Kriti Festival Schedule!

Wednesday, September 24th (pre-festival event):

7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Guild Complex reading, “I Come to Your Country, Name Me,” a creative exploration of expatriation and migration in the Asian diaspora, co-sponsored by the Kriti Festival. Rachel DeWoskin will read from her life as the megastar of a Chinese soap opera in Beijing, then read from her new book based in Shanghai. Mary Anne Mohanraj, in her memoir, discusses bisexuality, taboos and going home to a discontented Sri Lanka which is no longer home. Deepak’s writing is grounded in Abu Dhabi where he grew up as the son of Indian expatriates, but home has been America for more than a decade. All three readers live and work in Chicago. Curated by Dipika Mukherjee. School of the Art Institute, LeRoy Neiman Center, 37 S. Wabash Ave., 1st floor, Chicago, IL. This event is free and open to the public.

 

Thursday, September 25th:

4:00 – 6:00:  Opening reception, photographic diasporic history art exhibit, and rapid-fire reading, in collaboration with SAAPRI, the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, Campus Programs, and UIC’s students, faculty and staff. (Ward Gallery, Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted St.) This event is free and open to the public. Speakers include featured photographer Preston Merchant. Readers: Fatimah Asghar, Sonali Dev, Anjali Mitter Duva, Syed Afzal Haider, Soniah Kamal, Parul Kaushik, Mina Khan, Neha Misra, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Rajdeep Paulus, Shakuntala Rajagopal, Phiroozeh Romer, Ankur Thakkar, Deepak Unnikrishnan, Vidhu Aggarwal, and Bishakh Som.

 

Friday, September 26th:

 

Friday 10:00 – 10:50

Fiction Workshop

No experience necessary! Come try some fun writing exercises with the guidance of our visiting writers; unlock your creativity! Please arrive on time – we will start promptly.

(Phiroozeh Romer)

 

Readings

Swati Khurana, Shikha Malaviya

 

Film Screenings

“The Queen of My Dreams,” by Fawzia Mirza (3 min)

“Yes I Am (American),” music video by Malini D. Sur (6 min)

“Coin Toss,” by Satya Kharkar (97 min)

 

Friday 11:00 – 11:50

Contemporary South Asian Literature in the World

How does South Asian writing shape the way in which South Asians are regarded by the world? Does it facilitate the stereotyping of individuals? Does it open up new concepts to readers? How are local South Asian and diaspora writers perceived by international (especially Western) readers? (Sonali Dev, Preston Merchant, Rajdeep Paulus)

 

Poetry Workshop

No experience necessary! Come try some fun writing exercises with the guidance of our visiting writers; unlock your creativity! Please arrive on time – we will start promptly.

(Shikha Malaviya)

 

Readings

Parul Kaushik, Mina Khan

 

Friday 12 – 12:50

Paths to Publication (brown bag lunch)

What are today’s alternatives to “traditional” publishing, and how do you decide if one of them is good fit for you? The publishing industry has undergone, and continues to undergo, massive and rapid change. The array of publishing options now runs the gamut from traditional publishing to self-publishing, each with its own characteristics. What is happening in the middle of the spectrum? How is a writer to decide what path to follow? What are the relative pros and cons, and what are the questions to ask oneself in order to ensure a positive publishing experience?  This panel will address small press publishing, self-publishing, crowdfunding, social media, and more. As it occurs over lunchtime, please feel free to bring a brown bag lunch. (Anjali Mitter Duva, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Rajdeep Paulus)

 

Nura Maznavi @ AARCC (brown bag lunch)

 

Academic Papers (20 min each)

  1. From Page to Screen: Chetan Bhagat, Three Idiots and New Cultural Authorship in India: [Ask Dina for short description] (Dina Khdair, De Paul University)
  2. Middlebrow Mahatma: Dhan Gopal Mukerji and American Anticolonialism [Ask Daniel for short description] (J. Daniel Elam, Northwestern)

 

Friday 1:00 – 1:50

MFA / Ph.D. Programs in Writing

What are the advantages and disadvantages of enrolling in an graduate program in writing? What about full-time vs. part time? How about low-residency programs (where you work from home and only go away for two weeks of the year)? What will I learn, and where should I go? Or will it just be a waste of time I should spend writing? Panelists who have been there talk about MFA and Ph.D. programs they have known. (Parul Kaushik, Ankur Thakkar, Shailen Mishra, Soniah Kamal, Swati Khurana)

