Programme

JLF Houston is proud to felicitate novelist Bapsi Sidhwa, iconic raconteur of diasporic voices, legendary chronicler of the Indian sub-continent, for her work, voice, and vision. 

Houston resident Bapsi Sidhwa is an American-Pakistani writer of Parsi descent. The author of five acclaimed novels, she is also known for her collaborative work with Indo- Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta, whose film Earth was based on Sidhwa’s acclaimed novel The Ice Candy Man

Sidhwa will deliver her keynote address where she speaks of her journey with words, across cultures, and continents. 

 

At a time when women are increasingly reclaiming their narratives, award-winning Indian-American writer and poet Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s new novel The Forest of Enchantments tells the story of the ancient Indian epic the Ramayana but from the perspective of its female protagonist Sita. By placing Sita at the center and bringing to the fore female characters often relegated to the margins, she transforms the tale into a contemporary one. Banerjee Divakaruni will speak about her book and inspirations with television journalist Rekha Muddaraj.

Priyamvada Natarajan is a Professor in the departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. Noted for her work in mapping dark matter, dark energy and black holes, she has authored Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos. Her extraordinary gift for making abstract and complex scientific ideas accessible to general audiences and her commitment to developing strategies to enhance numerical and scientific literacy for the public at large make her an ambassador for learning. She speaks of the missing pieces of the puzzles in our understanding of black holes, and how some of her early theories have recently been vindicated. A fascinating and engrossing session, introduced by Director of the Rice Space Institute David Alexander, that gives us insights into the nature of our universe.

Considered the greatest Indian novelist of the 20th century, K. Raja Rao’s works were deeply rooted in metaphysics. A professor of philosophy at the University of Texas from 1966-1986, he was a recipient of the International Neustadt Prize for Literature. His archives have been acquired by the University of Texas. In conversation with intellectual and activist Sunanda Vashisht, Indian scholar and poet Makarand R. Paranjape pays tribute to Raja Rao’s work and legacy, and speaks of the Raja Rao Publication Project at the University of Texas.

 

The Good Talk is a graphic memoir that grapples with tough conversations about family, race, love, identity, and the ways they change us. Here, Mira Jacob, one of the most recent stars of the South Asian literary diaspora, talks with acclaimed author and graphic novelist Mat Johnson.

Susan Abulhawa is one of the most political of Arab-American novelists who, through her work, has grappled with the human consequences of western foreign policy on the region of her ancestry. Lawrence Wright has done the same but from the perspective of a Pulitzer-winning writer of nonfiction. Here, the two talk about their different perspectives with William Dalrymple.

Writers speak about ways of seeing and recording, and how they navigate words across countries and cultures. Novelist Monique Truong’s latest book, The Sweetest Fruits, imagines the extraordinary lives of three women who loved an extraordinary man, the globe-trotting writer Lafcadio Hearn. Palestinian novelist, poet, and political essayist Susan Abulhawa's The Blue Between Sky and Water explores the legacy of dispossession across continents and generations through the stories of flawed yet profoundly courageous women. Playwright, illustrator, and author Edward Carey’s Little is a wry, macabre, and unforgettable tale of an ambitious orphan in revolutionary Paris. Chandrahas Choudhury is the author of Clouds, which is a double-sided story about three people in search of love in 21st-century Mumbai alongside that of an ancient Indian religion devoted to the beauty and mystery of clouds. In a session of readings and conversations, they speak of the voice and nuance of their work. 

 

“Words are the enemy of impunity.” Sohaila Abdulali writes as a survivor, counselor and activist about the global conversation around rape. In The Other Side and The Reckoning, Lacy M. Johnson talks about her personal experience of sexual violence, and shares her thoughts on retribution and justice. Tarfia Faizullah's collection Seam explores the experiences of the thousands of Bangladeshi women raped by Pakistani soldiers during the Liberation War of 1971. Together they speak of the issues and silences around the subject. A moving session on what we talk about when we talk about rape.

