Launch Date for “The Fingers Remember”!

And more good news: we finally have a launch date for my first full-length collection of poetry! The Fingers Remember will be released on 21st November, at the Max Mueller Bhavan in Delhi, as part of a mega-event to commemorate 10 years of Yoda Press. The launch will be around 6/ 6:30, more details on all of it soon, but start saving that date, please! And for those of you not in Delhi/ India, worry not — the book will be available worldwide within a few weeks of its launch, more details on all that as the time nears.

I kind of wanted to do an extract with this post, but at this moment, the only fitting extract would be the acknowledgments page because this moment is all about gratitude, so here we go! Of course, there are so many, many, many more people I’m thankful for; this is just the beginning in terms of the folks without whom this book wouldn’t have been this book.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child. A book is a kind of child. This book was raised by a village that spans continents. This page cannot do justice to continents.

But I must, still, say thank you:

To Suzanne Gardinier, for challenging me to find my voice and tell my truths. To Kate Johnson for insisting that The Fingers Remember was a book. To Ken Saragosa for nudging me back towards my words when I was walking away.

To Jeremy Kamps for ensuring the writing process is never a lonely one. ToJessica Ankeny for feedback on early drafts and for speaking my kind of strange.

To Saurabh Kumar, Christopher Ornelas, Neha Shah, and Kevin Devaney for patiently listening to my stories and my silences as I worked through the upheavals this book entailed.

To the Srinivas Rayaprol Trust and to Toto Funds the Arts for their confidence in my words.

To Sangam House for the time and space to work on this manuscript. Particularly to Arshia Sattar, Rahul Soni, Jeremy Tiang, Mario Kaiser, and Karthika Nair Seeking Rumi) for the conversations and the community within which this book took shape.

To Arpita Das and Yoda Press for their warmth and enthusiasm.

The Fingers Remember_coverTo Jericha Senyak for the gift of a beautiful cover and the even more beautiful collaborative process that went into creating it.

To my students, past and present, for keeping me alive to the joy of words.

To my family, and to the incredible community of friends and teachers I am blessed with, for loving and supporting my poetry, but more importantly, for loving and supporting me regardless of my poetry.

To all the people, friends and strangers, dead and alive, who have inspired the poems in this collection. Ultimately, this is your book.”

Writers of India Festival competition

Happy to share some wonderful news. I will be going to Paris to attend the Writers of India festival this September, along with four other unpublished writers from India. Some of you may know that my friend Masako, who passed away 3 1/2 hers ago and to whom my first book will be dedicated, lived and died in Paris, so it’s particularly special to me that that’s the first place these pomes are taking me. I promise to tell you more on the other side of this trip!

Here’s the official announcement from the Caravan’s Facebook page

The Caravan and Writers of India festival team thanks all its readers,
participants and cheerleaders for a thrilling response to the competition for emerging Indian writers held last month. We received over seven hundred entries over a period of little over two weeks from some of India’s best, hitherto unpublished novelists and poets.

The sheer volume and quality of entries made evaluating the entries a challenge as well as a pleasure. Following several rounds of close reading by editorial staff at the Caravan and organisers of the Writers of India festival, Paris, we are happy to announce the results of a very close-run competition. The five finalists are:

Dharini Bhaskar
Akhil Katyal
Nandini Krishnan
Amrita Mahale
Aditi Rao

The finalists will attend the Writers of India festival in Paris, taking place between 18–21 September 2014. These writers will be matched up with five students of Columbia University’s MFA in creative writing program, to allow for exchanges between their worlds and their work, and hopefully to form personal and professional bonds which will nourish their writing, both now and in future.

(for those asking, just to clarify that by “unpublished,” the competition meant those who haven’t yet published their first volume of poetry or fiction — in the age of the internet, “unpublished anywhere at all at any time” becomes a complicated definition!)

Link

Last weekend, the Four Quarters Magazine organized a lovely event, themed “Bordering, Translations” at the Attic in Delhi. I had a beautiful afternoon moderating the panel “Post-Memory, Commemoration, and Trauma: The Partition Retold.” It was one of those magical afternoons when I heard panelists listen to and build upon one another’s ideas, have real conversations rather than a series of monologues, and invite in the audience not just to ask questions but also to offer responses.

Despite a bad cold and being heavily crocin-ed, I learned a lot, particularly about the Eastern Partition and the many ways in which those big historical events continue to play out in contemporary India in particular and South Asia in general. So much so that, in my opening remarks, I renamed the session “The PartitionS Retold” because the previous panels had made it so clear that there is no singular way to talk about such diverse phenomena.

Here’s more about the event, as covered by the Sunday Guardian (in the section “Young and Restless,” no less! ;) ).

Speaking from the Borderlines