avashia, author of Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place
"Raj's memoir about food, class and race in New York is not your usual upper-class, upper-caste, Indian story. Here is an Indian who is equally Puerto Rican as much as Italian. A kid raised well on Arroz Negro, Insalata di Mare and Tandoori chicken. Read it and cook from it to figure out what it might mean to be authentically American."
– Krishnendu Ray, Professor of Food Studies at NYU and author of The Ethnic Restaurateur and The Migrant's Table

Colorful Palate


Currently agentless
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Raj Tawney


Raj Tawney