 

Pretending We’re All Middle Class

Authors like Hanif Kurieshi and Monica Ali deal with middle class and working class English life from an immigrant perspective, while Jhumpa Lahiri’s characters live in a financially comfortable, destined-for-the-professional world. How visible are class issues in South Asian literature? Are comfortable middle-class stories more likely to be published (and celebrated)? Do immigrant upper-middle class readers become uncomfortable when asked to admit the existence of working-class South Asians? (Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Preston Merchant, Deepak Unnikrishnan)

 

Academic Papers (20 min each)

  1. South Asian Diasporic Fiction: Project of Empire and Consolidation of the American Nation-State (Roksana Badruddoja, Manhattan College)
  2. “’Wherefore does the earth quake?’ Shared Narrative Strategies in the Buddhist Communities of Andhra Pradesh and Sri Lanka” (Catherine Becker, UIC)

 

Friday 2:00 – 2:50

Q&A with Editor Anjali Singh

Singh answers every question you’ve ever had about book editors and publishers — or as many as she can fit into an hour. An informal discussion with Anjali Singh

 

Writing and Arts Activism

 – need a desc. (Shikha Malaviya, Fawzia Mirza, Anu Singh Chaudhary, Meeta Kaur)

 

Academic Papers (20 min each)

  1. How to Translate an Indian Novel in Seven Easy Steps: A practical talk for writers who translate or don’t or would like to, we’ll discuss the craft and stakes of literary translation, particularly in the context of South Asian literature translated into English. Who is allowed to translate? How do you find an author and then publish? Is your audience in India, the US, or elsewhere—and do you have to choose? What effects might your choice of audience have on your choice of English idiom and how you translate?

(Jason Grunebaum, The University of Chicago)

  1. Linking Language Study with Personal Partition Narratives: [Ask Seema for short description] (Seema Khurana, Yale University)

 

Readings

Fatimah Asghar, Anu Singh Choudhary

 

Friday 3:00 – 3:50

Memoir & Essay: Telling True Stories

To what extent are we willing to expose ourselves? Do we have the right to expose the lives of our family and friends? Is the need to tell a true story, to be honest, more important than the need to consider the feelings of others? And what happens when you’re not sure you’re remembering the story right to begin with? How much freedom do you have to change the details and still call it nonfiction? Writers discuss the challenges of writing different types of nonfiction.

(Soniah Kamal, Lopa Banerjee, Fawzia Mirza, Preston Merchant)

 

Writing and Interdisciplinary Artistic Practice

(Vidhu Aggarwal, Fatimah Asghar, Anu Singh Chaudhary, Swati Khurana, Neha Misra)

 

Readings

Sonali Dev, Tanaz Bhathena

 

Friday 4:00 – 4:50

South Asian Comedians and Comedy Writing

We’re seeing growing visibility for South Asian comedians, such as Aziz Ansari, Kal Penn, Mindy Kaling, and more. Let’s discuss….need more desc.

(Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Fawzia Mirza, Prateek Srivastava)

 

Dirty Laundry

There is a clear market in the West for a certain kind of expose/pathos story from South Asia: child prostitutes, wife beating, widows in Brindhavan, untouchables, street kids, etc. When does exposing an evil move over into exploitation? What responsibilities does the writer have (if any)?

(Tanaz Bhathena, Nayomi Munaweera, Anjali Mitter Duva, Soniah Kamal)

 

Readings

Vidhu Aggarwal, Sita Bhaskar

 

Poetry Workshop for Kids Ages 8-16

Based on Vedic hermeneutics / Mimamsa theory

(Divya Rajan)

 

Friday 5:00 – 5:20

Performance: Prateek Srivastava, Comedian (20 min)

 

Reading: Lopa Banerjee

 

Reading: Shailen Mishra

 

Friday 5:30 – 6:30

Guest of Honor Manil Suri Reading and Autographing

 

6:30 – 8:00: Dinner break

6:30: Guest of Honor Dinner (Including: Manil Suri, Anjali Singh, Anna Ghosh, Nura Maznavi, Mary Anne Mohanraj)

 

8:00 – 9:30 (James Stukel Towers Event Space)

Play: “Me, My Mom, and Sharmila”

Featuring actor Fawzia Mirza, followed by Q&A with actor and director

James Stukel Towers Event Space

 

9:30 – 11:00 (James Stukel Towers Event Space)

Open mic hosted by UIC student Ulupi Bodiwala

 

Saturday, September 27th:

 

Saturday 9:00 – 9:50

Fiction Workshop

No experience necessary! Come try some fun writing exercises with the guidance of our visiting writers; unlock your creativity! Please arrive on time – we will start promptly.

