Ajay Raj is an actor and theatre practitioner who performs across platforms and languages. He started his acting career right from the age of 5. He has shared the screen with many veterans and legends like Kamal Haasan, Urvasi, Parvathy Thiruvothu (Menon),Jayaram etc. He is currently acting as the lead in Kannada, Hindi and Tamil language movies and web series. He has been fortunate to work under the direction of many stalwarts including Girish Kasaravalli, Vetri Maaran,Ramesh Arvind, Seetharam T N and many more.
Amit Majmudar is a novelist, poet, translator, essayist, and diagnostic nuclear radiologist. His latest books are Godsong: A Verse Translation of the Bhagavad-Gita, with Commentary and the mythological novel Sitayana. His latest poetry collection is What He Did in Solitary. His poetry has appeared in The Best of the Best American Poetry 25th Anniversary Edition, numerous Best American Poetry anthologies, as well as the Norton Introduction to Literature, The New Yorker, and Poetry. His first poetry collection, 0',0', was shortlisted for the Norma Farber Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America, and his, Heaven and Earth, won the Donald Justice Award. He also edited an anthology of political poetry, Resistance, Rebellion, Life: 50 Poems Now . His new volume is a translation of Kabir's poems The Mystical Rhymes of Kabi. Winner of the Anne Halley Prize and the Pushcart Prize, he served as Ohio's first Poet Laureate.
Award-winning feminist poet and writer Annie Finch is the author of seven books of poetry including Eve, Calendars, The Poetry Witch Little Book of Spells, and the epic poem on abortion Among the Goddesses: An Epic Libretto in Seven Dreams. She is also the editor of Choice Words: Writers on Abortion. Her other works include a poetry CD, poetry anthologies, works of poetry criticism, verse plays, music collaborations, and the poetry handbooks A Poet’s Craft and A Poet's Ear. She earned a Ph.D from Stanford University, has lectured at universities including Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford, taught as a tenured professor of creative writing at Miami University, and served as Director of Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing. Annie is based in Washington, DC and offers online classes for poets in poetry and meter through her website, anniefinch.com.
Remember, gods, when you prayed to me?
Hush, I said, good gods don’t pray.
With every telling, your story changes...
Truth is, you don’t recall creating me.
I am down on my knees, waiting
for Amazon to deliver a new god.
- Shinie Antony
Aravind Kuplikar has a Master’s degree in Kannada literature. He has more than 2 decades of experience in theatre. He is closely associated with legendary theatre actor /director Padmashri Dr B Jayashree. After completing his Post graduation diploma at L V Prasad film and TV academy,Chennai , he worked with the renowned Actor, Director Prakash Raj in his multi lingual movie - “Oggarane” in Kannada for which he was the co-director and also wrote the dialogues. He is currently working towards the release of his debut direction and; Puksatte liffu.
Described as 'one of the finest poets writing in India today', Arundhathi Subramaniam is an award-winning poet and writer on spirituality. Widely translated and anthologised, her volume of poetry, When God is a Traveller (2014) was the Season Choice of the Poetry Book Society, shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Her most recent book of poems is Love Without a Story (Westland Amazon, 2019).
As a prose writer, her books include The Book of Buddha, the bestselling biography of a contemporary mystic, Sadhguru: More Than a Life and most recently, Adiyogi: The Source of Yoga (co-authored with Sadhguru). As editor, her most recent book is the Penguin anthology of sacred poetry, Eating God.
Asiya Zahoor has written books and articles on the literature of exile, Kashmiri literature, and psycholinguistics. Her film, The Stitch, has won the Critics Award for Best Film at the Second South Asian Film Festival among other awards, and has been screened at various festivals internationally. Her latest book is a collection of poems entitled, Serpents Under My Veil. She has been awarded the Ford Foundation Fellowship to study at Oxford and has recently been awarded a Sanford Taylor Fellowship by the University of Cornell USA. She is currently teaching at Tangmarg college in Baramulla, Kashmir.
