Linking India, the sixth largest book market in the world and second among English-language markets, with Chicago, the second-largest metropolitan home to people of Indian heritage in the US, are this year’s literary events in the Eye on India festival. The sixth annual festival, September 15-October 2, features writers from India and the United States, along with dance, music and visual arts. Organizer Anuradha Behari says the event is strongly Chicago, attracting a broad audience of “global citizens,” half of who are South Asian, and the others a mixture of art goers from other Chicago communities.
Literary events this year include an “in conversation” series with award-winning Indian writers, facilitated by Chicago authors and historians. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, essayist and critic Vijay Seshadri will speak about how the immigrant experience influenced his poetry. He is the author of “Wild Kingdom,” “The Long Meadow,” winner of the James Laughlin Award of the Academy of American Poets, and “3 Sections” winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. He was born in India and lives in New York.
Who else can you see at the festival? Here are a few short takes:
- Anuradha Roy’s latest book, “Sleeping on Jupiter,” won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016 and was nominated for the Man Booker Prize. Her first novel, “An Atlas of Impossible Longing,” has been widely translated and was picked as one of the Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post and the Seattle Times. She lives in Ranikhet, India.
- Srikanth Reddy is the author of two books of poetry, “Facts for Visitors” and “Voyager” and a book of criticism, “Changing Subjects: Digressions in Modern American Poetry.” Reddy is an associate professor of English at the University of Chicago.
- Guillermo Rodriguez examines the life and work of poet and scholar A.K. Ramanujan. Rodriguez is the director of Casa de la India, and is the author of “When Mirrors Are Windows: A View of A.K. Ramanujan’s Poetics.”
- Moderator Jason Grunebaum is a writer and Hindi translator whose translations include Uday Prakash’s “The Girl with the Golden Parasol” and “The Walls of Delhi.” He is senior lecturer in Hindi at the University of Chicago.
Eye on India, in partnership with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, will also present the U.S. debut of “Piya Behrupiya,” an award-winning Hindi translation of “Twelfth Night.” The two-week festival will be held at a variety of Chicago locations including The Field Museum, Chicago Shakes, Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago Public Library and the Logan Center. For schedule, see www.EyeOnIndia.org. (Toni Nealie)
Toni Nealie is the Literary Editor of Newcity and the author of the essay collection “The Miles Between Me.” A Pushcart Prize nominee, her essays have appeared in Guernica Magazine, Rust Belt: Chicago, The Rumpus, The Offing, Essay Daily, Chicago Quarterly Review, Hobart, Entropy and elsewhere. She worked in magazine journalism, politics and PR in her native New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Singapore and now edits, writes and teaches in Chicago. Find her at toninealie.com and on Twitter @tnealie. She can be reached at email@example.com.