(Shailen Mishra, Sonali Dev)

 

Write a Ghazal Poetry Workshop

No experience necessary! Come try some fun writing exercises with the guidance of our visiting writers; unlock your creativity! Please arrive on time – we will start promptly.

(Ashini J. Desai)

 

Q&A with Literary Agent Anna Ghosh

Ghosh answers every question you’ve ever had about literary agents — or as many as she can fit into an hour. An informal discussion with Anna Ghosh

 

Saturday 10 – 10:50

Queer Issues in South Asian Literature

Authors and readers consider the role of GLBT characters and queer issues in South Asian literature, and discuss these stories’ reception in the South Asian community. Do we need an explicitly queer space? What opportunities are there for publication / presentation? Is there danger of being typecast? Has queerness become more acceptable now? (Manil Suri, Fawzia Mirza, Mary Anne Mohanraj)

 

Blowing Your Own Horn: Marketing Yourself as a Writer

With so many new writers emerging, it can be difficult setting yourself apart from the crowd. Writers discuss various methods for marketing themselves and their work, from setting up a web page to hiring publicists and beyond. (Anjali Mitter Duva, Ankur Thakkar, Gotham Mamik)

 

Bombay Jam (dance class)

Give your body and spirit a treat Bollywood ish-tyle. In this easy-to-follow dance session, you will learn  some very basic (and highly filmi) moves then rock out to new favorites, old hits, as well as east-west fusion tracks (you don’t want tof miss Lady Gaga bhangra-style). (Phiroozeh Romer)

 

Readings

Samina Hadi-Tabassum / Nura Maznavi

 

Saturday 11:00 – 11:50

Crossing Genre Boundaries

We’ve all seen the epic South Asian family novel, a tale of marriage and politics and history and social conflict. What other kinds of S. Asian fiction is out there? Who are our science fiction and fantasy writers, our mystery, spy novel, romance, and political thriller authors? Writers discuss the challenges of breaking out of the ‘literary’ ghetto as an ethnic writer, and recommend favorite work in other genres. (Vidhu Aggarwal, Sonali Dev, Phiroozeh Romer, Mina Khan)

 

Readings

Nayomi Munaweera / Syed Afzal Haider

 

Film Screenings

“The Queen of My Dreams,” by Fawzia Mirza (3 min)

“Yes I Am (American),” music video by Malini D. Sur (6 min)

“Coin Toss,” by Satya Kharkar (97 min)

 

Saturday 11:30 – 1:00

Guest of Honor Luncheon (Including: Manil Suri, Anjali Singh, Anna Ghosh, Nura Maznavi, Mary Anne Mohanraj)

 

Saturday 12:00 – 12:50

Vocal performance and reading

(Tara Swaminathan / Anjali Mitter Duva) (20 min each)

 

Readings

Neha Misra, Vivek Sharma

 

Saturday 1:00 – 2:00

Manil Suri Guest of Honor Speech and Autographing

 

Saturday 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Children’s Programming

Arts and crafts, face painting, creative writing for children, and story reading! Note: Children 7 and over may be dropped off (with signed waiver and contact info); younger children must have an adult accompanying

 

2:00 – face painting / writing class

2:30 – face painting / coloring / craft project

3:00 – face painting / story-reading

3:30 – coloring / craft project

 

Saturday 2:00 – 2:50 p.m.

Desi Romance Literature

Possible areas we’ll explore include the romantic tradition of Bollywood, the romance genre and family dynamics, the feminism of the Romance genre (stories by women of women for women), Happily Ever Afters and genre structure, interracial romance, sex, sensuality, taboos as conflict, historical romance…

(Sonali Dev, Nura Maznavi, Mina Khan)

 

Q&A with Literary Agent Anna Ghosh

Ghosh answers every question you’ve ever had about literary agents — or as many as she can fit into an hour. An informal discussion with Anna Ghosh

 

Readings

Rajdeep Paulus / Mary Anne Mohanraj / Ankur Thakkar

 

Saturday 3:00 – 3:50 p.m.

