DesiLit 2012…

DesiLit 2012 Activities

What should we do? Please vote.

I think I was a little cart-before-horse yesterday, when I was trying to sort out plans for DesiLit workshop Kickstarter. I realized that what I really need to do first, is figure out what would actually be of the most use to DesiLit members. So with that in mind, I'd love for you to vote, IF you actually care about this.

If I'm going to spend some time and energy raising money and organizing something for DesiLit, which of these would you like to see me take on? Vote for ALL the ones that seem worthwhile to you; that will give me the best sense of what people could actually use. THANKS!

  1. free informal online writing workshop: free to join, very informal set-up; post subs and crits as you please (no funds needed to raise to implement this)

  2. online writing workshop with a director: $20 annual membership fee gets you weekly writing prompts, a market list, someone to track who's participating and not and send warnings if you fall behind in critiques (which should mean more critiques / sub overall), etc. and so on (raise $2000 to support two years)

  3. Chicago-based desi reading series, a combination of local and visiting writers, plus an open mic (raise $2000 to support two years)
  4. Chicago-based Kriti Festival, a four-day festival of S. Asian arts and literature, bringing in a combination of local and visiting writers and artists, free and open to the public (raise $5000 for one festival minimum)
  5. DesiLit magazine: an online magazine featuring fiction, poetry, nonfiction from S Asian and diaspora authors (raise $5000 for 2 years of quarterly publication, with $4000 budgeted for material, $1000 for staff honorariums)
  6. DesiLit literature awards: awards for short fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and first novel ($250 each / raise $2000 for two years)
We can't do all of it, not right away. What would you be excited to see? What would you read / attend? What do you think would enrich the field? This poll will run for one week, until Friday, March 9th. Please post your chosen numbers in the comments below. (I tried and failed to make an actual poll to make this easier for you -- sorry!)

Thanks for voting!

7 thoughts on “DesiLit 2012…”

  1. I vote for #2, #3, and #5.

    As much as I loved being involved with past Kriti Festivals, there was always so much momentum leading up to the event, and so much planning htat had to be done….and then afterwards there was this catharsis period where everyone dropped off from doing any DesiLit stuff. So while I like the idea of another Kriti, I don’t think doing one right now would help with long-term sustainability.

  2. I’d most like to attend the writer series and the Kriti Festival. I think the biggest challenges will be to find volunteers with the time/energy to make it all possible, and get a line-up of speakers who would attract a larger audience.

  3. I vote for 1 or 2 and 3.

    That will help get writers started and then, have a place to meet and read their work. This will help build a community to take on bigger projects.

  4. I like a number of these ideas–but as an editor (or, at the moment, former-editor), I gravitate to what I know (i.e., #5 & 6).

    Lit mags are themselves a hard sell to a public seemingly saturated with them–and ones with a poorly conceived identity, audience, or production tend to burn out rather quickly (it also helps to have a long term management and financial plan).

    Of course, I don�t need to tell you this: you know it already because you�ve lived it and witnessed it. Also, you know how labor intensive getting a magazine off-the-ground can be.

    But I think it is exactly because of your far-reaching experience in editing, your clear ideas about the mission of such a journal, and the fact that South Asian Literature doesn’t really have a single stand-out champion here in the US (at least not one I can think of) that this idea has a better than average chance of being successful.

    To make the potential for this project more promising, there are a number of organizations, presses, and journals that are doing work similar to (but not precisely overlapping with) your proposed journal. These organizations, presses, and magazines like the Asian American Workshops, Man�a, the Stanford Asian Journal (sorry, I�m forgetting the exact name at the moment), Catamaran, and Kundiman might be approached as supporters of the project. They could be brought in as cohorts, networking experts, audience builders, and useful sites for advertising/promotion in the months leading up to the journal launch.

    Finally, there may be ways�once the readership is developed and established�to build other parts of the project (like online workshops or a reading series or retreat or mini conference) around the magazine, and then use magazine to publicize, promote, and later disseminate materials generated by these other events.

    Again, that�s all long term�but as I said, it�s probably a good idea to be thinking far out ahead with projects like this.

    Most importantly, though, it seems to me that a lit magazine might be the best way to reach the objectives you alluded to in your manifesto (I mean that in the best way about your DesiLit post�since it seems to put forth with both passion and clear eyes what you believe, believe in, and feel is worth fighting for). There is perhaps no better way to show writers that their work is important than putting it into print�just as there is no more efficient way to get work seen by others than to print it and distribute it broadly (online, on paper, on the sides of busses and mass transit trains, &c.).

    I�ve probably prattled on long enough, but if you want to talk more, call me or email. And know�whatever you decide�you have my love and support.



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