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.
Fatimah Asghar is a poet and performer. She is a Kundiman Fellow and a member of the Dark Noise Collective. Her work has been published in The Paris-American, Drunken Boat, Solstice, Word Riot, Muzzle Magazine, DecomP, Fringe, and many others. In 2011 she created Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first Spoken Word Poetry group, REFLEKS, while on a Fulbright studying theater in post-genocidal countries. Her chapbook “Rewind/Play” is being released on YesYes Books in the Summer of 2015.
Lopa Banerjee is in her final year of a graduate program in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She has written a a book-length collection of personal essays, ‘Still With Me’ and also a poetry collection, ‘All Those Plain, Earthen Songs’ which has been accepted for publication. She is a regular contributor to ‘Cafe Dissensus’, an alternate journal of literature and the arts. Her poetry and essays have also appeared and are forthcoming at ‘Fine Lines’, ‘About Place’, ‘Yahoo Voices’, ‘Northeast Review’, ‘The Mind Creative’ and ‘Incredible Women of India’.
Catherine Becker, Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is a historian of South Asian art and architecture. Her first book _Shifting Stones, Shaping the Past: Sculpture from the Buddhist Stupas of Andhra Pradesh_ investigates the production and use of Buddhist art in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh from the second century of the Common Era to the present. A current research project examines the material remains of artistic and cultural exchange between Buddhist communities in Andhra Pradesh and Sri Lanka during the early centuries of the Common Era. Her second book-length project documents and analyzes India’s spectacular son-et-lumière shows, which overlay the monuments of India’s past with markers of modernity, such as electricity and Bollywood showmanship.
Tanaz Bhathena was born in India and raised in Saudi Arabia. She moved to Canada as a teenager and has been living there ever since. Her work has appeared in Blackbird, Witness, Room Magazine and Asia Literary Review. She is the 2009 winner of the Mississauga Arts Council award for Emerging Literary Arts and a semi-finalist for the 2012 Jeffrey Archer Short Story Contest. She has most recently completed a novel.
Anu Singh Chaudhary is a New Delhi-based Communications Consultant, Documentary Filmmaker, Writer, Editor, Translator and Blogger – all rolled into one. A compulsive multitasker and mother of eight year old twins, Anu writes columns on parenting, child rights and women & youth empowerment. When she is not traveling across the country to make documentaries, she weaves radio stories and trains students on video production. She has directed four independent documentaries and has co-directed and scripted several others on issues ranging from survival of primitive tribal groups to women role models.
‘Neela Scarf is Anu’s first collection of short stories, which has created a record of sorts by becoming first Hindi book which received over 1000 prebookings on various ecommerce sites in less than a month. Anu is also the Deputy Creative Head of Content Project Pvt. Ltd – India’s only company of professional writers writing across all verticals including TV, radio and films.
As an un-authenticated essayist and poet, Uma Dabhade is looking up and forward towards copywrighted publication. An Elmhurst native she draws heavily upon her experiences at the University of Illinois and those years devoted to writing and film at Urbana-Champaign. While she was at Urbana, she drew heavily upon her formative years and adolescence shaped in Elmhurst. Now she is running circles in the sky as the two dynamic forces of her writing background blend into her present day musings. What? She likes to write. You may also spot her taking pictures at the Morton Arboreteum, playing the violin in concert with the Sinfoinetta Bel Canto, or at the Alliance Francaise parlez-vous-ing francais!
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
Ashini Desai balances creative writing with family, community and technology management career. Her poems have been published in anthologies Cities (2014), a 3-dimensional anthology Overplay/Underdone (2013), as well as journals such as Philadelphia Poets (2009) and Thema (2007) and Asian-American poetry Word Masala (2011), Yellow as Tumeric, Fragrant as Cloves (2009). In addition, her personal essay was included in an anthology, Labor Pains and Birth Stories (2009). She has written poetry, book reviews and columns for South Asian-centric websites (Desilit, Sawnet, Sulekha, Desijournal, ABCDLady). Her website highlighting selected poems is ashinipoetry.blogspot.com.
