Author Kavita Das joins Jafreen Uddin, Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop in conversation about her book, Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar. Shankar, who was Grammy-nominated, was the most prominent Indian female musician in the movement that brought Indian music to the West in the late 1960’s.
This event, co-presented by Asian American Writers’ Workshop and the South Asia Institute in Chicago, will explore Shankar’s musical evolution and more-than-seventy-year career creating within both South and North Indian musical traditions, as well as pop and fusion, and celebrate her life, legacy, and impact on South Asian diasporic communities.
Kavita Das writes about culture, race, gender, and their intersections. Nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize, Kavita’s work has been published in CNN, Teen Vogue, Catapult, Fast Company, Tin House, Longreads, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, Kenyon Review, NBC News Asian America, Guernica, Quartz, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her first book, Poignant Song: The Life and Music of Lakshmi Shankar (Harper Collins India), a biography about the Grammy-nominated Hindustani singer, was published in June 2019. Kavita is at work on her next book, Sparking Change on the Page: Lessons and Reflections on Writing About Social Issues (Beacon Press, Fall 2022). She lives in New York with her husband, baby daughter, and hound. Find her on Twitter: @kavitamix
Jafreen Uddin is the Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. She is the first woman to lead the organization since its founding in 1991. She most recently served as Deputy Director of Development for Special Events with PEN America. Prior to joining PEN America, she helped oversee Executive Education as an Assistant Director with NYU’s Stern School of Business, and she began her career with a nearly-eight-year stint at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she helped create the infrastructure for the public programming calendar of events, and spent nearly three years managing an online Book Salon for Aslan Media, spotlighting writers and artists from the greater Middle East/South Asia region. She regularly volunteers her time with a number of local South Asian and Muslim organizations in New York City, including serving as Chairperson of the Columbia Muslim Alumni Association from 2011-2015 and as a current Board Member for Laal-NYC.