Avner Pariat is a creative based in Shillong, Meghalaya. His literary work has been published in a number of well-known publications like Economic and Political Weekly, Scroll. He was awarded an India Foundation for the Arts (IFA) grant and was a Literature Across Frontiers (LAF) artist-in-residence in 2017. He contributes regularly to a number of Shillong-based publications and is currently working on an exclusively Khasi poetry collection to be released later this year.
His latest collaborative collection Open Me, My Shadow with Welsh poet, Rhys Trimble is out on Poetrywalla and available on Amazon.com
Gregory Kan is a poet and programmer based in Wellington, New Zealand. His work has featured in various literary journals, both across New Zealand and overseas. He is also involved in the contemporary art scene, and has had work featured in exhibitions and in catalogues. His first poetry book, This Paper Boat, was published by Auckland University Press in 2016. It was a finalist for Best Poetry in the NZ Book Awards for 2016. Under Glass was published by Auckland University in 2019, and was long listed for Best Poetry at the NZ Book Awards in 2019. He believes strongly in a play- and process-driven approach when it comes to writing and composition.
Hussain Haidry is an Indian spoken word poet, writer and lyricist. He gained prominence for his spoken word poem titled, Hindustani Musalmaan. He has written lyrics for Bollywood films, Gurgaon, Qarib Qarib Single and Mukkabaaz.
Jayant Kaikini is regarded as one of the most significant of the younger writers in Kannada today. He is a writer of short stories, film scripts and poetry, and is based in Bangalore. His poetry is characterised by subtle imagery, a minute documentation of the seemingly commonplace, a colloquial idiom and a conscientious refusal to engage in any poeticising. He has so far published six anthologies of short stories, four books of poetry, three plays and a collection of essays.
Kaikini received the Karnataka Sahitya Academy award for his first poetry collection at the age of nineteen in 1974. He received the same award again in 1982, 1989 and 1996 for his short story collections. He has been awarded the Dinakara Desai award for his poetry, the B. H. Sridhar award for fiction, as well as the Katha National award and Rujuwathu trust fellowship for his creative writing.
Jeeva Raghunath, storyteller/author. Pioneered the storytelling movement in Tamilnadu, India. She has represented her country at various festivals around the globe. Awarded Best entrepreneur award for her contribution to storytelling and Pride of Asia awarded by Surindra Rajabhat University, Surin, Thailand. Her company Kathaikalatta organises an international storytelling festival Under the Aalamaram since 2014 and featured over 45 international Storytellers. She has authored 10 storybooks for children and translated over 65 picture books from English to Tamil. She smells, tastes, feels, sees and hears stories!!!!
K. Sachidanandan is a noted Indian poet and critic, writing in Malayalam and English. A pioneer of modern poetry in Malayalam, a bilingual literary critic, playwright, editor, columnist and translator, he is the former Editor of Indian Literature journal and the former Secretary of Sahitya Akademi.
Kanishka Gupta is a literary agent, writer and publishing commentator with Scroll.in. His first book, a novel, was published in 2009 by Rupa and Co. His second book, a poetry collection, How to Google A Childhood Friend, will be published by Juggernaut Books in 2021.
Karthika Naïr is the author of several books, including Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata, which won the 2015 Tata Literature Live Award for Book of the Year (Fiction). She was principal scriptwriter for Akram Khan’s DESH (2011), Chotto Desh (2015), and Until the Lions (2016), an adaptation of her own book. Also a dance enabler, Naïr's closest association has been with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet as executive producer of works like Three Spells, Babel (Words), Puz/zle and Les Médusés, and as co-founder of Cherkaoui’s company, Eastman.
Photo credit: Koen Broos
Kavitha Lankesh is an Indian film director, screenwriter and a lyricist known for her work in Kannada cinema industry. She began as a documentary film-maker before directing her first feature film, Deveeri (1999), which went on to win international, national and state awards. She is considered to be one of the renowned film-makers of Kannada cinema. She has directed and produced more than fifty documentaries/informational films and more than forty corporate films. Kavitha has won several awards.