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.
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.
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.
J. Daniel Elam teaches in the Asian American Studies Program at Northwestern University. He writes about Indian anticolonial thought between South Asia and North America in the 1920s. He has published essays on Lala Har Dayal, Bhagat Singh, Emma Goldman, W.E.B. DuBois, and Dhan Gopal Mukerji.
Jason Grunebaum is a fiction writer and translator. His books include The Girl with the Golden Parasol and The Walls of Delhi, both translated from the Hindi of Uday Prakash, and Manzoor Ahtesham’s The Tale of the Missing Man. His work has been shortlisted for the DSC Prize in South Asian Literature, longlisted for the National Translation Award, and he has received an NEA Literature Fellowship and a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant. He teaches at the University of Chicago.
Samina Hadi-Tabassum, Ed.D., is an Associate Professor at Dominican University located in River Forest, Illinois. She graduated from Northwestern University in 1993 with an English degree. She later obtained a doctorate from Columbia University in cultural and linguistic anthropology. Her first book publication, Language, Space and Power, focuses on language education. In 2015, she will release a second book publication on the topic of race, culture and language. She has just begun publishing her poetry and hopes to continue writing. Samina works every summer in India with the Teach for India foundation.
She just published her first poem in East Lit magazine.
Syed Afzal Haider Syed Afzal Haider is a Writer and Senior Editor at Chicago Quarterly Review (www.chicagoquarterlyreview.com). He was born in India, lived in Pakistan and educated in America. Haider’s short stories and essays have appeared in The Saint Ann’s Review, Amerasia Journal, Rambunctious Review, Marco Polo, Trajectory, The Journal of Pakistani Literature and Indian Voices, and other publications. Oxford University Press, Milkweed Editions, Penguin Books, and Pearson, Longman Literature have anthologized Haider’s writings. His novel To Be With Her, was published in October 2010. His short story collection, Tumbleweed Connection was finalist for MVP competition. Life of Ganesh is excerpted form his second novel, that is under consideration. Lust. Loss. Longing, a collection of his short stories is forthcoming. He can be contacted at email@example.com
An Isolated Incident is Soniah Kamal‘s debut novel. Hairy Potter, her collected social satire column which ran in The Daily Times Sunday (Pakistan) is available on e-readers. Soniah is the recipient of the Susan B. Irene Award from St. Johns College and she is the 2014 Paul Bowles Fiction Fellow at Georgia State University where she is an Assistant Editor for Five Points: A Journal of Literature & Arts. Soniah’s short stories, essays and book reviews are published in the U.S. Canada, India and Pakistan, and have recieved nods in national newspapers such Dawn, The Hindu, The Daily Star, The Daily Times, The Tribune, and publications such as Newsline, Ms. Magazine and Bust Magazine amongst others. Soniah writes for ArtsATL where she has interviewed authors such as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Pearl Cleage and Edwidge Danticat. Soniah lives in Johns Creek, Georgia and is currently working on her second novel.
Meeta Kaur is a creative writer and the managing editor of the anthology, Her Name Is Kaur, Sikh American Women Write About Love, Courage, and Faith published by She Writes Press. Kaur looks forward to several community discussions on Her Name Is Kaur across the United States and beyond. She also looks forward to becoming a student of craft again to write her next full-length book, and expand upon her roles as a speaker and teacher. Kaur loves spending time with her family, staying completely and utterly challenged as a mother, cooking, swimming, hiking, traveling, and wants to settle into a sense of “home” within herself.
Parul Kaushik, an expat from New Delhi and a physician practicing medicine in Chicago, has always been a storyteller at heart. Currently she is pursuing her MFA in creative writing from Pacific University, Oregon. Her stories have been published in Journal of Ordinary Thought, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, and Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Voice. She has also penned several articles in scientific journals and book chapters in medical textbooks.
Author Mina Khan , originally from Bangladesh, is now a proud West Texan. 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 for her day job.
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 2013 Readers’ Crown for best paranormal romance. Wildfire, her most recent release, won the 2014 Prism Award for Best First Book.