I Don’t Want to Be a Doctor (Lawyer/Engineer/Etc.) Anymore!

What do you do when you’ve succeeded in a S. Asian parent-approved career, and realize what you really want to do is be a writer? Can you do a 180-career-wise? Are there ways to incorporate the arts into a busy work/family life? Those who have done it tell their tales!

(Ashini J. Desai, Syed Haider, Parul Kaushik, Fawzia Mirza, Tanaz Bhathena)

 

Writing On Religious / Spiritual Matters

— need desc.

(Shakuntala Rajagopal, Meeta Kaur, Nura Maznavi)

 

Vocal and Dance Performances

Singer-songwriter Malini D. Sur / Bharathanatyam dancer Sutikshna Veeravalli

 

Saturday 4:00 – 4:50 p.m.

Q&A with Editor Anjali Singh

Singh answers every question you’ve ever had about book editors and publishers — or as many as she can fit into an hour. An informal discussion with Anjali Singh

 

Writing Culturally-Specific Stories: The Authenticity Debate

What do you say if someone says to you, “You don’t even live in South Asia — what makes you think you’re authentic enough to be telling this story? You don’t know us!” When you write about a culture, do you feel a responsibility to accurately represent the community? What are your concerns? What do you do to help you in that process? (Shikha Malaviya, Phiroozeh Romer, Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Tanaz Bhathena, Nayomi Munaweera)

w

Vocal Performances

Singer/songwriter Bidisha Sinha / Carnatic vocalist Arvind Venugopal performances (20 min each)

 

Saturday 5:00 – 5:50 p.m.

Selling Your First Book

Writers who have recently (or not-so-recently) sold their first book tell us how they did it, and what they learned in the process. Learn what to do, what not to do — and hear about a few great new books to watch out for! (Dipika Mukherjee, Sonali Dev, Sita Bhaskar, Soniah Kamal, Nayomi Munaweera)

 

Evolution of South Asian Music in the United States

This panel would include those who have knowledge or expertise in the history of South Asian music’s journey to and within the U.S. as well as those who are currently engaged in performing and promoting South Asian classical or fusion music in the U.S. Together these perspectives will speak to how South Asian music’s journey has impacted the U.S. musical landscape and how this journey, in turn, has impacted the evolution of South Asian music. (Sutikshna Veeravalli, Nita Chawla, Kavita Das, Malini D. Sur, Tara Swaminathan, Arvind Venugopal)

 

Reading

Ashini J. Desai, Meeta Kaur

 

Saturday 6:00 – 6:50 p.m.

Politics and Writing: A Panel and Open Discussion

Writers discuss their goals in writing about politics. (Is any writing not political?) Are they attempting to create change in the world? What changes would they like to see? What have been the visible effects of their work, if any? Should writers be political on a large-scale? What are the inherent dangers of that work? A facilitated open discussion of the ways in which writers engage political issues in their work, and the ways readers respond. (Dipika Mukherjee, Kavita Das, Deepak Unnikrishnan, Divya Rajan, Mary Anne Mohanraj)

 

Adapting Artistic Traditions

Many people observe traditions or cultural activities just for the sake of not losing touch with their heritage. As a result, they don’t know the depth or history of it. Does that actually keep up the culture or dilute/skew it with a half-understood form of art? In terms of how we come across to people outside South Asian culture, are we helping propagate stereotypes of ourselves by presenting art forms that most American South Asians themselves only understand superficially? Most people assume that when one says, “I pursue classical, Indian dance”, it mean Bollywood as in Slumdog Millionare. Are classical arts becoming “westernized” but put under the name of classical just to sound ethnically diverse? (Sutikshna Veeravalli, Madhavi Reddi, Riti Sachdeva)

 

YA / Kids’ Writing

Can we write books for children and teens that move beyond saris and mangoes? Writers discuss how we can write for children of South Asian heritage in the West, exposing them to characters who are like them, but without the clichés. (Ashini J. Desai, Rajdeep Paulus)

 

Saturday 7:00 – 7:50 p.m.