Kirun Kapur’s second collection, Women in the Waiting Room, was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press (2020). She was the winner of the Arts & Letters Rumi Prize in Poetry and the Antivenom Poetry Award for her first book, Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist (Elixir Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in AGNI, Poetry International, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares and many other journals. She has taught creative writing at Boston University and Brandeis University, and has been granted fellowships from The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Vermont Studio Center and McDowell Colony. She was recently named an Asian-American poet to watch by NBC news. Kapur serves as Poetry Editor at The Drum Literary Magazine and currently teaches at Amherst College.
Maaz Bin Bilal is the author of Ghazalnama: Poems from Delhi, Belfast, and Urdu (Yoda Press 2019), and the translator of Fikr Taunsvi's Partition journal, The Sixth River (Speaking Tiger, 2019). He was Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow in Translation and Creative Writing in Wales in 2018-19. Maaz teaches literary studies at Jindal Global University and is currently working on the translation of Mirza Ghalib's Persian long poem on Benares, Chirag-e-Dair.
Mani Rao has ten poetry collections including Sing to Me, New & Selected Poems, Echolocation and Ghostmasters. Her books in translation include Bhagavad Gita as a poem, and Kalidasa for the 21st Century Reader. Her latest non-fiction, an anthropology of mantra-experience among tantrics, is Living Mantra— Mantra, Deity and Visionary Experience Today. Featured in the Oxford Companion to Modern Poetry in English, Rao has poems and essays in Poetry Magazine, Wasafiri, Meanjin, Iowa Review, Fulcrum, West Coast Line, Omniverse, Mascara, Indian Literature, Penguin Book of the Prose Poem, W.W.Norton’s Language for a New Century, Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets and other journals and anthologies. She has held writing residencies at IPSI Canberra (2019), Omi Ledig House (2018) and IWP Iowa (2005, 2009). See www.manirao.com
Manisha Sharma is a poet and fiction writer. Her work has been published in The Fourth River, Arkansan Review, Puerto Del Sol, TAB, and is forthcoming in Arts & Letters, The Madison Review, and other fine journals. She is the 2020 winner of the CausewayLit Poetry Award and a semifinalist for the Cultural Weekly Poetry Prize. A Vermont Studio Center scholarship recipient, and AWP mentee, Manisha earned an MFA from Virginia Tech and is currently a lecturer in English and Yoga at New River Community College in Virginia. You can reach her at www.manisha-sharma.com
Marilyn Hacker is the author of fourteen poetry collections, including Blazons( 2019) and A Stranger’s Mirror(2015) , a book of essays, Unauthorized Voices (2010), a collaborative book, Diaspo/Renga, written with Deema K. Shehabi (2014) and seventeen books of translations of French and Francophone poets, most recently Samira Negrouche’s The Olive Trees’ Jazz (2020). She received the 2009 American PEN Award for poetry in translation, and the international Argana Prize for Poetry from the Beit as-Sh’ir/ House of Poetry in Morocco in 2011. She lives in Paris.
Photo credit: Nahed Badawia
Meera Dasgupta is an activist, a member of numerous advocacy groups, a poet, and an outstanding student. She is also the 2020 Regional Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador for the Northeastern United States, a Van Lier Fellow, Federal Hall Fellow, Climate Speaks Winner, & Scholastic Arts and Writing Winner. Her performances have been featured by the NY Times, PBS, Apple, Grist, the Apollo, Bryant Park etc. and she has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall, the Teen Vogue Summit, TEDxCUNY, amongst many others.
Prathiba Nandakumar is a bilingual author, poet, journalist, film maker, columnist and translator . Her publications include autobiographies, poems, short stories, columns, in kannada, english and translations from dogri. She has received several awards including the Karnataka Sahitya Academy Book Award and Bangalore Literary Festival Literary Achievement Award.
Pratibha Kelapure is an Indian-American poet residing in California. She is an auto-didact out of necessity and has been writing poetry for a long time. However, recently, she completed several highly reputed poetry workshops, including Annie Finch’s Rhythm Workshop. Her poems appear in Choice Words: Writers on Abortion (Anthology), Plath Poetry Project, miller’s pond poetry, The Lake, and many other literary magazines, and contain images from both her childhood in India and her world in the USA since the 70s. She is the editor of the online poetry journal, The Literary Nest, which she founded in 2015 and which is thriving ever since.