 

Bollywood actor Manisha Koirala shares the highs and lows of her life, her career, relationships, and her battle with ovarian cancer. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, she speaks of the pressures of her film career, the life choices she was compelled to make, and how she redefined her priorities and regained a sense of balance and well-being. A no-holds-barred session about the emotional roller-coaster ride of Koirala’s life post-diagnosis, her learnings and inspirations, and the process of healing.

Searching for the sources of the poetic imagination, four poets speak of the muses that inspire them. Award-winning Tarfia Faizullah is the author of two poetry collections, Registers of Illuminated Villages and Seam. Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is a renowned performance poet, the first African-American Poet Laureate of Houston, and executive director of VIP Arts, a non-profit dedicated to promoting literacy and the arts in underserved populations. Usha Akella is the founder of Matwaala, the first South Asian Poetry Fest in the USA, and most recently author of the poetry collection The Waiting. Makarand R. Paranjape is currently Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla, India and the author/editor of dozens of books. In a powerful session of readings and conversation, introduced by Executive Director of Inprint Rich Levy, they invoke the power of the word and give voice to their poetry.

In August 1765, the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emperor and forced him to set up in his richest provinces a new administration run by English merchants who collected taxes through means of a ruthless private army, what we would now call an act of involuntary privatization.

The East India Company’s founding charter authorized it to “wage war” and it had always used violence to gain its ends. But the creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional international trading corporation dealing in silks and spices, and became something much more unusual: an aggressive colonial power in the guise of a multinational business. In less than 500 years, it had trained up a security force of around 200,000 men and had subdued an entire subcontinent, conquering first Bengal and finally, in 1803, the Mughal capital of Delhi itself. The Company’s reach stretched until almost all of India and was effectively ruled from a boardroom in London. 

The Anarchy charts how one of the world’s most magnificent empires disintegrated and how it came to be replaced by a dangerously unregulated private company. In his most ambitious and riveting book to date, William Dalrymple tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before.

 

JLF Houston is proud to felicitate novelist Bapsi Sidhwa, iconic raconteur of diasporic voices, legendary chronicler of the Indian sub-continent, for her work, voice, and vision. 

Houston resident Bapsi Sidhwa is an American-Pakistani writer of Parsi descent. The author of five acclaimed novels, she is also known for her collaborative work with Indo- Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta, whose film Earth was based on Sidhwa’s acclaimed novel The Ice Candy Man

Sidhwa will deliver her keynote address where she speaks of her journey with words, across cultures, and continents. 

 

At a time when women are increasingly reclaiming their narratives, award-winning Indian-American writer and poet Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s new novel The Forest of Enchantments tells the story of the ancient Indian epic the Ramayana but from the perspective of its female protagonist Sita. By placing Sita at the center and bringing to the fore female characters often relegated to the margins, she transforms the tale into a contemporary one. Banerjee Divakaruni will speak about her book and inspirations with television journalist Rekha Muddaraj.

Priyamvada Natarajan is a Professor in the departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University. Noted for her work in mapping dark matter, dark energy and black holes, she has authored Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos. Her extraordinary gift for making abstract and complex scientific ideas accessible to general audiences and her commitment to developing strategies to enhance numerical and scientific literacy for the public at large make her an ambassador for learning. She speaks of the missing pieces of the puzzles in our understanding of black holes, and how some of her early theories have recently been vindicated. A fascinating and engrossing session, introduced by Director of the Rice Space Institute David Alexander, that gives us insights into the nature of our universe.

Considered the greatest Indian novelist of the 20th century, K. Raja Rao’s works were deeply rooted in metaphysics. A professor of philosophy at the University of Texas from 1966-1986, he was a recipient of the International Neustadt Prize for Literature. His archives have been acquired by the University of Texas. In conversation with intellectual and activist Sunanda Vashisht, Indian scholar and poet Makarand R. Paranjape pays tribute to Raja Rao’s work and legacy, and speaks of the Raja Rao Publication Project at the University of Texas.

