About me

Reading Mridula Garg’s “Country of Goodbyes” at Humayun’s Tomb, Delhi

I’m Elen Turner. I live in Buffalo, NY; before that, Kathmandu, Nepal; before that, Canberra, Australia; before that, Tokyo… and so it continues.

In 2012 I completed a PhD at the Australian National University on contemporary Indian feminist publishing. I have taught literature and gender studies to undergraduates, and now work as an academic editor and editor with Kathmandu-based magazine Himal Southasian.

I have a general obsession with literature from South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan). There’s so much good (and not so good) literature from this region that I’d like to discuss, promote, review and share. Much of it’s unavailable or unknown outside of the Indian subcontinent itself, so with this blog I want to share some of it around.

I’m always interested in hearing about books that you may want me to review. You can leave a note below, or email me at elen dot turner at gmail dot com. I’m most interested in literary fiction and non-fiction. I’m not much into poetry, and don’t review YA literature (just saying, as I’ve had requests in the past). All opinions expressed in reviews are my own.

16 thoughts on “About me”

  1. Hi Ellen.

    I’m Vidushi. I work with the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and we are so delighted to see your blog and your interest in South Asian Literature.

    Do get in touch with me if you would like to talk more about South Asian Writers.


  2. And hello, Elen, from a fellow Australian, and publisher of The Walls of Delhi, which is really worth looking at. Hope you are enjoying this festival as much as I am. Terri-ann White, UWA Publishing in Perth.

    1. I just bought a copy at the festival, and intend on reading it asap. I was staying in Delhi for a few weeks and had a look for it there, but couldn’t find it in any of the book shops, actually. But there seem to be plenty of copies available at the festival

  3. Hi Southasiablog and Vidushi, How does a writer get himself / herself noticed in India? Despite being published by big names like Rupa & Co and HarperCollins India, my books (they are non fiction) are not being reviewed and therefore not selling. It is a vicious cycle. What do you advice.

    1. I’m afraid I’m unable to answer that, I am not a published writer myself, but an academic. The books I review are simply those that I pick up in bookshops that catch my interest. I don’t get review copies sent to me, or anything like that. I guess it would be better to ask your publisher.

  4. Trying to get in touch with you to get your help on an initiative to promote South Asian women writers – adapted from ReadWomen2014. The initiative is called SheReads SouthAsia, and the pre-release site is live at http://www.shereadssouthasia.com. Please write back so that we can discuss, and hopefully get your help on this. Thanks

    1. Hi Naheed, thanks for your message, I’d be interested in learning more about your initiative. Please email me at elen dot turner at gmail dot com

  5. Dear Elen,

    I’m following Naheed’s comment (who is my publisher) with a request for a book review. My book isn’t literary fiction, but it is from and about Pakistan and Indireads just released it yesterday. It’s romance, with all the attendant baggage that word entails, but in the style of Urdu romance, which always revolves around a social issue. Can I interest you in a free copy (eBook only. We’re not printing yet) in return for a review?

    1. Hi Natasha,
      Thanks for your message. Yes, send me a copy at elen dot turner at gmail dot com. I can’t guarantee when I’ll be able to read it, I already have a list as long as my arm, but I’ll do my best 🙂

  6. Hi Elen,

    I am enjoying perusing your blog. My debut novel came out this year. The story takes place in a Pakistani family living in the US. I think desi chicklit would not be a bad way of describing it. It is intrinsically a Cinderella story with elements of magical realism. There is nothing else exactly like it and I wold love to send you a copy if you give me your mailing address.

    Warm Regards,
    Farha Hasan

    1. Hi Farhana,
      Thanks for your message. Do you have an electronic copy? Unfortunately sending me books in the mail isn’t such a good idea at the moment as I am living in Kathmandu, and the postal service here doesn’t deserve the name. If so, you could email it to elen dot turner at gmail dot com.

  7. Hi Elen, you seemed to have read almost every canonical or non-canonical text from South Asia. I am a research scholar and after seeing your blog I thought you to be the right person to get in touch. Actually I am working on South Asian life-writing and wanted to know about any life-writing text that you might have come across which blurs the boundary between history and fiction or in other words any historical biography/autobiography/memoir etc., in which the reliability of the narrator can be questioned. .

    I will be extremely thankful to you if you can reply to my message.

    1. Hi Deepali, thanks for your message. I’m sure there are a number of such books out there, in South Asian languages as well as English. This might not quite be what you’re after, but one book that I think is interesting in terms of the way it plays with genre is The Autobiography of CK Janu, published by Women Unlimited. There are some very interesting things going on in the translation practices of this book, which might be worth looking at. Unreliability of the narrator certainly arises.

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