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Tasveer South Asian Literature Festival

Tuesday, Oct 19, 2021 at 1:00pm

Schedule of Events

1:00 PM - Shapes of History

Braiding history and the present, this panel consisting of Samira Shackle (Karachi Vice: Life and Death in a Divided City), Alpa Shah (Nightmarch), Nandini Bhattacharya (Love's Garden) and Suchitra Vijayan (Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India) substantiates the adage "The past is never dead. It's not even past." The contours of diverse South Asian polities and subjectivities emerge unavoidably indelibly demarcated by history. Here, history surfaces as not some smooth and linear passage of time, but a messy mix of conflicts, upheavals, resistance, wars, drawing of borders, and transformations of collective and individual identities. Moderated by Anand Yang.

Alpa Shah

Book Title: Nightmarch

Raised in Nairobi, Alpa Shah is now a London-based writer and scholar, teaching Anthropology at the London School of Economics. She has reported for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service on several occasions and, now and again, writes for news outlets such as New Statesman, Times of India and Hindustan Times. Alpa's most recent book Nightmarch was a winner of the 2020 US Association for Political and Legal Anthropology Book Prize, a finalist for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing and the New India Foundation Book Prize, and was a 2018 Book of the Year for the New Statesman.

Nandini Bhattacharya

Book Title: Love's Garden

Nandini Bhattacharya is a writer, Professor of English, public speaker and blogger. Her first novel Love's Garden appeared in October 2020 and has garnered praise as a fascinating and well-crafted journey into India's complex past" (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni), and "a sprawling family saga set against a background of some of the most momentous events of twentieth-century Indian history" (Clifford Garstang). She's completing Homeland Blues, her second novel, about love, race, and colorism in India and the US as seen through a female immigrant's perspective, and a scholarly monograph about how colonialism and capitalism continue to shape India's cultural production. Shorter work has been published or will be in Oyster River Pages, Sky Island Journal, the Saturday Evening Post Best Short Stories 2021, Bombay Review, PANK, and others. She can be found at Amazon, Author's Guild, Twitter; Instagram, Facebook, and her Blog.

Suchitra Vijayan

Book Title: Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India

Suchitra Vijayan was born and raised in Madras, India. She is the author of Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, GQ, The Boston Review, The Nation , and Foreign Policy. A Barrister by training, she previously worked for the United Nations war crimes tribunals in Yugoslavia and Rwanda before co-founding the Resettlement Legal Aid Project in Cairo, which gives legal aid to Iraqi refugees. She is an award-winning photographer, the founder and executive director of the Polis Project, a New York based hybrid research and journalism organization.

Anand Yang

Anand A. Yang, Walker Family Endowed Professor of History and International Studies, University of Washington, Seattle, is the former chair of the History Department (2015-19) and the former Director of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies (2002-10).

He is the author of several books, including The Limited Raj: Agrarian Relations in Colonial India; Bazaar India: Peasants, Traders, Markets and the Colonial State; and in 2021, Empire of Convicts: Indian Penal Labor in Colonial Southeast Asia and in 2017, Thirteen Months in China, a book that he edited and co-translated.

A former editor of The Journal of Asian Studies and Peasant Studies, Yang served as the president of the Association for Asian Studies in 2006-7 and the president of the World History Association in 2008-10.

Samira Shackle

Book Title: KARACHI VICE: Life and Death in a Divided City

Bio: Samira Shackle is the editor of New Humanist Magazine and a regular contributor to the Guardian Long Read. She frequently reports from Pakistan, where she has family members, and spent extensive time there while working on this book, her first. Shackle twice has been made a media fellow at Columbia University's Center for the Study of Social Difference, and in 2019 was made a MacDowell Fellow.

5:00 PM - Poetic Imagination Empowering Thought

In the hands of skilled poets, reality acquires the element of dream and everyday words become magical. Adeeba Shaheed Talukdar (Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved), Aruni Kashyap (There Is No Goood Time For Bad News) and Usha Akella (I Won't Bear you any Sons) take us on journeys into different mental and visual realities and explore exciting ways of using language and poetic craft. Moderated by Pramila Venkateswaran.

Adeeba Shahid Talukder

Book Title: Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved

Bio: Adeeba Shahid Talukder is a Pakistani American poet, singer, and translator of Urdu and Persian poetry. She is the author of What Is Not Beautiful (Glass Poetry Press, 2018) and her debut collection, Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved (Tupelo Press, 2020), is a winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Poem-A-Day, Gulf Coast, Meridian, Aleph Review, and The Margins, and her translations in PBS Frontline and Words Without Borders. A Best of the Net finalist and a Pushcart nominee, Adeeba holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and an Emerging Poets fellowship from Poets House.

Usha Akella

Book Title: I Will Not Bear You Sons

Bio: Usha Akella has authored nine books that include poetry, one chapbook, and two musical dramas. Her latest poetry volume is published by the noted feminist press Spinifex, Australia. She earned an MSt. in Creative Writing from the University of Cambridge, UK. She is the founder of Matwaala the first South Asian Diaspora Poets Festival in the USA ( and, a website of curated interviews. She was selected as a Creative Ambassador for the city of Austin in 2019 & 2015. She is widely anthologized and has been invited to numerous international poetry festivals all over the world.

Aruni Kashyap

Book Title: There Is No Good Time For Bad News

Bio: Aruni Kashyap writes in two languages: English and his native language Assamese. He is the author of three books of fiction His Father's Disease: Stories (2019); and the novels: The House With a Thousand Stories (2013), and Noikhon Etia Duroit (2020). A winner of the Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarship for Creative Writing to the University of Edinburgh, his poetry collection, There is No Good Time for Bad News (2021) was a finalist for the 2018 Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize and 2018 Four Way Books Levis Award in Poetry. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in Catapult, B i t c h Media, The Boston Review, Electric Literature, The Oxford Anthology of Writings from Northeast, The Kenyon Review, The New York Times, The Guardian UK, and others. He is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Georgia, Athens, and an Editor-at-large with the Southern Review of Books.

Pramila Venkateswaran

Pramila Venkateswaran, poet laureate of Suffolk County, Long Island (2013-15) and co-director of Matwaala: South Asian Diaspora Poetry Festival, is the author of Thirtha (Yuganta Press, 2002) Behind Dark Waters (Plain View Press, 2008), Draw Me Inmost (Stockport Flats, 2009), Trace (Finishing Line Press, 2011), Thirteen Days to Let Go (Aldrich Press, 2015), Slow Ripening (Local Gems, 2016), and The Singer of Alleppey (Shanti Arts, 2018). She has performed the poetry internationally, including at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival and the Festival Internacional De Poesia De Granada. An award winning poet, she teaches English and Women's Studies at Nassau Community College, New York. Author of numerous essays on poetics as well as creative non-fiction, she is also the 2011 Walt Whitman Birthplace Association Long Island Poet of the Year. She leads writing workshops for breast cancer patients in their healing journey. She is a founding member of Women Included, a transnational feminist association and the current Vice President of NOW Mid-Suffolk, Long Island.

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