My new travel blog

So, along with last week’s announcement that I will be taking up the role of Assistant Managing Editor at Kitaab, I would like to announce the launch of my brand new travel writing blog:

I’m sure to be kept busy, between the literary writing and editing and the travel writing. Please head on over to Wilderness, metropolis and take a look, there will be more and more South Asian content added in the coming weeks. Thanks everyone!


New role at Kitaab

I have recently been given the role of Assistant Managing Editor at Kitaab, a website with the aim of promoting Asian literature in English. I’ve had a few reviews published there before, and now I’ll be taking on a bigger role.

Which means this blog is going to go into hiatus for a while. I may return to it one day, but right now my interest in, and concern to promote, South Asian literature will be met by the role with Kitaab. I encourage you all to follow the Kitaab site, and to look out for me!

Thanks for reading 🙂

My review of some books on Nepal

The following extract is from Kitaab:

Nepal is a country about which there is an extremely warped image in the minds of outsiders. The stereotypes do not need repeating, because anyone who has not been to Nepal but has given the country even a cursory thought, knows what they are. There is also very little literature available outside of South Asia that engages with the country in any meaningful way—Canadian-Nepali Manjushree Thapa’s fiction and non-fiction being notable exceptions. Therefore, it is refreshing and promising when non-Nepalis with an extensive knowledge of the country turn to literature to record their experiences.

Joe Niemczura’s The Sacrament of the Goddess and Martin David Hughes’ Jaya Nepal! are two fictionalized accounts of American aid workers’ experiences in Nepal, published by small North American presses. They both have at their heart naïve young men with the best of intentions, who find love and friendship in Nepal. Both Niemczura’s protagonist Matt and Hughes’ protagonist Ben end up working in Nepali hospitals—Matt in the small town of Beni (the site of a large battle between Maoists and the Nepali army in 2004) in the Annapurna region, and Ben in an improbably-named settlement on the outskirts of Kathmandu, Pepsicola Townplanning. Both men have experienced love and heartbreak, the underlying reason for their being in Nepal.

Read the rest here.

Weekly news

Recently published: 

Meena Kandasamy’s book of poetry Ms. Militancy has been published in German, as Fraulein Militanz.

New issue:

Jaggery: A DesiLit Arts and Literature Journal’s Fall 2014 issue is out now.


Manil Suri’s two keynote addresses at the Kriti Festival of South Asian Literature (held in Chicago at the end of September, and at which I was present) are available to watch on YouTube, here and here. Manil was a great speaker, and a superb writer. Recommended watching.


Singapore, 13th-14th November: Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, 9th International Conference on the States of South Asia. More info available here. Wish I could be at this one!

Kathmandu, 13th November, 4.30pm: Talk: Where Art Meets Science: New ways to explore change in the Himalayas, with climber, photographer and filmmaker David Breashears. At QFX Kumari cinema, hall 1. Free entry. Hosted by Photo Circle.

Delhi, 15th Novemeber 11am: Launch of Zubaan book ‘Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean’, sci-fi and fantasy short stories for young adults, from Indian and Australian authors. Oxford Bookstore, Connaught Place. Info on Zubaan’s website.

What I’m reading:

‘What Books are People Buying in India? Ten Things That Will Astonish You’ by Arunava Sinha on Scroll.In.

‘The Book of Gold Leaves Review- Mirza Waheed Speaks Up For Kashmir’ by Chitra Ramaswamy in The Guardian.

‘The Old Man of the Mountain’ by Rahul Singh, in IQ: The Indian Quarterly. On Khushwant Singh, by his son.

‘Why Post-Colonial Lords Have a Colonial Hangover’, in Tehelka, by Rakesh Krishnan Simha. Simha writes very provocatively about William Dalrymple. I’m not an apologist for Dalrymple (who I think is a great travel writer and a good historian, but a rather crowd-pleasing po-co lord, as in the article’s title) but Simha stoops very low: “The likes of Dalrymple should, therefore, go back and reform their own country. They have no business being in India”. Nope, I’m not buying that. Tehelka is going in a very funny direction by publishing this kind of writing.

‘Feminism is not Short-Hand for Male Bashing’, interview with Meena Kandasamy in the Hindustan Times. I don’t think the interviewer does a great job here (in fact, most of her questions would suggest she knows little about her subject) but Meena Kandasamy is a fascinating author.

‘Kiss of Love: Public Kissing Western? Public Pissing Indian?’ by one of my favourites, Urvashi Butalia, on the DailyO. Flippant, but fun.


‘Winged Horses’ by Janice Pariat, extract from her forthcoming novel Seahorses in IQ: Indian Quarterly.

‘The Many Lives of Ruby Iyer’ by Laxmi Hariharan. Excerpt on Kitaab.

Call for submissions:

Jaggery: A DesiLit Arts and Literature Journal is calling for submissions.


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.