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Future Library: Contemporary Indian Writing

Future Library: Contemporary Indian Writing

Future Library: Contemporary Indian Writing

Future Library: Contemporary Indian Writing


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This anthology brings together one hundred contemporary Indian poets and fiction writers working in English as well as translating from other Indian languages. Located anywhere from Michigan to Mumbai, the sources of their creativity range from the ancient epics to twentieth-century world literature, with themes suggesting a modernist individuality and sense of displacement as well as an ironic, postmodern embracing of multiple disjunctions. The editors present a historical background to the various Englishes apparent in this collection, while also identifying the shared traditions and contexts that hold together their uniquely diverse selection. In aiming at coherence rather than unity, Hasan and Chattarji reveal that the idea of Indianness is as much a means of exploring difference as finding common ground.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781636280318
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Publication date: 07/05/2022
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Anjum Hasan is the author of the novels The Cosmopolitans (Penguin), Neti, Neti (Roli Books), and Lunatic in my Head (Penguin); the book of poems Street on the Hill (Sahitya Akademi); the short story collections Difficult Pleasures (Penguin) and A Day in the Life (Penguin), which won the Valley of Words Fiction Award, 2019. Her books have also been shortlisted for the Sahitya Akademi, Hindu Best Fiction, and Crossword Fiction awards. She has been a Homi Bhabha Fellow and a Charles Wallace India Fellow, and is currently a New India Foundation Fellow. She lives in Bangalore.

Sampurna Chattarji is a poet, fiction writer, translator, and editor. Her twenty books include the short story collection about Bombay/Mumbai, Dirty Love (Penguin); the novels Rupture and Land of the Well (HarperCollins); translations of Joy Goswami’s poetry—After Death Comes Water and Selected Poems (Harper Perennial); and nine poetry titles, the most recent being Space Gulliver: Chronicles of an Alien (HarperCollins) and Over & Under Ground in Mumbai & Paris (Westland-Context). Her translation of Sukumar Ray is a Puffin Classic. She teaches writing to design students at IIT, Bombay; and is Poetry Editor for The Indian Quarterly. She lives in Thane.

Read an Excerpt

by Shamala Gallagher

I am from parents of two different races, so that when I grew old enough to name myself I didn’t know which name to say. I wear a skin like my father’s skin: pale. I wear hair like both parents’ once was and which is (for now): black. I wear—or for some time wore—a belief in my skin as deep and tawny as my mother’s, a warm and complex gold which showed that I belonged somewhere if not here. But it is not true—the color—not visually. And since it is not true, I wear the color I first felt: a pale, untrue-feeling freak-color, a paleness that looks like whiteness but is not.

Mooncalf, I am writing this book because I don’t know how to make sense of the networks of longing that mean a person. The strands of aired anger sneak into the open home. I chatter my teeth before talking. I am here with this speaking mess and this unreeling of daytime.
Mooncalf, I don’t mean to keep us straight: I don’t mean to hold us apart from each other and say: you are this, I am that. The world is thick with such talk, Mooncalf, but it is not true. I want us to be full of each other. I want us to say: we are full of each other already.

Mooncalf, if my skin bore a color that told you I once came from a subcontinent in the heat, perhaps you’d look at me and know our alliance instantly. I would like our alliance to be visible. But, Mooncalf, my skin is pale. I have tried to believe in it as amber or dusking and I have burned it brown in the sun. Before it turns brown it needs to redden and smart—to take on a strange, delicious ache. I lived once where the sun was glorious and devastating, and for those years my skin glowed near my desire, and later I paid in wrinkles. Mooncalf, perhaps it is right to wear marks on the skin.

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