Radhika Narayan (Chetan) is known as the Rangi Taranga girl, which got a cult status. working primarily in mainstream Kannada cinema, and in Kannada theater, is a method actress who is known for the selection of her projects. She is an engineering graduate. Besides being a film actress, she is a trained Kathak dancer, who is actively involved with WeMove Theatre movement and also acted in short films.
Raena Shirali is the author of GILT (YesYes Books, 2017), which won the 2018 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award. Winner of a Pushcart Prize & a former Philip Roth Resident at Bucknell University, Shirali is also the recipient of prizes and honors from VIDA, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, & Cosmonauts Avenue. Her poems & reviews have appeared widely in American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A Day, The Nation, The Rumpus, & elsewhere. Shirali lives in Philadelphia, where she recently co-organized We (Too) Are Philly--a summer poetry festival highlighting voices of color. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Holy Family University and Co-Editor-in-Chief for Muzzle Magazine. Learn more at www.raenashirali.com.
Rajiv Mohabir is the author of The Cowherd’s Son (Tupelo Press 2017, winner of the 2015 Kundiman Prize; Eric Hoffer Honorable Mention 2018) and The Taxidermist’s Cut (Four Way Books 2016, winner of the Four Way Books Intro to Poetry Prize, Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry in 2017), and translator of I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara (1916) (Kaya Press 2019) which received a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant Award. His memoir won the 2019 Reckless Books’ New Immigrant Writing Prize and is forthcoming 2021. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of poetry in the MFA program at Emerson College, translations editor at Waxwing Journal
Jurczok 1001 lives and works in Zurich. Is among Switzerland’s spoken word pioneers. Has released six albums. Most recent publication: Spoken Beats (Edition Patrick Frey), a collection of his spoken word texts from the last ten years.
He has appeared among other places at the Tata literature live! Festival in Mumbai, at the Berlin Poetry Festival, at the woerdz Festival in Lucerne, at Moscow’s Electrotheatre, at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia and at Deutsches Haus New York. For the past 20 years he has also performed as a duo with the author Melinda Nadj Abonji. In Switzerland he has toured with the US spoken word artist Ursula Rucker.
Rudrakshi Bhattacharjee did her schooling in Bangalore. She attended Stanford University's residential course in Creative Writing as a fourteen-year-old, and Johns Hopkins University's Engineering Innovation program at fifteen. Her book of short stories This Is How It Took Place (HarperCollins India) won the 'best debut author' prize at The Times of India and JK Paper AutHer Awards 2020. She enjoyed swimming, music, travelling and golf
National Award winning actor. He acts in Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films. He is best known for the role of transgender in Nannu Avanalla Avalu for which he received the National Award. He is also active on stage. He is associated with the troupe Sanchari and hence got the tag. He is a major figure in culture sphere in Kannada.
N Sandhya Rani, Writer, poet, columnist, translator and journalist. Curated a book, ‘Helateva Kela’, edited ‘Jogi Reader, ‘Yaake Kaadutide Summane Nannanu’ – collection of column write ups. ‘Thumbe Hoo’ – A biography on the life and works of Dr Narayana Reddy – First Neurosurgeon of Karnataka. ‘Pondichery Ennuva Rangoli’ – A travelogue.
‘Aduve Rangasaale’ – Collection of articles on theatre. ‘Aanu Ninna haadade Sairisalarenayya’ – A Poetry Collection. Plays ‘Poorvi Kalyana’, ‘Nannolagina Haadu Cuba’. Story, script and dialogues for the national award winning movie :‘Nathicharami’.
Dr K R Sandhya Reddy is a folklore scholar, poet and author. She has 3 collections of poems, 9 books on folklore, one short story collection, 3 biographies, 5 translations and edited 8 anthologies. She has also translated Calevala, Finnish epic folk classic, Gandhi as seen by Burk White among others. She is bestowed with several prestigious awards including Janapadaloka Award, Goruru Sahitya Award, Dr Anupama Niranjana Award. She served as the President of Lekhakiyara Sangha.
