Here I am in the desilicious town of Chicago, which today is so rainy it’s practically imitating Seattle. I’m here to attend the third Kriti festival… a celebration of South Asian authors and writing organized by Mary Anne Mohanraj and Desilit.
This morning’s keynote panel, “What’s Not to Like?” featured Romesh Gunesekera, Amitava Kumar, and Bapsi Sidhwa. The three of them read from the work of writers they particularly admire. Romesh Gunesekera read from Chowringhee, by Sankar. He began by telling us that he never reviews books… but this one was the exception. Here’s his take on why you should read it.
Bapsi Sidhwa read from Sara Suleri Goodyear‘s book Meatless Days, which, she said, got under your skin. She also read some Urdu poetry in translation, which I think was from this book (am I right? anyone?).
Amitava Kumar wouldn’t tell us what he was reading from until he had finished reading, despite Bapsi’s question. We need suspense, he said firmly, and read from The Immortals by Amit Chaudhuri. There are two South Asian writers one can tell by voice alone, he added: one being Rushdie and the other being Chaudhuri. Kumar said Rushdie’s writing drops periods and punctuation; he has many imitators. Chaudhuri, on the other hand, is a careful user of commas; this is more difficult and so he has no imitators. Kumar noted that Chaudhuri is also a musician.
Perhaps more Kriti updates here… Internet permitting. Happy Saturday, all… more reading recs welcome. I haven’t read these, so I’ve got homework to do!