Satyajit Kharkar a.k.a. Satya is a film maker based in Chicago land area. Satya grew up in Aurangabad, one of the most historical and culturally vibrant cities of India.
COIN TOSS (2013) is Satya Kharkar’s debut feature film as a director. COIN TOSS won the “Audience Favorite Debut Film Award” at the 11th International Route 66 film festival at Springfield, IL, USA.
Satya’s other notable directorial credits include short film “D.W.T.” (Driving While Texting) made in public interest for encouraging people not to text while driving.
An award winning mini short “My Dad, My Hero” – a finalist under two categories Audience Favorite and Best Short Film at the “2011 Life Fest Film Festival” in Los Angele’s.
Short film “Welcome to Chicago” (Marathi) is yet another of Satya’s significant directorial achievements. A heartwarming video invitation made for Indian community convention held at Chicago’s McCormick place in 2011. For this voluntary community effort Satya and his team assembled a team of forty Chicago artists, mostly amateur, ages ranging from 7 to 70 years and made them sing, write, act, and compose music for making this beautiful short film invitation.
“A reason to live on (Marathi) is a documentary directed by Satya in public interest featuring a young man who won India’s one of the prestigious award in 2005 for his creative writings despite of suffering from cerebral palsy. Satya accidentally met with him while he was on a short trip to India. Indian news media has appreciated this documentary effort.
Seema Khurana has been teaching Hindi language and literature for 12 years as a Senior Lecturer at Yale University. She is the current President of South Asian Language Teachers Association (SALTA) and a Board Member of the World Hindi Foundation. Through her teaching, she has come to understand the challenges less commonly taught language teachers face as well the places they can go to get support, seek answers and interact with other less commonly taught language teachers, and serves on committees for the National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages and on Task Force for Directed Independent Language Study at Yale. She has been working on the “Partition Narrative” project for seven years, to create an oral history of the Partition by conducting and recording interviews. In 2000, she produced the first Hindi-book-on audiotape in the U.S., starting with Amrita Pritham’s “Pinjar.” She currently is a frequent guest host on “Geetmala,” an Indian music show for WVKR, 91.3 FM, Vassar College Radio. Her short stories and poems have been published in various Hindi-language magazines and anthologies. (http://www.yale.edu/macmillan/southasia/flash.htm)
Swati Khurana is a writer and visual artist from New York City. She has shown her work at DUMBO Arts Festival, Brooklyn Museum, Queens Museum, and Chatterjee & Lal (Mumbai), and has been published in Asian American Literary Review, Bloom, Feminist Wire, Jaggery, Columbia Review, and The Weeklings. Her collaborative project “Unsuitable Girls” with Anjali Bhargava is at the Smithsonian’s “Beyond Bollywood’ exhibition. She has received many awards, including from the Jerome Foundation, Atlantic Center of the Arts, and Bronx Council of the Arts.Currently a Fiction MFA student at Hunter College and Kundiman fellow, Swati is working on her first novel, tentatively titled “The Printmakers’ Guide to Love and Lahore.” www.swatikhurana.com
Shikha Malaviya is an Indo-American poet & writer, born in the U.K. and raised in Minnesota and India. Her book, Geography of Tongues, was launched in December 2013 and featured in Poetry with Prakriti, The Times of India Literary Carnival & other festivals. Shikha is founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Project, an archive of modern Indian poetry and a co-founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, a literary press. Shikha’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and published in journals such as Prairie Schooner & the Water~Stone Review. She was a featured TEDx speaker in GolfLinks, Bangalore, in 2013.
Gotham Mamik‘s works have appeared in various respected literary journals. His short story, “A Word Unlike” was awarded a prize at the Writer’s Village Story contest in the UK. He has recently completed his first novel length literary satire, “How Bollywood Killed My Family” and is currently based in New York.
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.
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.”
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/
Shailen Mishra is currently a PhD candidate at Illinois State University. He has presented creative and scholarly works in many national level conferences. In 2012, he received the Tom Kuster Creative Writing Award at Illinois State University. His short fiction has appeared in The Shine Journal, and he edits the Spoon River Poetry Review blog.