Theatre and Dance Performances

Bharatanatyam performance by Mahdavi Reddi

followed by

Brooklyn Bound: a ten-minute play by Riti Sachdeva, directed by Danielle Fleming, performed by Manish Shah, Martel Manning, and Riti Sachdeva

 

Sex and the Word

In recent years, more and more South Asians have started writing explicitly around sexuality. Mary Anne Mohanraj, Ginu Kamani, the authors in Desilicious, the participants in Yoni ki Baat, and many performance poets all explore the sexual arena. What are the challenges of working with this material? What are the rewards? Are you willing to read an erotic story? How about in public, on a bus or train? Do you take the books off the shelves when your parents visit? Authors and readers discuss the pleasures and problems of writing and reading sex. (Sonali Dev, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Rajdeep Paulus, Mina Khan, Soniah Kamal)

 

Pros on Poetry

Poets prose about poet things.

(Shikha Malaviya, Vivek Sharma, Divya Rajan, Ashini J. Desai, Gotham Mamik)

 

Saturday 8:00 – 10:00 p.m. – Open mic??

 

Sunday, September 28th:

 

Sunday 9:00 – 9:50

Writing from the Diaspora

South Asian writers in Trinidad have a different story to tell than those in South Africa, UK, US, Hong Kong, etc. – need more desc. (Phiroozeh Romer, Nayomi Munaweera, Preston Merchant, Gotham Mamik)

 

Poetry Workshop

No experience necessary! Come try some fun writing exercises with the guidance of our visiting writers; unlock your creativity! Please arrive on time – we will start promptly.

(Divya Rajan)

 

Sunday 10:00 – 10:50

Writing and Interdisciplinary Artistic Practice, Take Two (Film / video, visual art, etc.)

(Preston Merchant, Madhavi Reddi, Satyajit Kharkar, Riti Sachdeva)

 

Fiction Workshop

No experience necessary! Come try some fun writing exercises with the guidance of our visiting writers; unlock your creativity! Please arrive on time – we will start promptly.

(Meeta Kaur)

 

Readings

Dipika Mukherjee, Divya Rajan

 

Sunday 11:00 – 11:50

Film panel

(Anu Singh Chaudhary, Tetiana Kharchenko, Satyajit Kharkar, Madhavi Reddi)

 

Trauma and Memory in South Asian Literature

– need desc.

(Soniah Kamal, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Preston Merchant, Nayomi Munaweera)

 

Readings

Kavita Das, Visi Tilak

 

Sunday 12:00 – 12:50

Ask the Editor

Editors gather to discuss their work, and invite your questions.

(Syed Haider, Pooja Garg Singh, Diana Pho)

 

Performance & Reading

Prateek Srivastava, comedian / Dabhade reading (20 min. each)

 

Sunday 1:00 – 1:50

Fiction Workshop

No experience necessary! Come try some fun writing exercises with the guidance of our visiting writers; unlock your creativity! Please arrive on time – we will start promptly.

(Rajdeep Paulus)

 

Readings

Phiroozeh Romer / Pooja Garg Singh

 

Film Screenings

“The Queen of My Dreams,” by Fawzia Mirza (3 min)

“Yes I Am (American),” music video by Malini D. Sur (6 min)

“Coin Toss,” by Satya Kharkar (97 min)

 

Sunday 2:00 – 2:50

Readings

Deepak Unnikrishnan / Soniah Kamal

 

Kritigrid 00001 Kritigrid 00002 Kritigrid 00003 Kritigrid 00004

Photo Exhibit, “South Asian American History, Culture, and Community”

From August 25 – October 31, 2014, the photo and historical exhibit, “South Asian American History, Culture, and Community” will be displayed at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Ward Gallery, located on the second floor of the Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted St. The gallery is free admission and open to the public during building operational hours.

The exhibit has three sections – historical text and images about South Asian American immigrant communities (provided by SAAPRI), South Asian diasporic images by photographer Preston Merchant, and images submitted by UIC community and friends.

The exhibit is in conjunction and collaboration with the upcoming South Asian literature Kriti Festival, which will take place at UIC. A gallery reception, which kicks off the Kriti Festival, will take place on Thursday, September 25, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. For more information, contact Neha Kumar, Festival Assistant Director, info@kritifestival.org and visithttp://kritifestival.org.

The co-sponsors for the exhibit are UIC’s Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, Asian American Studies, Asian Studies, Campus Programs, and the community organization, SAAPRI (the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute).

