Much work done today. Much yet to go. Tentative Kriti panel list below:
Literary Discussion TrackContemporary South Asian Literature in the World
How does South Asian writing shape the way in which South Asians are regarded by the world? Does it facilitate the stereotyping of individuals? Does it open up new concepts to readers? How are local South Asian and diaspora writers perceived by international (especially Western) readers?
Recommended Children's Literature
Writers and editors discuss what writers they love to read, and what makes a story stand out as exceptional children's literature.
Maybe we should be reading poetry, but are we? Where should we find it? In magazines? At readings or other events? Working poets share work by their favorite contemporary South Asian poets, and tell you about the poetry they love.
Queer Issues in South Asian Literature
Authors and readers consider the role of GLBT characters and queer issues in South Asian literature, and discuss these stories' reception in the South Asian community.
Class Issues in South Asian Literature.
Authors like Hanif Kurieshi and Monica Ali deal with middle class and working class English life from an immigrant perspective, while Jhumpa Lahiri's characters live in a financially comfortable, destined-for-the-professional world. How visible are class issues in South Asian literature? Are comfortable middle-class stories more likely to be published (and celebrated)? Do immgirant upper-middle-class readers become uncomfortable when asked to admit the existence of working-class South Asians?
Crossing Genre Boundaries
We've all seen the epic South Asian family novel, a sprawling tale of marriage and politics and history and social conflict. What other kinds of South Asian fiction is out there? Who are our science fiction and fantasy writers, our mystery authors our spy novels, romances, and political thrillers? Writers discuss the challenges of breaking out of the 'literary' ghetto as an ethnic writer, and recommend some of their favorite work in other genres.
Politics and Writing: A Panel and Open Discussion
Writers discuss their goals in writing about politics. (Is any writing not political?) Are they attempting to create change in the world? What changes would they like to see? What have been the visible effects of their work, if any? Should writers be political on a large-scale? What are the inherent dangers of that work? A facilitated open discussion of the ways in which writers engage political issues in their work, and the ways in which readers respond to those issues.
(facilitated by a representative from the South Asian Progressive Action Collective)
What If I Don't Want to Write About India?
Is it necessary to sound South Asian or tackle South Asian subjects? What if the writer's identity is ambiguous, then what? Is it essential to cultivate a audience when a writer's identity cannot be fractioned? And what do the readers think when South Asian writers like Vikram Seth write books like An Equal Music (about white musicians in Europe), or when Anita Desai writes The Zigzag Way (set in Mexico)?
There is a clear market in the West for a certain kind of expose/pathos story from South Asia: child prostitutes, wife beating, widows in Brindhavan, untouchables, street kids, etc. When does exposing an evil move over into exploitation? What responsibilities does the writer have (if any)?
Publishing South Asian Literature
Why publish/read/write 'ethnic' literature at all? Editors from DesiLit Magazine join others to discuss what they're looking for in material, why they want to work with an ethnicity-specific publication, as well as other issues related to publishing South Asian writing.
Writing Craft/Business TrackI Don't Want to Be a Doctor (Lawyer/Engineer/Etc.) Anymore!
What do you do when you've succeeded in a South Asian-parent-approved career -- and realize what you really want to do is be a writer or other kind of artist/performer? Can you do a 180-career-wise? Are there ways to incorporate the arts into a busy work/family life? Those who have done it tell their tales!
MFA Programs in Writing
What are the advantages and disadvantages of enrolling in an MFA Program in Writing? What about full-time versus part-time? How about low-residency programs (where you work from home and only go away for two weeks out of the year)? What will I learn, and where should I go? Or will it just be a waste of time I should spend writing? Panelists who have been there talk about MFA programs they have known
Selling Your First Book
Writers who have recently sold their first book tell us how they did it, and what they learned in the process. Learn what to do, what not to do -- and hear about a few great new books to watch out for!
Writing Culturally-Specific Stories: The Authenticity Debate (MC 175 Getz)
What do you say if someone says to you, "You don't even live in South Asia -- what makes you think you're authentic enough to be telling this story? You don't even know us!" When you write about a culture, do you feel a responsibility to accurately represent the community? What are your concerns? What do you do to help you in that process?
To what extent are we willing to expose ourselves? Do we have the right to expose the lives of our family and friends? Is the need to tell a true story, to be honest, more important than the need to consider the feelings of others? And what happens when you're not sure you're remembering the story right to begin with? How much freedom do you have to change the details and still call it nonfiction? Writers discuss the challenges of writing creative nonfiction.
Page to Stage
Is the distinction between 'spoken' and 'written' word relevant any longer, given the growing numbers of writers on the performance circuit? How do we take work from the page to live performance? What are the pitfalls and richnesses of staging our work? Are there different audiences for books vs. performance? Why perform rather than publish, or vice versa? (This panel will cover performance poetry, theatre, and film.)
Sex and the Word
In recent years, more and more South Asians have started writing explicitly around sexuality. Mary Anne Mohanraj, Ginu Kamani, the authors in _Desilicious_, the participants in _Yoni ki Baat_, and many performance poets all explore the sexual arena. What are the challenges of working with this material? What are the rewards? Are you willing to read an erotic story? How about in public, on a bus or train? Do you take the books off the shelves when your parents visit? Authors and readers discuss the pleasures and problems of writing and reading sex.
The Business of Writing: Children's Literature
Writers and editors review the paths to writing children's lit., suggesting markets and ways to improve your writing.
The Business of Writing: Short Stories
Writers and editors review the paths to writing short fiction, suggesting markets and ways to improve your writing.
The Business of Writing: Novels
Writers, editors and agents review the paths to writing novels, discussing the process of writing your novel, the process of finding an agent and submitting your novel, and what happens after.
Filmmaker Ligy J. Pullappally, writer and director of the multiple award-winning feature film, The Journey, leads a discussion on independent feature-filmmaking. Using The Journey as a case study, this discussion forum will take you through the creative process, to securing film distribution. Excerpts of The Journey will be shown.
Q&A with Literary Agent Anna Ghosh
Ghosh answers every question you've ever had about literary agents -- or as many as she can fit in half an hour. An informal discussion.
Q&A with Editors
Open forum for questions/discussion with book and magazine editors.