Neha Misra is a Washington, D.C. based folk artist, a poet and a social entrepreneur. Inspiration for Neha’s art comes from a childlike fascination with eye popping joyful colors that she traces to the rich South Asian tapestry of her life spread over both sides of the Atlantic. Neha’s creations bring out an enchantment with the magic of nature and a deep interest in neuroscience to connect with the right brain- our spiritual and creative connection with the world within and without. Neha’s creative experiments are a unique blend of rich traditions of folk arts forms of Madhubani Art, Mughal Engravings, Rangoli/Kolams, Gond Art, Yoga Mandalas and Henna art. Why folk art? Neha would reply, “Because it is earthy, innocent, and truly democratic – of the people, by the people, for the people.”
As a poet, Neha enjoys painting pictures in words, as through her brush. She has designed and taught a class on mindfulness, everyday art appreciation and creative writing called “Poetry of Public Art” at Knowledge Commons DC, a free school for thinkers, doers, and tinkerers; and at Bloombars, Washington City Paper’s “Best Of DC 2014” Reader’s choice for “Best Arts and Culture Nonprofit!.” Neha is also a member of the Sanctuaries DC, which brings people of diverse cultural and spiritual backgrounds together and empowers them to collaborate on artistic projects that make a difference in the city.
Her website is http://nehamisra20.wix.com/art-studio.
Dipika Mukherjee’s fictional and academic work has focused on Southeast Asia, and especially Malaysia. Her debut novel Thunder Demons (Gyaana, 2011) is based on the current socio-political situation in Malaysia and was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize. She has edited two anthologies of Southeast Asian short stories: Silverfish New Writing 6 (Silverfish, 2006) and The Merlion and Hibiscus (Penguin, 2002). Rubicon Press published her first poetry chapbook, The Palimpsest of Exile, in 2009. She teaches Sociolinguistics at Northwestern University.
More information at dipikamukherjee.com
Nayomi Munaweera is a Sri Lankan-American author. Her debut novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, was initially published in South Asia in 2013. It was long-listed for the Man Asia Literary Prize and the Dublin IMPAC Prize. It won the Commonwealth Regional Prize for Asia and was short listed for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. It will be released in America on September 2nd 2014 by St. Martin’s Press. She is currently at work on her second novel and lives in Oakland, California.
Rajdeep Paulus, Award-winning author ofSwimming Through Clouds and Seeing Through Stones, decided to be a writer during her junior year in high school after her English teacher gave her an “F” but told her she had potential. She studied English Literature at Northwestern University, and she writes masala-marinated, Young Adult Fiction, blogging for MasalaMommas, Brown Girl Magazine, Playlist Fiction, Nomi Network and her own site at rajdeeppaulus dot com.
When Paulus is not tapping on her Mac, you can find her dancing with her four princesses, kayaking with her hubs, coaching basketball or eating dark chocolate while sipping a frothy, sugar-free latte. She secretly hopes to one day own a laptop that functions under water! Oops. The secret’s out.
Swimming Through Clouds won several honors in 2012 including 2nd Place Finalist – 2012 NORWA (Young Adult Fiction), Finalist Women of Faith – Full Manuscript, Honorable Mention – Finalist Wisconsin RWA (Young Adult Fiction).
Diana M. Pho is an editor at Tor/Forge Books and is also a scholar, activist, performer, and general rabble-rouser. Under the pseudonym Ay-leen the Peacemaker, she is runs Beyond Victoriana, an award-winning, US-based blog on multicultural steampunk, and the oldest-existing blog on this topic. For several years, she has traveled the country as a professional convention speaker about social justice issues and fandom. She has multiple academic and non-fiction publications, including in Fashion Talks: Undressing the Power of Style, Steaming into a Victorian Future, the Journal of Victorian Culture Online, Overland magazine, The Anatomy of Steampunk, and Steampunk World. Diana currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Madhavi Reddi (disciple of Smt.Padmarani Rasiah Cantu, Fine Arts Society, Yogaville) has been studying Bharatanatyam for the past 18 years. She recently graduated from American University with a degree in film and hopes to combine her passion for dance and film to spread art worldwide.
