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Panel | Writing for your own Community

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About this session

What does it mean to be a South Asian American writer in a predominantly white publishing world? What happens when one’s writing is seen as representing one’s community by others, and yet occupies a different (hybrid) space. This panel comprising different genres, with diverse connections to being South Asian in America, will delve into questions on writing and expectations--both internal and external--and tackle the complex issue of "who do we write for."

Asian American storytelling has frequently been interpreted under the white hegemonic gaze. This panel will look at Asian American writers of South Asian descent who often take risks in their writing—as outliers—pushing against the dominant literary narrative of their communities to examine conflicts, challenges, and innovations, that exist among them. Topics discussed will resonate with other cultural groups as well.

Mathangi Subramanian

Mathangi Subramanian is an Indian American writer and educator who believes stories have the power to change the world. Her novel A People's History of Heaven was long listed for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award, and was named a Skipping Stones Honor Book. Her middle grades book Dear Mrs. Naidu won the South Asia Book Award. Her essays and op-eds have appeared in The Washington Post, Ms., Zora Magazine, and Al Jazeera America, among others. She holds a doctorate in Communications and Education from Columbia University Teachers College, and currently lives with her husband and her daughter in San Jose.

Anita Felicelli

Anita Felicelli is the author of CHIMERICA: A NOVEL and the short story collection LOVE SONGS FOR A LOST CONTINENT, which won the 2016 Mary Roberts Rinehart Award. Anita's stories have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Terrain, The Normal School, Joyland, Kweli Journal, Eckleburg, and elsewhere. Her essays, reviews, and criticism have appeared in Catapult, SF Chronicle, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the New York Times (Modern Love), Slate, and elsewhere. She graduated from UC Berkeley and UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. Her work has received a Puffin Foundation grant, two Greater Bay Area Journalism awards, and Pushcart Prize nominations, and has placed as a finalist in several Glimmer Train contests. She grew up in the Bay Area, where she lives with her family.

Shikha Malaviya

Shikha Malaviya is a South Asian American poet, writer and publisher. She is co-founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, a mentorship model press publishing powerful voices from India & the Indian diaspora. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and featured in PLUME, Chicago Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner & other fine publications. Shikha was a featured TEDx speaker in GolfLinks, Bangalore, in 2013, where she gave a talk on poetry. She was selected as Poet Laureate of San Ramon, California, 2016. Shikha is a four-time AWP poetry mentor and the 2020 poetry judge for AWP’s Kurt Brown Prize. Currently, she is a Mosaic Silicon Valley Fellow, committed to cultural diversity and artistic excellence in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her book of poems is Geography of Tongues.

Ina Roy

Ina Roy-Faderman’s poetry, fiction, interviews, and literary analyses have appeared in Transition: Poems in the Aftermath (Indolent Books), Nunum, Inscape, Midwestern Studies in Philosophy, The Rumpus and elsewhere. Educated at Stanford (MD) and U.C. Berkeley (PhD), she teaches undergraduate and graduate biomedical ethics and is an assistant fiction editor at Rivet Magazine and assistant poetry editor at Right Hand Pointing.

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