I said I missed Asia. His elderly friend beckoned to me and showed me his smartphone--a video of a dance performance in China. Little girls singing shrilly. “If you miss it,” he beamed, “Just watch YouTube.”
My grandmother spent many long years cleaning toilets, washing bedsheets, and mopping floors doing the best she could to navigate a country knowing her then-undocumented status and her lack of language skills put her at a severe disadvantage.
Kalyan Ray's sweeping new novel, No Country, takes us back to the height of the colonial era and to the present, using a network of characters to understand the South Asian diaspora. We begin in 19th Century Ireland, tracing families to Calcutta, New York, from 1843 to the present. Throughout, Ray offers rich prose and characters, giving life to this expansive history.
Journalist and editor Siddhartha Mitter will moderate a conversation with Ray.
Presented by the Indo-American Arts Council in collaboration with Asian American Writers Workshop.
Kalyan Ray grew up in Calcutta after his family was uprooted from the Ganges Delta (now Bangladesh) through a combination of political upheavals, natural disasters, and poverty. Educated in India and the U.S., he has lived and taught in Ireland, Greece, Ecuador, Jamaica, and the Philippines, and currently divides his time between the U.S. and Kolkata. He is the author of Eastwords, and has translated several books of contemporary Indian poetry into English. He is married to acclaimed Indian film director and actress Aparna Sen.
Siddhartha Mitter has been an arts correspondent for the Boston Globe since 2004. He has worked as a culture reporter for WNYC—New York Public Radio, 2006-09, and published in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, TC Today (Teachers College), Colloquy (Harvard).
Two Truths and a Lie: Writing Memoir and Autobiographical Fiction
Six Mondays from October 6- November 10, 2014, 7PM-9PM at AAWW
Fee: $275 General/$250 AAWW Members
Deposit: $50 General Deposit/$40 Members
Writing from life can be a tricky business. There are people to protect, faulty memories of events, and the pitfalls of self-censorship. In this workshop, we will employ techniques of poetry and fiction to create works of Memoir and Autobiographical Fiction. Through original writing exercises, we will learn literary techniques including character, dialogue, setting and story arc. In our writing, we will draw upon both the truths and lies of our experience because our lives are too rich not to write about and our imaginations too strong to ignore. Every writer will have the opportunity to workshop one original piece. All levels of writers are welcome.
If interested, please e-mail a paragraph about yourself and the writing project you would like to work on to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bushra Rehman’s first novel Corona, a dark comedy about being South Asian in the United States, was noted among Poets & Writers Best Debut Fiction and featured in the LA Review of Books among a new wave of South Asian American Literature. Rehman also co-edited the anthology Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism which was included in Ms. Magazine’s “100 Best Non-Fiction Books of All Time.” Her writing has been featured in numerous anthologies and journals. She has taught creative writing for over 15 years at organizations including Teacher & Writers Collaborative, Urban Word NYC and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. Check out her website.
What Writers are Saying About “Two Truths a Lie”
This class was an invaluable tool for combining reflection and creative energy. Bushra created an environment that was stimulating, challenging, and accepting all at once. This space opened up imaginative channels that had been blocked for years. This class helped lay the groundwork for a writing practice that will stretch well beyond these weeks. I'm so thankful for this space that brings all kinds of people together, and makes new writing and thinking possible!
The workshop legitimizes the stories we tell with a supportive, diverse cast of eager readers. Bushra has the ability to govern a group into a family. An adjective to describe Two Truths and a Lie is: reformative.
-Pio Tsai, Writer
Two Truths was a reinvigorating experience for me as a writer. Bushra guided us in learning and experimenting with tools of the craft, and always made sure to set aside a chunk of time to actually write during workshop. She shared lots of resources with us and I loved the reading selections she curated with our interests in mind. It was a great experience to help co-create a community of writers where each person's work was given the time to be critiqued in detail, in a way that both supports you and pushes you to grow.
- Noelle de la Paz, Writer..