New Delhi, March 2020: Penguin Random House India announces the acquisition of a memoir by Sheela Birnstiel, also known as Ma Anand Sheela. Titled By My Own Rules, this book will be published in the second half of 2020 in English across the country under the Ebury Press imprint of Penguin Random House. Ebury Press is one of the country’s most successful imprints dedicated to discovering, publishing and building the best voices in popular fiction and non-fiction.
In this memoir, Sheela Birnstiel will give readers an unwaveringly honest view of her life after Osho. For the first time, she will write about her adventures and experiences of exploring each crossroad she has faced in her life and what she learnt from it. In the 80s, she was the personal secretary of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and managed the Rajneesh commune in Wasco County, Oregon, USA. She was eventually sentenced to four and a half years in prison but was released early. Today, she runs homes for the disabled and elderly in Switzerland. Almost three decades later, she is still in love with Bhagwan and His teachings. From being tried by a Swiss court to an interview with Karan Johar on her grand return to India, she is at times adored by the world and at time vilified. A life embroiled in controversies now a life dedicated in the service of the disadvantaged, Sheela’s story will be a captivating and moving tell all of a courageous woman.
Milee Ashwarya, Publisher, Ebury Publishing & Vintage Publishing, Penguin Random House India, says, ‘Ma Anand Sheela is unconventional, fearless, strong, and spirited. She has had an adventurous and extraordinary life, and has always lived it on her own terms. By My Own Rules is her memoir in which she talks about her life and work in Switzerland, her family, her memories of Bhagwan Rajneesh and what continues to drive her to live her dream even today. I am delighted to be publishing By My Own Rules a window into the life of Ma Anand Sheela.’
Expressing her enthusiasm on her upcoming book, Sheela Birnstiel says, ‘It takes a lot of courage for any publishing house to work with someone with my history—for I am no writer; I am simply narrating my life. I believe that experiences are, at times, mightier than literature. And I thank Penguin Random House India for giving me this opportunity. I am certain their team will always have success with leaders like Milee Ashwarya.’