The Ward Gallery is part of the UIC Office of Campus Programs under the Division of Student Affairs supporting students from orientation to graduation.

To register for the festival, please visit http://desilit.org/kriti/register/.

NOTE: Kriti is co-sponsored by the English Department, the Asian Studies Program, and the Asian American Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and will be held on campus, at 750 S. Halsted, Chicago.

merchant

Guild Complex / Kriti Reading, 9/24/14

Pleased to note that Kriti is collaborating with the Guild Complex on this reading. Wednesday, September 24th, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Guild Complex reading, “I Come to Your Country, Name Me,” a creative exploration of expatriation and migration in the Asian diaspora, co-sponsored by the Kriti Festival.

Rachel DeWoskin will read from her life as the megastar of a Chinese soap opera in Beijing, then read from her new book based in Shanghai. Mary Anne Mohanraj, in her memoir, discusses bisexuality, taboos and going home to a discontented Sri Lanka which is no longer home. Deepak’s writing is grounded in Abu Dhabi where he grew up as the son of Indian expatriates, but home has been America for more than a decade. All three readers live and work in Chicago. Curated by Dipika Mukherjee.

School of the Art Institute, LeRoy Neiman Center, 37 S. Wabash Ave., 1st floor, Chicago, IL. This event is free and open to the public.

Focus on: Mina Khan, Kavita Das, and Preston Merchant

Reminder: registration rates go up soon! Register for the festival at http://desilit.org/kriti/register/

Donate to the Kriti Festival Kickstarter at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1989320757/kriti-festival-of-south-asian-arts-and-literature

Our three featured panelists for today!

Mina Khan, author

Mina Khan, author

Author Mina Khan , originally from Bangladesh, lives in West Texas. She writes fiction dealing with identity, feminist issues and multicultural influences. She’s also worked for about 20 years as a journalist, covering business, technology, politics, and government in Bangladesh and the U.S. (Texas and Pennsylvania). Now she writes a weekly food column for the San Angelo Standard-Times, part of the Scripps Newspapers Group, for her day job.

Mina was invited to share her literary short story, The Storyteller, at the ASU Writers’ Conference’s in 2010. Her first published work, The Djinn’s Dilemma, won the novella category of the 2012 Romance Through The Ages (published) contest. A Tale of Two Djinns won the

Dead: A Ghost Story, cover

Dead: A Ghost Story, cover

2013 Readers’ Crown for best paranormal romance. Wildfire, her most recent release, is a finalist in the 2014 PRISM and 2014 Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence.

Also in 2012, Mina was featured as the Lady Lennia in April for Miss Millennia Magazine. Their mission is to inspire, encourage and empower young women. As Lady Lennia, she wrote a series of articles about her writing and community service for the magazine. She is the 2014 president of the Association of Asian-American Women and a founding member of the Peace Ambassadors of West Texas (an interfaith volunteer organization).

 


Kavita Das, writer

Kavita Das, writer

Kavita Das worked in the social change sector for fifteen years on issues ranging from homelessness to public health disparities to most recently, racial justice. She now focuses on writing nonfiction and creative nonfiction and her work has been published in The Aerogram, The Feminist Wire, Quartz, The Rumpus, Colorlines, Thought Catalog, and The Sun. She is at work on a personal biography about Lakshmi Shankar, a Grammy-nominated Hindustani singer who was part of the movement that took Indian music beyond the borders of India. Connect with Kavita on Twitter: @kavitamix

Lakshmi Shankar

Lakshmi Shankar


Preston Merchant, photographer

Preston Merchant, photographer

Preston Merchant lives in the Bay Area, California. He teaches photography as an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in New York. He is completing INDIAWORLD, a book-length photo essay, about the Indian diaspora communities of North America, the Caribbean, Britain, Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific. A selection of his images are featured in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute called, “Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation.”

Kickstarter Update — $1185 pledged!

Blast from the past — here’s our keynote speaker for the first Kriti festival,Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Doesn’t she look all writerly? She gave such a gracious keynote talk, highlighting all the younger desi writers she thought were doing exciting work in 2005. Manil Suri is going to have to work hard to match her! 

kritiphoto

We’re up to $1185 pledged of our $3000 goal, with just 7 days to go. The funds will enable us to hire a professional videographer, and also bring out an agent and an editor to the festival. If you can help spread the word, that would be super-helpful. There are some fun rewards at the various levels (dinner with me and the Guests of Honor, critiques, book bundles, tote bags and posters, etc.), but mostly, this is a great way for people to help support desi arts and literature.