 

The Good Talk is a graphic memoir that grapples with tough conversations about family, race, love, identity, and the ways they change us. Here, Mira Jacob, one of the most recent stars of the South Asian literary diaspora, talks with acclaimed author and graphic novelist Mat Johnson.

Susan Abulhawa is one of the most political of Arab-American novelists who, through her work, has grappled with the human consequences of western foreign policy on the region of her ancestry. Lawrence Wright has done the same but from the perspective of a Pulitzer-winning writer of nonfiction. Here, the two talk about their different perspectives with William Dalrymple.

Writers speak about ways of seeing and recording, and how they navigate words across countries and cultures. Novelist Monique Truong’s latest book, The Sweetest Fruits, imagines the extraordinary lives of three women who loved an extraordinary man, the globe-trotting writer Lafcadio Hearn. Palestinian novelist, poet, and political essayist Susan Abulhawa's The Blue Between Sky and Water explores the legacy of dispossession across continents and generations through the stories of flawed yet profoundly courageous women. Playwright, illustrator, and author Edward Carey’s Little is a wry, macabre, and unforgettable tale of an ambitious orphan in revolutionary Paris. Chandrahas Choudhury is the author of Clouds, which is a double-sided story about three people in search of love in 21st-century Mumbai alongside that of an ancient Indian religion devoted to the beauty and mystery of clouds. In a session of readings and conversations, they speak of the voice and nuance of their work. 

 

“Words are the enemy of impunity.” Sohaila Abdulali writes as a survivor, counselor and activist about the global conversation around rape. In The Other Side and The Reckoning, Lacy M. Johnson talks about her personal experience of sexual violence, and shares her thoughts on retribution and justice. Tarfia Faizullah's collection Seam explores the experiences of the thousands of Bangladeshi women raped by Pakistani soldiers during the Liberation War of 1971. Together they speak of the issues and silences around the subject. A moving session on what we talk about when we talk about rape.

 

Bollywood actor Manisha Koirala shares the highs and lows of her life, her career, relationships, and her battle with ovarian cancer. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts, she speaks of the pressures of her film career, the life choices she was compelled to make, and how she redefined her priorities and regained a sense of balance and well-being. A no-holds-barred session about the emotional roller-coaster ride of Koirala’s life post-diagnosis, her learnings and inspirations, and the process of healing.

Searching for the sources of the poetic imagination, four poets speak of the muses that inspire them. Award-winning Tarfia Faizullah is the author of two poetry collections, Registers of Illuminated Villages and Seam. Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton is a renowned performance poet, the first African-American Poet Laureate of Houston, and executive director of VIP Arts, a non-profit dedicated to promoting literacy and the arts in underserved populations. Usha Akella is the founder of Matwaala, the first South Asian Poetry Fest in the USA, and most recently author of the poetry collection The Waiting. Makarand R. Paranjape is currently Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla, India and the author/editor of dozens of books. In a powerful session of readings and conversation, introduced by Executive Director of Inprint Rich Levy, they invoke the power of the word and give voice to their poetry.

In August 1765, the East India Company defeated the young Mughal emperor and forced him to set up in his richest provinces a new administration run by English merchants who collected taxes through means of a ruthless private army, what we would now call an act of involuntary privatization.

The East India Company’s founding charter authorized it to “wage war” and it had always used violence to gain its ends. But the creation of this new government marked the moment that the East India Company ceased to be a conventional international trading corporation dealing in silks and spices, and became something much more unusual: an aggressive colonial power in the guise of a multinational business. In less than 500 years, it had trained up a security force of around 200,000 men and had subdued an entire subcontinent, conquering first Bengal and finally, in 1803, the Mughal capital of Delhi itself. The Company’s reach stretched until almost all of India and was effectively ruled from a boardroom in London. 

The Anarchy charts how one of the world’s most magnificent empires disintegrated and how it came to be replaced by a dangerously unregulated private company. In his most ambitious and riveting book to date, William Dalrymple tells the story of the East India Company as it has never been told before.