My article in Rupkatha

Clearing through some backlog from the last few months when I wasn’t posting anything… back in June my article ‘Indian Feminist Publishing and the Sexual Subaltern’ was published in Rupkatha, an open-access academic journal of interdisciplinary humanities. The full article can be downloaded here, but here’s the abstract:

‘The discussion of queer politics, identities and “sexual subalterns” in India has, after 2009,entered a new phase. Discourse on sexuality was once largely focused on law and health policies; now, such discourse is better able to address positive identities and their multitude of
articulations. The relationship between queer and feminist discourse has become more
productive. This article examines independent feminist publishers as a representative of Indian
feminist discourse on sexuality and sexual subalternity. Such publishers are significant mediators of feminist scholarship and discourse, so analysing their work can reveal much about
‘mainstream’ forms of feminism. The December 2013 Supreme Court judgment to uphold Section 377 is concerning to many, but in the four and a half years that homosexuality was effectively legal in India, the visibility of the sexual subaltern broadened to the extent that it may be difficult to return to a pre-2009 state.’

Weekly news


DSC Prize for South Asian literature long-list announced. I’m disappointed that some big-name authors (of varying levels of mediocre) books have been included, as these threaten to overshadow the work of other lesser-known but very good authors. What I have liked about the DSC Prize in the past few years is its inclusion of a very wide variety of South Asian literature, from writing on South Asia by non-South Asian authors, as well as authors from and based in South Asia itself, originally written in English as well as translated into English. This is still evident in this long-list, but I hope the short-list is more discerning. And, now in its fifth year, I think it’s about time the top prize went to a woman, as it hasn’t yet, and South Asia is hardly short of female literary talent. Here’s the list.

And the Mountains Echoed, by Khaled Hosseini (read my review here)

The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri (read my review here)

Helium, by Jaspreet Singh (review forthcoming)

The Gypsy Goddess, by Meena Kandasamy

Mad Girl’s Love Song, by Rukmini Bhaya Nair

The Mirror of Beauty, by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi (review forthcoming)

The Scatter Here is Too Great, by Bilal Tanweer

A God in Every Stone, by Kamila Shamsie (regular readers will know how I feel about Shamsie’s work, and this novel is no different as far as I’m concerned! I have reviewed it, along with Fatima Bhutto and Uzma Aslam Khan, in the latest issue of Himal Southasian)

The Prisoner, by Omar Shahid Hamid

Noontide Toll, by Romesh Gunesekara

Call for papers:

South Asian Popular Culture journal, special issue on ‘Graphic Novels & Visual Cultures in South Asia’.

Articles I’m reading this week:

Report: Panel discussion on “Conflict and Literature” held in India’, by Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, on Kitaab.

In the end, Pakistan champion Muhammad Iqbal had doubts about the Two-Nation theory’ excerpt from new book by Zafar Anjum on Iqbal, on

Sufism: “a natural antidote to fanaticism”’ by Jason Webster, on the republication of an Idries Shah book about Sufism, on The Guardian.

Time for Peace’ by Salman Rashid, on the Asian Review of Books.


Mumbai: Tata Literature Live Festival begins this Thursday, 30th October.

Boston, New York, Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, San Francisco: throughout November (starting on the 1st) Pakistani film Zinda Bhaag will be touring US universities, followed by q&a sessions.

The Singapore Decalogue

The Singapore Decalogue, by Zafar Anjum.
The Singapore Decalogue, by Zafar Anjum.

My review of Zafar Anjum’s The Singapore Decalogue appeared on Kitaab a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a preview:

“Singapore is a unique agglomeration of cultures, history and contemporary prosperity, and so for this lover of South Asian literature, Zafar Anjum’s The Singapore Decalogue is a welcome entry into Singaporean literature from an Indian migrant’s perspective.”

Read the rest here


I’ll be starting a weekly news round-up: new books and recommended articles on South Asian literature will be posted on Tuesdays; upcoming events will be posted on Thursdays. If you’d like me to feature/consider your announcement, send me a message via the comments, or email me at elen dot turner at gmail dot com.

Forthcoming book:

Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician, by Zafar Anjum. Random House India, October 2014.

Articles I’ve been reading this week:

On Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel on the BBC website.

Southasia Blacklist

My long-time readers will know that I was working in Kathmandu with Himal Southasian for about a year. I’m no longer based in Kathmandu, but I am still working with Himal, off-site.

Himal has just launched its long-planned ‘Blacklist’:

‘Southasian governments regularly misuse their discretionary visa allotment powers to keep out those they consider ‘undesirable’ – such as critical journalists, scholars, and activists. This practice is more widespread than is recognised, even in countries with a liberal image, as individual cases fall through the cracks and disappear. With our ‘Blacklist’, we endeavour to collate, track, expose and challenge this process. We see this as a collaborative effort; contact us whenever and wherever you come across any such instances. You can send the information anonymously, but it must be corroborated in some way.’

The Blacklist can be found here.

Calling for news

I am going to start weekly announcements posts. One will be on Thursdays on events around the world to do with South Asian literature–for example, literary festivals, book launches, etc. The other, on Tuesdays, will be news of recently published books.
If you have any news you’d like me to share in these digests, please leave me a comment, or email me at elen dot turner at gmail dot com. I can’t hope to be as comprehensive as possible unless people let me know what’s going on in their neighbourhoods 🙂

Watch this space…

I’m sorry for the extended silence, but I have once again moved continents…from Kathmandu back to Australia and on to north America. Which, of course, has taken a lot of my time and energy over the last few months. But I am back up and running again, with a soon-to-be redesigned blog, new books, and more regular content in the works.
In the meantime, I am thrilled by the number of inquiries and offers to review books that I am receiving. I am always interested in reading and reviewing South Asian themed books, or literature connected to the region in some way. I ask that if you want to send me a review copy, a hard copy is available, as I prefer not to read on the screen. I cannot guarantee how quickly I’ll get around to reviewing your book, as I have a large stack that’s growing, but if you’ve sent me a copy, I promise that I will get around to it eventually.