Phiroozeh Romer was born in Karachi and raised in Vancouver, BC. She has since lived in South Korea, England and Trinidad and Tobago but it’s amid the aunties and the masala-scented air of the Bay Area that she has found home. Her fiction has been part of the Bloom Series and the Kearney Street Workshop in San Francisco. Her non-fiction appears in the Karachi Literature Festival Anthology. Phiroozeh also teaches Bombay Jam, a Bollywood-based dance fitness program, the perfect antidote to living in your head all day long. phiroozeh.blogspot.com
Riti Sachdeva is a theatre maker, dancer, and cultural worker. She is a 2014-16 Women’s Project Theatre Lab fellow and an alumnus of the Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater. Her plays have been developed by The Civilians, The Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, The Minneapolis PlayWrights Center, and the National New Play Network. Her play Parts of Parts & Stitches received the Kennedy Center’s Quest for Peace award and a world premiere in NYC produced by Manhattan Theatre Works. Riti is a devoted student of flamenco and is primary instigator at midNites cHiLd Productions http://www.facebook.com/midniteschild
Manish Shah is a native of Chicago. He is a computer scientist and social entrepreneur by day and an artist at heart. You may have seen him performing with various theater companies around Chicago including The Second City, Rasaka, Chicago Dramatist and Lifeline.
Vivek Sharma‘s first collection Saga of a Crumpled Piece of Paper was shortlisted for Muse India Young Writer Award 2011. Vivek writes verses and essays in both English and Hindi. His poems in English are published in Atlanta Review, The Cortland Review, Mythium, Bateau, Breakwater Review, Muse India and Reading Hour, among others. Vivek grew up in Himachal Pradesh (Himalayas, India), and moved to the United States in 2001. He is a Pushcart nominated poet and and is also published as a scientist. At present, Vivek is on the faculty of chemical engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Pooja Garg Singh is Reviews Editor for Jaggery, a South Asian literature journal. Her first anthology of poems, Of Thaw, Thirst and Other Grey Things is forthcoming. Her essays, articles and poems have been featured in various places such as The Missing Slate, The Feminist Wire, The Aerogram, The North East Review, Cafe Dissensus, Muse India and The Brown Critique. Based in Atlanta, Pooja is also part of Mandli, a motley group of story writers in India who write content for radio, television, films and other media formats. In past, Pooja has been a business journalist having worked with publications such as India Today Group and IDG etc. A researcher and mass communications specialist, she runs a content company, WordTree (www.wordtree.in).
Bidisha Sinha is a singer/songwriter and public health practitioner who has a passion for social justice and global health issues. She is currently a Regional Director for Tobacco Control and Childhood Obesity Prevention in the US Dept of Health and Human Services and ultimately wishes to work in the context of developing countries. When she is not working, she can be seen performing both Western and Eastern songs at open mics, concerts, festivals and maybe at your private party and hosting the Subcontinental Drift open mic in Chicago! She enjoys collaborating with others on projects that span from Indian Rock to Electronic Dance Music (EDM) and has been performing on stage since childhood. One of her favorite experiences has been trying out for an Andrew Lloyd Weber Broadway production for which she was a finalist for the lead. She is also an accomplished dancer, trained in the classical Indian dance form of Bharatanatyam, but known for her ability take from a diverse array of dance styles to make her own. She sits on the junior boards at Apna Ghar and Aids Foundation of Chicago and is very active with their events and advocacy-related work!
Although he received a master’s degree in architecture from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and has worked for many years in the field (most notably at I.M. Pei’s New York office), Bishakh Som has, in recent years, decided to focus on art, comics, illustration and graphic design.
Bishakh Som’s work investigates the intersection between image and text, figure and architecture, architecture and landscape. He is inspired by the grammar of comics and graphic novels but seeks to expand the vocabulary of the narratives traditionally presented in this medium by exploring themes of gender, sexuality, memory and urbanism, among other things. On a formal level, some of his pieces conflate the tools of architectural representation with those of sequential narrative in order to question these very methods and offer new means of representing space, time and the role of the body in both simultaneously.