Kickstarter is live!

Please consider supporting the Kriti Festival of South Asian Arts and Literature — it’s so important to have these dedicated spaces in which writers and artists of color can share their work with a wider community. We’re hoping to raise $3000 by Monday, August 11th — that’s just 18 days!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1989320757/kriti-festival-of-south-asian-arts-and-literature

Focus on: Vinita Agrawal, Anjali Mitter Duva, and Fawzia Mirza

Registration rates go up on August 1st! — http://desilit.org/kriti/register/

Three more of our wonderful panelists!

Vinita Agrawal, Author

Vinita Agrawal, author

Vinita Agrawal is a Mumbai based, award winning writer and poet. Her poems have been published in Asiancha, Constellations, The Fox Chase Review, Spark, Open Road Review, The Taj Mahal Review, CLRI, SAARC Anthologies, Kritya.org, Touch – The Journal of healing, Museindia, Everydaypoets.com, Mahmag World Literature, The Criterion, The Brown Critique, Contemporary Literary Review of India (CLRI), Twenty20journal.com, Sketchbook, Poetry 24, Mandala, Spark and have found place in several international anthologies.

 

Words Not Spoken, cover

Words Not Spoken, cover

Her poem was nominated for the Best of the Net Awards 2011 by CLRI. She received a prize from MuseIndia in 2010. Her poem was awarded a prize in the Wordweavers Contest 2013 and the First prize in the Feb 2014 Hour of Writes Contest. Her debut collection – Words Not Spoken – published by Brown Critique/Sampark was released in November 2013.

She can be reached at www.vinitawords.com


 

Anjali Mitter Duva, author

Anjali Mitter Duva, author

Anjali Mitter Duva is a writer who grew up in France and has family roots in Calcutta, India. She was educated at Brown University and MIT. Her first novel,Faint Promise of Rain, is due out with She Writes Press in October 2014. She is a co-founder of Chhandika, an organization that teaches and presents India’s classical storytelling kathak dance. Anjali lives near Boston with her husband and two daughters, and is at work on her second novel, set in 19th century Lucknow.

Faint Promise of Rain, cover

Faint Promise of Rain, cover


 

Fawzia Mirza, filmmaker

Fawzia Mirza, filmmaker

Fawzia Mirza is an actor, writer, and educator and has performed at theatres all over Chicago, most recently starring in Brahman/i produced by Silk Road Rising and About Face Theatres. She’s been featured in Chicago Fire, and a number of indie films. She writes and produces short films (The Queen of My Dreams & One Night Stand) and web series, most notably, Kam Kardashian. Her ‘day job’ has her touring yearlong to universities and military installations performing Sex Signals, the most popular sexual violence prevention show in the world. http://fawziamirza.com/

Me, My Mom & Sharmila, poster

Me, My Mom & Sharmila, poster


Call for UIC desi folks — South Asian American History and Culture: Images and text from the UIC and Chicago communities

Call for University of Illinois at Chicago South Asian / Diaspora Photography Submissions (Students/Faculty/Staff/Alumni)

Deadline: Monday, August 4, 5 p.m.

DesiLit’s Kriti Festival, in partnership with UIC’s Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, Asian American Studies, Asian Studies; Campus Programs, and the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute (SAAPRI), invite your photographic contributions to a collaborative exhibition, to be held in the Ward Gallery in Student Center East.

We welcome submissions of your own or family photos featuring South Asians and their families/communities, to be presented in conversation with informative panels from the Smithsonian’s Beyond Bollywood exhibit and SAAPRI. Both contemporary and older photos are welcome; we’re especially interested in seeing images from earlier years of South Asian presence in Chicago.

Possible topics include:

· Family
· Culture and Identities
· Immigration & Citizenship
· History
· Youth & Youth Cultures
· Community Organizing
· Chicago and or Community neighborhoods
· Arts and Literature, including dance, music and theater
· Food
· Religion and Spirituality

Media: Please send in up to 5 digital images (in .jpg format) for consideration; if you need help scanning photos in, AARCC has a scanner that you may use. Many libraries can also help with scanning. When submitting, smaller images are welcome (maximum 500K file size per image).

