Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

New Poem: Black Dog on the Anacostia River

So proud to be part of this incredible issue of District Lit - many thanks to editor Diana Bolton. I wrote this poem Black Dog on the Anacostia River for a reading on the River last year as part of artist Mia Feuer’s Flooded Lecture Series. For those of you who haven't read Ian McEwan's Black Dogs, I would highly recommend it.

And ..... after being nominated for a Pushcart Prize for this poem, District Lit has announced the winners of the 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards in poetry and fiction. Writers published in District Lit in 2015 were eligible to receive votes during the month of February 2016.

Poetry: Leeya Mehta with “Black Dog on the Anacostia River”

Fiction: Julia Mascioli with “Bodies”


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Oct 3 2015 - Save the Date! South Asian Writer's Festival

Fall for the Book & The Writer's Center Bethesda

October 3, 2015 @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Saturday, October 3, The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD, will host the panel, “The Cities We Live In: New Writings from South Asia” as part of Fall for the Book. Moderator Leeya Mehta will speak with authors Kavita Daiya, Tula Goenke, and Rashmi Sadana about their ongoing projects and research. Join them starting at 2 p.m. for an afternoon of illuminating conversation.

Kavita Daiya
Kavita Daiya
Kavita Daiya is Associate Professor of English and Affiliated Faculty in the Women’s Studies Program and Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University, Washington, D.C. She directs a Digital Humanities Histories of Violence and Migration initiative www.1947Partition.org and serves as Associate Editor of the South Asian Review. She has written numerous articles on modern British and postcolonial literature, gender studies, Asian American literature, and transnational cinema, and a book, Violent Belongings: Partition, Gender and National Culture in Colonial India (Philadelphia: Temple UP, [2008] 2011; New Delhi: Yoda Press, 2013).  Her scholarship dwells on violence and migration in literature and film; in its sustained commitment to how gender and sexuality shape the narratives of ethnicity, migration and rights she work on, her scholarship also contributes to debates in Gender and Sexuality Studies.  She is currently working on her second book Peripheral Secularisms.

Tula Goenka
Tula Goenka
Tula Goenka is an author, filmmaker, educator and human rights activist. With three decades of experience in the film and television industry, she has worked as a film editor with top filmmakers including Mira Nair, Spike Lee and James Ivory. She now produces and edits her own documentaries. A tenured professor at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, she teaches courses in film production and Indian cinema, and routinely accompanies her students on month-long internships in Bombay. Her book, Not Just Bollywood: Indian Directors Speak was published in 2014 and is a series of conversations with 28 top directors from across the spectrum of Indian cinema. She is the founding director of the annual Syracuse University Human Rights Film Festival, now in its 13th year. Born and raised in India, Goenka is a cancer survivor and lives in Syracuse, New York, with her two children. More information on her book is here.

Rashmi Sadana
Rashmi Sadana
Rashmi Sadana is the author of English Heart, Hindi Heartland: The Political Life of Literature in India (University of California Press, 2012), which is an ethnography of Delhi’s literary field and the politics of language that undergird it. She is currently writing a book about urban space and forms of gendered sociality as seen through the prism of Delhi’s new metro system. She writes a regular column for the Mumbai-based newspaper, DNA, and has published essays in Public Culture, The CaravanPublic Books, InterventionsEconomic and Political Weekly, and elsewhere. She is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at George Mason University.

Leeya Mehta

Leeya Mehta_100315
Leeya Mehta
Leeya Mehta has worked in international development for two decades, most recently with the World Bank’s gender group. She was a fellow at the UN University in Tokyo on human rights. She is the author of a chapbook, The Towers of Silence and was nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize for her poem, “The Abduction,” on identity and nationalism in contemporary India.

Fiction from South Asia: A Conversation with novelists A.X. Ahmad and Sujata Massey

October 3, 2015 @ 3:45 pm – 5:15 pm

A.X. Ahmad

re_ax_ahmadAmin Ahmad, as ‘A.X. Ahmad’, is the author of two books—The Caretaker (2013 ) and The Last Taxi Ride (2014), both suspense novels from St. Martin’s Press. He is currently working on a literary novel. His short stories and essays have been published in many literary magazines and listed in Best American Essays. Ahmad was educated at Vassar College and M.I.T. He has studied writing at NYU, The New School, and Grubstreet. He has taught The Master Novel and Advanced Novel classes at The Writer’s Center for the last three years. More about him at: axahmad.com.

Sujata Massey

Sujata Massey (2)
Sujata Massey

Sujata Massey was born in England to parents from India and Germany. She grew up mostly in the United States, graduated from the Johns Hopkins University, and worked as a newspaper journalist in Baltimore before turning to fiction. She’s recently written two historical novels about British colonial India, but before that came an 11-book mystery series set in modern Japan. Her books are published in sixteen countries and have won the Agatha and Macavity awards and been finalists for the Edgar, Anthony, and Mary Higgins Clark prizes. Sujata specializes in writing stories of family life and setting them against real life historical events. In her novel The Sleeping Dictionary, a young, illiterate girl who is pigeonholed as a maid rises to become a sophisticated woman of letters, and undercover spy for the freedom movement in 1930s Calcutta.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Huffington Post Interview

Enjoyed talking with Catalina Sofia Dansberger Duque from the Huffington Post. She asked some good questions. Excerpts from the telephone interview are posted by Catalina on the Huffington Post:


Saturday, July 4, 2015

When you write

When you write, suddenly everything has meaning. As if the writing life has afforded you this lens that brightens and highlights the world. I go around with this highlighter, trees turn fluorescent green, words in books, people's faces, I am standing on top of a chrome hillside, the distant world, engaged.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Geography, Nature, Brutality, Family

These days I've been thinking about the civilisational forces that lead to the creation of cities. Something about the power human beings exercise over nature and space is mirrored in the brutality within families. The beauty, the community, the order, that's for another conversation.


The light is dim

The cars speed silently outside on the tar roads

The light is dim
The cat moves silently through your house of ice

The cat is white
The light too dim to make it out against the white washed walls

The light too dim
To watch the street, to see the phantom cars

To know that I
Watch you in the dark, I watch you, father

As you eat your
Dinner, eight years you have eaten without me.

*From my chapbook, Towers of Silence, published in 2004 by Aark Arts.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Nourishment: 802 Days

802 days, 120,000 words, 400 pages
802 breakfasts, dinners, lunches packed or plated
1604 snacks, school days stacked on soccer fields
My teeth brushed 1604+ times, theirs too
Sex, crunches, bike 70 miles a week
Days of tears less than a dozen
Moments of joy almost every day
0 full nights of sleep
The writing life is the nourishing life

Sunday, February 22, 2015

BPJ tweets: Congrats to our Pushcart nominees

BPJ tweets: Congrats to our Pushcart nominees, @LeeyaMehta, Matt Salyer, @Danez_Smif, Mathew Kelsey, Ashley Davidson, and Brian Komei Dempster.

See the poem The Abduction here: http://www.bpj.org/poems/mehta_abduction.pdf

See the accompanying essay on the BPJ blog and comments here: http://blog.bpj.org/2014/05/leeya-mehta-on-abduction.html

The poem recording: http://www.bpj.org/poems/mehta_abduction.mp3 

Note that some of these links are no longer live as the BPJ web site has changed.