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Literary Pub Crawl
Call For Submission
in collaboration with The South Asia Institute,
Columbia University and India Abroad
NOVEMBER 7-9, 2014

Session 2A
Writing the South Asian LGBT community
Moderated by Paul Knox
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Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla
Two Krishnas
Los Angeles-based writer-director-producer, Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla was born in Kenya where he sold his first article to a national magazine at the age of 13. He has since written for various national magazines and his literary and film work have been celebrated at MIT (2004), IAAC (2009, 2012) and at the prestigious Master\'s Tea at Yale (2011). Dhalla's critically acclaimed debut novel, "Ode to Lata" was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "an achievement" and by Library Journal as "brilliant." In 2008, Dhalla adapted, produced and co-directed his novel into the motion picture "The Ode." Dhalla's second novel, "The Two Krishnas" (AKA "The Exiles" in India) has been praised as "exquisite" by best-selling author Lisa See and "riveting" by lit icon, Andrew Holleran. Dhalla\'s second film, "Embrace" which he wrote, produced and directed, is part of a trilogy, and the first ever dramatization of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
A Lambda Literary Award finalist, The Two Krishnas is a sensual and searing look at infidelity and the nature of desire and faith. At the center of the epic novel is Pooja Kapoor, a betrayed wife and mother who is forced to question her faith and marriage when she discovers that her banker husband Rahul has fallen in love with a young Muslim illegal immigrant man. Faced with the potential of losing faith in Rahul, divine intervention and family, she is forced to confront painful truths about the past and the duality in God and husband. The lush novel draws inspiration from archetypal Hindu mythology and romantic Sufi poetry, evoking unforgettable characters to explore how, with a new world come new freedoms, and with them, the choices that could change everything we know about those we thought we knew, including ourselves. Narrated from the perspective of the wife, husband and lover, The Two Krishnas is a classic tale of love and loss set in Kenya, India and finally, Los Angeles, where it culminates in an epic conclusion.

Rakesh Satyal
Blue Boy
Rakesh Satyal is the author of the novel Blue Boy, a gender-bending comedy about a queer Indian American boy who thinks that he may be the reincarnation of Krishna. Blue Boy was the winner of a Lambda Award and the Prose/Poetry Award from the Association of Asian American Studies and is now taught at high schools and colleges worldwide. Satyal also earned a 2010 Fellowship in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts. His short stories and essays have been widely anthologized, and he has written about pop culture for a variety of places, from Out Magazine to New York Magazine. For ten years, he was a book editor, first at Random House and HarperCollins, and worked with a wide variety of bestselling authors and debut novelists. Satyal also sings a popular cabaret show that has been featured prominently, from Page Six to The New Yorker. He lives in Brooklyn.
Meet Kiran Sharma: lover of music, dance, and all things sensual; son of immigrants, social outcast, spiritual seeker. A boy who doesn't quite understand his lot-until he realizes he's a god . . . As an only son, Kiran has obligations-to excel in his studies, to honor the deities, to find a nice Indian girl, and, above all, to make his mother and father proud-standard stuff for a boy of his background. If only Kiran had anything in common with the other Indian kids besides the color of his skin. They reject him at every turn, and his cretinous public schoolmates are no better. Cincinnati in the early 1990s isn't exactly a hotbed of cultural diversity, and Kiran's not-so-well-kept secrets don't endear him to any group. Playing with dolls, choosing ballet over basketball, taking the annual talent show way too seriously . . . the very things that make Kiran who he is also make him the star of his own personal freak show . . . Surrounded by examples of upstanding Indian Americans-in his own home, in his temple, at the weekly parties given by his parents' friends-Kiran nevertheless finds it impossible to get the knack of "normalcy" And then one fateful day, a revelation: perhaps his desires aren't too earthly, but too divine. Perhaps the solution to the mystery of his existence has been before him since birth. For Kiran Sharma, a long, strange trip is about to begin-a journey so sublime, so ridiculous, so painfully beautiful, that it can only lead to the truth . . . "The best fiction reminds us that humanity is much, much larger than our personal world, our own little reality. Blue Boy shows us a world too funny and sad and sweet to be based on anything but the truth" -Chuck Palahniuk New York Times Bestselling Author.

Mashuq Deen
Mashuq DeenMashuq Deen is a Brooklyn-based theater artist. Deen is also an activist for the South Asian LGBTQ community, and does a lot of work for transgender inclusion and advocacy both in NYC and in collaboration with national and international organizations. He teaches writing workshops and trains community support group facilitators. He has a number of hobbies, which include baking bread, birthing stuffed monsters, and woodworking.

Paul Knox
Paul Knox Paul Knox is a writer and director who lives between NYC and Mumbai. His play, Kalighat, based on his experiences working in Mother Teresa's homes in Kolkata was produced by the IAAC and published by the New York Theater Experience. His Gehri Dosti: 5 Short Plays with a South Asian Bent ;-) was seen at Harvard University, Wellesley College and in NYC at Circle East (formerly the Circle Rep Lab) where he was Executive Director. His short film, Two Men in Shoulder Stand, premiered at the IAAC and has played at festivals and NGOs around the world. Paul is a co-recipient of the UN Society of Writers' Award for his cultural exchange work with the Russian Academy of Theater Arts (GITIS). His feature screenplay, The Seaside Light, is in development with Columbus Productions in Mumbai and is shortlisted for a 2015 Sloane/Sundance Fellowship. Paul has taught at the University of Mumbai and serves on the Board of Equal Ground, an LGBT Human Rights NGO in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
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