Bishakh Som’s work has previously appeared in Hi-horse, Blurred Vision, Pood, the academic journal Specs, The Brooklyn Rail and Volume 3 of the much-lauded Graphic Canon series. He received a Xeric grant in 2003 for his comics collection Angel and has exhibited his paintings in Animal Magic, a solo show at ArtLexis Gallery in 2010 and in group shows at Rhode Island College and at Grady Alexis gallery in New York. He recently completed Apsara Engine, a 200-page collection of graphic short stories. He lives in Brooklyn, NY. You can see more of his paintings, comics and illustrations at www.bishakh.com.
Prateek Srivastava‘s comedic talent has landed him on nationally recognized stages such as Zanies Comedy Club, The Improv, Jokes and Notes, and Second City. Prateek is a castmember of the weekly show 100 Proof Comedy at ComedySportz Theater in Chicago. Prateek was a finalist performer in NBC’s Stand Up for Diversity Showcase. When he’s not onstage, Prateek is a writer/producer for the sketch show TALK HARD. Talk Hard was voted BEST Sketch Show by the Chicago Reader.
Prateek’s comedy has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Time Out Chicago Magazine and on NPR’s Race Out Loud Series.
Malini D. Sur, MD is a singer-songwriter hailing from New York. Now pursuing her training in cancer surgery in Chicago, she often uses her music to reflect on patient encounters—whether uplifting or tragic. Her debut album, Notes in Progress, was released on iTunes in 2008. In 2010, Malini wrote and produced “Yes I Am (American),” a music video response to proposed anti-immigration legislation in Arizona. Her second album, The Hour of Passage, was released on iTunes in February 2013. She played in New York venues such as the legendary Bitter End and has performed at Chicago’s Subcontinental Drift shows.
Tara Swaminathan is a well-known classically trained singer and hails from a family of musicians. She is a versatile singer and, singing in many languages, she has delighted audiences throughout the US for over 30 years. She is a firm believer in the adage that “music is a universal language”. She says that her husband is her best critic and the strongest supporter.She is thankful to all her teachers who have taught her and she says “you have never finished learning ..it is a journey ” ..so she continues on her journey now focussing on Gazals and their rendition.
Ankur Thakkar is the City of Chicago’s first Digital Director and a Fiction Editor for TriQuarterly Magazine. His writing has previously appeared in Guernica, TriQuarterly, and as part of the 2014 Twitter Fiction Festival. He has an MFA in creative writing from Northwestern University and is writing his first novel.
Deepak Unnikrishnan is a writer from Abu Dhabi. His first set of short stories, Coffee Stains in a Camel’s Teacup was published by Vijitha Yapa Publications (Colombo, Sri Lanka). His fiction and non-fiction has appeared in Drunken Boat, Himal Southasian, Bound Off, The State Vol IV: Dubai, the art project Autopoiesis (www.autopoiesis.io), and in the anthology Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana (Zubaan Books, India). He has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where on scholarship he completed the manuscript for his first work of fiction set in the Gulf, excerpts from which are forthcoming in Guernica. He is the winner of the 2014 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, and was one of the finalists for the DNA-Out of Print Short Fiction Contest.
Sutikshna Veeravali is a Bharatanatyam artiste (Indian classical dance) and Carnatic vocalist (Indian classical music) from Chicago, IL. From age five, she has been passionately pursuing both arts and is now a solo artiste performing across the U.S. and in India. She was featured in “Aval Vikatan” and “Mangayar Malar”, two leading women’s magazines in South India, and also in an interview on “Kalai Malar”, Jaya TV. Recently, she was awarded the title of “Yuva Kala Vipanchee” for youth excellence in Indian classical music and dance by Vipanchee, an organization founded by internationally renowned musician, Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna. Dance is Sutikshna’s celebration and communication of human expressions and capabilities.
Arvind 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.