Books & Literature

“A Burning” Is a Political Thriller With a Social Conscience

August 26, 2020

Megha Majumdar’s A Burning, set in and around Kolkata, couldn’t be more topical. Moving with the inevitability of parable, it lacerates the Hindu right-wing by following violence until it reaches its logical endpoint. In A Burning, Jivan, a young Muslim woman, is thrown into jail for her alleged role in a terror attack. Lovely, a … Read More

“Good Boys” by Megan Fernandes Breaks Open the Shoulds

August 6, 2020

As a book of poetry, Megan Fernandes’ Good Boys presents a prescriptive examination of the self. But as a body with life in it, it shatters what is known by intentionally moving through its own tempers. What does it mean to be good, and who assigns this meaning? In all its messiness, Good Boys lays … Read More

Dilruba Ahmed Reaches for the Beyond In “Bring Now the Angels”

May 20, 2020

The title Bring Now the Angels is as much a God-like order as a human plea. Dilruba Ahmed’s new book-slash-summoning-slash-prayer reckons with expanse as painstakingly as it does limitation. Throughout, it takes on health, mortality, and immigration with disquieting force. The first section of Bring Now the Angels considers the circumstances surrounding the passing of … Read More

The Pandemic Is a Portal, Arundhati Roy on COVID-19

May 4, 2020

Last month Haymarket Books hosted an interview with novelist and activist Arundhati Roy and moderator Imani Perry about the Covid-19 health crisis and its implications across the globe on public health, human rights, and policymaking. The interview explored Roy’s ideas in her widely-quoted essay published in the Financial Times. In it she writes: “Historically, pandemics … Read More

Sopan Deb Makes the Journey in “Missed Translations”

May 1, 2020

When Philip Larkin wrote his poem “This Be the Verse” in 1971 – which begins with the oft quoted line, “They fuck you up, your mum and dad,” he was staying with his mother in Loughborough, UK at the time. It begs the question: how much of what we inherit (both literally and figuratively) is … Read More

Adeeba Shahid Talukder Brings Urdu and Persian Verses Out of Tradition

February 29, 2020

In a word, Adeeba Shahid Talukder’s Kundiman Poetry Prize-winning collection Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved is virtuosic. It sings, thrums with the force of centuries of Urdu and Persian verse. In doing so, it owns the strength of a woman’s voice. In the title poem, Talukder writes, “At December’s end Benazir died / in … Read More

Tanaïs Comes From the Earth

December 12, 2019

This piece was originally published in Kajal Volume 3: Plant Life. Find it here.  Tanaïs, née Tanwi Nandini Islam, is a polymath. She published her first novel Bright Lines, about a Bangladeshi-American family living in Brooklyn, New York in 2015. Since then she has launched her own cosmetics and perfume company, Hi Wildflower, which is … Read More

Rajiv Surendra is Redefining Failure

November 27, 2019

Rajiv Surendra is a Canadian actor, writer, painter, and chalk artist with Sri Lankan Tamil roots. After rising to fame for his role as Kevin G in the 2004 movie Mean Girls, he published The Elephants In My Backyard in 2016. The memoir explores successes and failures through a six year attempt at securing the … Read More

Fatimah Asghar Is Making Art for the Lost

July 26, 2019

Following her debut book of poetry If They Come For Us, Chicago-based poet and screenwriter Fatimah Asghar is back with a new collection. Co-edited with Safia Elhillo, Halal If You Hear Me is an anthology of poetry from Muslim writers who identify as women, queer, genderqueer, nonbinary, or trans. Kajal caught up with Asghar shortly … Read More

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