We have a tentative…

We have a tentative schedule for the Kriti festival:


Unless otherwise specified, all events will take place at Northwestern University's Law School campus, 357 E. Chicago Avenue.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Opening Reception
Eat, drink, and be welcomed. Including authors Nilofer Ahsan, Sapna Gupta, Minal Hajratwala, Pooja Makhijani, Anil Menon, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Shailja Patel, Bushra Rehman, Sanjay Shah, Pireeni Sundaralingam, and Sachin Waikar, among others.
Location: Roosevelt University, Auditorium Building, 430 S. Michigan, Rm 244. Open only to those holding an all-weekend pass; refreshments will be served.

Friday, November 11, 2005

2:00 - 2:50

Contemporary South Asian Literature, in America and Elsewhere
Discussion of the state of the field, current themes, exciting new voices, established old ones. How does S.Asian writing shape the way in which S.Asians are regarded by American society? Does it facilitate the stereotyping of individuals? Does it open up new concepts to readers? Does it stake out an ethnic space in the American sensibility?

3:00 - 3:50

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.

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.

4:00 - 4:50

Writing Culturally-Specific Stories
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?

Gender and South Asian Literature
Why aren't there more men writing creatively? Are men's concerns different from women's? Do South Asian men write about different sorts of topics (large-scale political and historical stories) than South Asian women (arranged marriage, family and individual duty, personal freedom, cooking?) Do men and women write differently? Do you prefer to read literature by men or women, and if so, why?

5:00 - 7:00

Private dinner with Chitra Divakaruni at Vermilion (tickets sold separately).

7:00 - 7:30

Mango Tribe
An Asian/Pacific Islander American (APIA) women's interdisciplinary performance group founded on the belief that collective creation can be the most powerful form of art.

7:30 - 9:00

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni reads from her newest book, Queen of Dreams. Divakaruni is the award-winning author of The Mistress of Spices (slated to be released as a feature film in 2006, starring Aishwarya Rai), Sister of My Heart, Vine of Desire, Queen of Dreams, Neela: Victory Song, The Conch Bearer, and others.

9:00 - 10:00

Open Mic, hosted by Lakshmi Rengarajan and Bushra Rehman.

9:00 - 9:30

Bhangra Dance Lessons, taught by Sadaf Ahmad.

9:30 - Midnight

Open bhangra dance!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

9:00 - 12:00

Writing Workshop

10:00 - 11:20

Who Is Your Community? Who Are You Writing For?
"South Asians aren't your target audience." If nine out of ten people reading your novel will be white, do you care? Editors and agents review marketing and demographic concerns when publishing South Asian and diaspora literature, while writers consider the questions: What voice are you trying to portray? Who is your desired audience? Who do you feel your community of writers is? Do you worry about questions of identity and authenticity? Do you write about white people? Black people? What generation are you writing for?

Is Poetry Accessible Today?
Poets discuss the different modes of poetry, and their audiences. Spoken word vs. poetry on the page -- is the former less academic, less intellectual? More exciting because of the performative aspect? Is it all the same? Why do we turn to poetry?

Picture Books
What are the specific challenges to writing a picture book? How do you tackle child-sized themes for the youngest readers? How do you effectively convey a story in brief text? How can your words invite and not stifle potential illustration? Whether you're a writer or an artist or both, find out more about this evolving art form in which the story is mediated by its physical container.

12:00 - 1:00

Keynote Speech
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni speaks on the current state of South Asian diaspora literature, of which she has been a forerunner and major figure. As the South Asian diaspora becomes more visible across the American landscape, who are the established and emerging figures in its literary scene, and what place does their work hold in the broader literary world?

2:30 - 3:50

How Do I Become a Writer?
Panelists offer their own experiences and discuss the path they took to calling themselves writers.

Politics and Fiction
Writers discuss their goals in writing political fiction. [Is any fiction 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?

The Business of Writing: Poetry
Poets discuss how/if one can make a living as a poet.

4:00 - 5:20

Memoir Writing
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? Writers discuss the challenges of memoir writing and offer advice to those interested in writing their own memoirs.

Politics and Writing: A Discussion
A facilitated discussion of the ways in which writers can engage political issues in their work, and the ways in which readers can respond to those issues.

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?

5:00 - 5:50

Writing Historical Fiction
What are the pitfalls of writing historical fiction? What happens when a writer gets it wrong? What responsibilities does a writer have or not have, when they fictionalize historical events?

5:30 - 6:00

The Sri Lankan Women's Project
Marian Yalini Thambyanyagam, Varuni Tiruchelvam, and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha collaborate in poetry, dance, and music, to tell the untold stories of Sri Lankan women.

6:00 - 6:30

Shailja Patel
Kenyan Indian performance poet.

6:30 - 7:00

Rasaka Theater
Chicago's first S. Asian theatre ensemble.

7:00 - 8:00

Meet the Authors Reception
Eat, drink and schmooze with your favorite authors, editors, and agents. An informal opportunity to ask all those questions you've been dying to ask.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

9:00 - 12:00

Writing Workshop

10:00 - 10:50

Exotic Literature
What's wrong (if anything) with exoticising our dramatic, colorful, heritage? When you go to the bookstore, do you look for the books with beautiful women in colorful saris on the cover? Authors and readers discuss the politics of reading and writing 'exotic literature.'

Character and Emotion
How do you approach capturing emotional truth (believable character emotions and motivations) in fiction?

11:00 - 11:50

Dirty Laundry
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)?

The Business of Writing: Short Stories
Writers and editors review the paths to writing short fiction, suggesting markets and ways to improve your writing.

1:00 - 1:50

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.

Writing and Language
What languages do you choose to write in? Do you consider diction, dialect, formality? Do you worry about what your audience will be able to understand?

2:00 - 2:50

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.

Beyond the Arranged Marriage Novel
Can we move beyond these [tired?] themes? Should we? Where would we go?

3:00 - 4:00

Sign Out -- Group Signing

Closing Ceremonies

SPECIAL NOTE: The weekend of the festival we are also co-sponsoring talks by Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth, hosted by the Chicago Humanities Festival. To purchase tickets for these lectures, call the Chicago Humanities Festival ticket office at (312) 494-9509, or visit their website. Tickets may sell out, so please don't count on buying them at the door. Kriti all-weekend passes do not offer entrance to these two talks.

The author of A Suitable Boy discusses his latest work about a childless couple living in England -- he from the Raj's India, she a German-Jew who fled Hitler's Germany -- who take in their grand-nephew, Vikram Seth. This masterful fusion of memoir, biography, and history creates an extraordinary tapestry of India, the Third Reich and the Second World War, Auschwitz and the Holocaust, Israel and Palestine, post-war Germany, and 1970's Britain.

Sunday, November 13; 10:30 - 11:30 am
Northwestern University (Chicago Campus), Thorne Auditorium

CLOSING LECTURE: SALMAN RUSHDIE: The Scattered Concept of Home
For 30 years the Indian-born author of Satanic Verses and the recent Shalimar the Clown, among others, has explored the consequences of living in the "Age of Migration." In his work and in his life, he has pondered the implications and public effects of the uprooted, de-familiarized human self. In one of the Festival's final programs, he explores how all of our stories intersect-the story of India is now also an American tale; the story of al-Qaida is the story of New York.

Sunday, November 13; 5:00 - 6:00 pm
DePaul University (Downtown), Merle Reskin Theater

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