Work Size: The final work, once accepted, should be high res images (300 dpi), suitable for printing. Larger images are welcome, to maximize potential printing size.

Entry requirements: This exhibit is open to UIC students / alumni / faculty / staff.
Exhibit Run: August 25-October 30, 2014; reception on September 25
Entries Due: August 4, 2014, 5 p.m. by e-mail
Selection Process: By a committee consisting of UIC faculty and staff; we will review the week of August 4
Notification: By August 8, we will notify all submitters by e-mail
Accepted Work: If accepted, UIC will install and print images; students will be able to pick up work after November 1
Reception: Thursday, September 25, from 4-6 p.m.
Sales: No artwork will be offered for sale

Submit to: Neha Kumar, Festival Assistant Director, nehakritiplanning@hotmail.com; In e-mail subject line, please put – “Kriti Exhibit Submission”

Contact with questions: Dr. Mary Anne Mohanraj, Festival Director, mohanraj@uic.edu

Focus on: Nura Maznavi

We’re thrilled to announce that Nura Maznavi, co-editor of Love, InshAllah and Salaam, Love, will be joining us for the festival!

 

Nura Maznavi, author

Nura Maznavi, author

Nura Maznavi is an attorney, writer, and Fulbright Scholar. She has worked with migrant workers in Sri Lanka, on behalf of prisoners in California, and with a national legal advocacy organization leading a program to end racial and religious profiling. Nura is the co-editor of the groundbreaking anthologies “Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women” and “Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex & Intimacy.” She is an alumna of VONA/Voices of Our Nations writers’ workshop. She lives in Chicago.

Salaam, Love, cover

Salaam, Love, cover

Love, InshAllah, cover

Love, InshAllah, cover

Focus on: Vidhu Aggarwal, Sonali Dev, and Arvind Venugopal

Three more of our fabulous panelists!

Vidhu Aggarwal

Vidhu Aggarwal, poet

Vidhu Aggarwal grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and Sugar Land Texas, and currently lives and teaches in central Florida. Her poetry and video are a mash-up of cultural forms such as Bollywood, Star Trek, video games, internet porn, anime, minstrel shows, and tourist attractions.
Her poems can be found in Sugar House Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Juked, Nimrod, PANK, desi-lit, and interlope among others. Readings and videos are available at the website www.vidhu-aggarwal.squarespace.com
She is the found editor of SPECS, a journal of arts and culture with issues on Toys, The Perverse, and Homuncular Flexibility — www.specsjournal.org.

 


Sonali Dev, author

Sonali Dev, author

Sonali Dev’s first literary work was a play about mistaken identities performed at her neighborhood Diwali extravaganza in Mumbai. She was eight years old. Despite this early success, Sonali spent the next few decades getting degrees in architecture and written communication, working as Assistant Editor at The Indian Architect and Builder and blogging for sulekha.com and rediff.com.

A Bollywood Affair, cover

A Bollywood Affair, cover

With the advent of her first gray hair her mad love for telling stories returned full force and she combined it with her love of Bollywood films and her outrage at archaic social customs to conjure up her debut novel, A Bollywood Affair, which was a 2013 finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest. Sonali believes that the modern face of the romance genre is the perfect feminist platform- stories of women, by women, for women, and she is excited to bring diversity and social awareness to it while still indulging her faith in a happily ever after.


Arvind Venugopal, singerArvind Venugopal is a trained Carnatic vocalist from Chennai, India. Carnatic music from South India is one of the oldest systems of music in the world. For almost a decade, Arvind trained at Sri Thyaga Brahma Gana Sabha under the guidance of two gurus, the late Sri Gopalakrishna Sarma and Sri Ranganathan Sarma. Arvind grew up in a musically gifted family where music permeates daily life. His mother has dual degrees in Classical Hindustani and Carnatic Music, his father is a learned classical music connoisseur, and his extended family fills family gatherings with melodious ragas.

Arvind believes that the beauty of music is that it is fundamentally universal and simplistic. Like his transcontinental life across America and India, he believes that the fusion of different genres of music across East and West is a symbol of our shared worlds. With his roots in classical music theory, Arvind experiments with multiple instruments and music apps on his tablet – creating unique hybrid sounds that serve as his inspiration.

Arvind has performed at various events around the DC/Baltimore area, and has featured at soulful venues like BloomBars and Culture Coffee.