Just returned from a writing residency in paradise, and am feeling super-recharged by three weeks of communing with the unicorns.
I am delighted by the news that Leaving India is currently a finalist for both a California Book Award and a Lambda Literary Award. How excited will I be if I beat Dave Eggers? Ha ha! Seriously, it’s awesome to just be a contender, and I’m looking forward to meeting many amazing writers whose work I’ve admired for a long time.
I seem to go through periods of hibernation and then mega-event-mania. The rest of April is all about events. So please come and see me this month if you can! Because who knows when I’ll crawl into my cave again.
All the details are at www.minalhajratwala.com/events (please share with friends in Denver, Chicago, and the SF Bay Area!).
Some upcoming things I’m excited about:
• Making a splash, or at least a very significant ripple, with other South Asian American writers at the largest U.S. writers convention, in Denver (April 9-10).
• Sharing a stage with other Lambda award finalists — including Lynnee Breedlove, Malinda Lo, Elana Dykewomon, Tommi Avicolla-Mecca, and others — at the San Francisco Main Library (April 13). I hear the reception will have great food, too! Come by & help us celebrate.
• Helping to launch Indivisible, the first anthology of South Asian American poetry. It’s already earned high praise, with U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins calling it “among the best anthologies of poetry.” I’m honored to have three poems in the book and will read with a couple of other contributors at the San Francisco Poetry Center (April 22).
• Talking to students in Asian/Asian American Studies who are reading the book for classes at the University of Chicago-Illinois, and then reading at one of my favorite bookstores, Women & Children First (April 28). Campus visits are some of my favorite things to do, so I’m really looking forward to the smart discussions and dialogues of this trip.
(Want event details? Here’s the link again: www.minalhajratwala.com/events)
Thanks to my lovely friend Sunita for sending me a link to this month’s Guernica magazine interview with Alice Walker! Alice was asked, “What are those books in either fiction or nonfiction with which you are now in dialogue as writer and as earthling?”
In answer, she talks about a whole bunch of interesting stuff, and includes a list of three Indian writers: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Arundhati Roy, and me! She says, “I recently read a wonderful book called Leaving India—not a novel but one woman’s travels all over the earth to trace relatives and ancestors who’d left India to settle in odd places: Fiji, for instance.” You can read the whole interview here.
P.S. I’ve gotten super lazy about blogging. If you tweet, you can follow me around on Twitter (@minalh). I will post pithy comments about my adventures at the writing convention and elsewhere.