In Letters to our Mothers, five writers celebrate the multi-faceted voices of South Asian women in Queens and what it means to be heard across distance. This rare joint production curated by Adhikaar’s Executive Director Luna Ranjit, in collaboration with Queens Council on the Arts and The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, showcases readings by Asian American Literary Award-winning fiction author Meera Nair, author and Wall Street Journal editor S. Mitra Kalita, and poets Arun Storrs and Amy T. Paul. Shardha and Megha Lama—theater members of Adhikaar’s Arts & Activism Program—will perform “I wish I could tell my Aama,” a theater piece incorporating dance and visual arts to tell bridge the difficult distances between mothers and daughters, asking “Aama did I ever tell you, I want to sing?”Reserve your spot here. There will be food!
Meera Nair is the author of VIDEO: Stories and a forthcoming novel from Pantheon, tentatively titled HARVEST. VIDEO won the Asian-American Literary Award and was chosen a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and Book magazine. Her stories, articles and essays have also appeared in the <>New York Times magazine, theNational Post, The Threepenny Review, Calyx, Discover as well as in various anthologies and on National Public Radio’s Selected Shorts. Meera has won fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts (2004 & 2008) and the MacDowell Artists’ Colony.
Amy Paul is a poet, activist, and a Radio Producer of Asia Pacific Forum. In 2006, Amy served as Project Manager of “Sukh aur Dukh ki Kahani”, a Domestic Worker Theater Project and Performance.
Arun Storrs is an artist/activist born in Kathmandu and adopted when she was seven weeks old. She acted in, directed, and choreographed for several gender-focused performances, including The Vagina Monologues, Electra Speaks (a revival of the Women’s Experimental Theater’s original work), and Un-Gender (a dance theater piece performed at the Baryshnikov Art Center). In 2007, she received the Yale College Public Service Research Grant to travel to Nepal and work with Tibetan refugee children to implement a dance theater titled “Tibet Imagined.”
Shradha Lama was born in Kathmandu, Nepal and grew up Darjeeling and Bangalore, before moving to New York in April 2006. Her parents are her inspiration. She is currently studying at Queens College. Shradha participated in Adhikaar’s Arts & Activism group in the fall of 2009, including the performance Nepali Queens: Un-silencing the Journey.
Megha Lama was born and raised in Kathmandu and went to school in Bangalore, India, before moving to Sunnyside, where she now lives with her parents and sister. Megha participated in Adhikaar’s Summer Internship, in addition to taking part in Adhikaar’s Arts & Activism, including the November 2009 performance of Nepali Queens: Un-silencing the Journey in Woodside, Queens.
Adhikaar’s Arts & Activism Program provides a safe space for Nepali and Tibetan young women to explore creative self-expression,through writing, photography, dance, visual arts and performance.
Luna Ranjit was born in Katmandu. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Adhikaar, a nonprofit that addresses human rights and social justice issues pertaining to Nepali women in New York City. She earned a BA in Economics from Grinnell College and MPA in public policy at Princeton University. She has been awarded a Union Square Awards, New York Women’s Foundation Neighborhood Leadership Award, and Ridgewood Nepalese Society Community Leadership Award. Her activism has been profiled in the New York Daily News.
Mitra Kalita is the deputy global economics editor at the Wall Street Journal and the author of Suburban Sahibs: Three immigrant families and their passage from India to America. At the Journal, she anchors the weekly column, New Global Indian. Most recently, she helped launch Mint, a business newspaper in New Delhi, as a founding editor, columnist and member of the editorial leadership team. Before that, she was a reporter at the Washington Post, Newsday and the Associated Press. She has covered a wide range of general assignment and business stories, including the impact of 9/11 on New York City’s economy, on immigration and on South Asians and Arabs.She has spent much of her career writing about immigration, globalization and emerging economies, especially India. She is currently at work on two books, an economic memoir of India and a workplace manual. A native of Brooklyn, Mitra grew up in Massapequa, Long Island; Puerto Rico, and West Windsor, N.J. Mitra has a BA in history and journalism from Rutgers University and a master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has received many awards and her work is included in an anthology of the “Best Business Stories.” She is a past president of the South Asian Journalists Association. Mitra is married to Nitin Mukul, an artist. They have a 4-year-old daughter and live in Jackson Heights, Queens.
Co-sponsored by Queens Council on the Arts, Adhikaar, and NYSCA
3747 74th Street
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