Shikha Malaviya is a South Asian American poet, writer, and publisher. She is co-founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, a mentorship model press publishing powerful voices from India & the Indian diaspora. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and featured in PLUME, Chicago Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner & other fine publications. Shikha was a featured TEDx speaker in GolfLinks, Bangalore, in 2013, where she gave a talk on poetry. She was selected as Poet Laureate of San Ramon, California, 2016. Shikha is a four-time AWP poetry mentor and the 2020 poetry judge for AWP’s Kurt Brown Prize. Currently, she is a Mosaic Silicon Valley Fellow, committed to cultural diversity and artistic excellence in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her book of poems is Geography of Tongues.
Soniah Kamal is an award-winning novelist, essayist, and public speaker. Her novel, Unmarriageable: Pride & Prejudice in Pakistanis featured on PBS Books, Publishers Weekly hails it a ‘must read for devout Austenites’. Accolades for Unmarriageable include a Financial Times Readers’ Best Book of 2019, an NPR Code Switch and New York Public Library 2019 Summer Read Pick, a People’s Magazine pick, a Library Reads Pick, a 2019 ‘Books All Georgians Should Read,’ a 2020 Georgia Author of the Year for Literary Fiction nominee, is shortlisted for the 2020 Townsend Award for Fiction, and more. Soniah's Novel An Isolated Incident was a finalist for the Townsend Award for Fiction and the KLF French Fiction Prize and an Amazon Rising Star Pick. Soniah's work has appeared in critically acclaimed anthologies and publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, TEDx, The Georgia Review, The Bitter Southerner, Catapult, and more.
Subhashini Kaligotla is a poet and architectural historian of medieval India. A Kundiman poetry fellow and author of Bird of the Indian Subcontinent (2018), her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Caravan, New England Review, The Literary Review, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History at Yale University.
Sudhanva Deshpande is an actor and director with Jana Natya Manch, and a publisher with LeftWord Books. He is the author of Halla Bol: The Death and Life of Safdar Hashmi.
Tabish Khair was born in Ranchi, and now lives in Denmark, where he is an associate professor at Aarhus University. His recent novels include How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position, Just Another Jihadi Jane and Night of Happiness. Translated into various languages, Khair has won or been shortlisted for around 20 poetry, fiction and non-fiction prizes in seven countries. He has held guest professorships or fellowships in York University (UK), Cambridge University, Leeds University, JNU, Jamia Milia, Hong Kong Baptist University, and other places. During the virus crisis, he rewrote 21 Shakespeare sonnets as a commentary on the times: QUARANTINED SONNETS: Sex Money and Shakespeare. Published by Kitaab, Singapore, the profits will be donated to a migrant worker’s charity in Singapore.
Tina Shashikanth hails from Malnad region of Karnataka and works as a journalist in Bengaluru. Her poems deal with a variety of thought processes, especially scientific. She has started juxtaposing sexual, spiritual relationships with various scientific theories, of late. She usually deals with urban, sensual themes. She believes that deeper exploration of the erotic and the material eventually leads to transcendence. She prefers to tread through various aesthetic approaches and forge her own path. She is fascinated by experiments and modern approaches to poetry. She is interested in new developments in Kannada literary theory as well as practice.
Venus Jones is an actress, poet, and speaker. She has produced four spoken word albums and three books entitled She Rose, Lyrics for Langston, and Kwanzaa: Living on Principle. She has a poetry app full of poetic affirmations that has been downloaded in 90 countries. Her poetry has been published in the UK, Canada, and in several anthologies and journals in the U.S. Her one-woman show was awarded Most Inspiring Solo Performance of 2012 by the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival. She’s been called Langston Hughes in the form of a black girl by the Langston Hughes Family Museum. She’s a former MTV intern, appeared in the films Out of Time and The Punisher. She opened for Def Poetry on Broadway, and has graced the cover of Spoken Vizions magazine. She promotes healing words and her ongoing mission is to wage inner peace through poetry.