Agam is a Bangalore-based contemporary Carnatic progressive rock band formed in 2003. Their music is a blend of Carnatic music and rock and draws inspirations from traditional Carnatic music and progressive rock acts such as Dream Theatre. Their logo is inspired by the folk art Theyyam of North Kerala. Interestingly, the name ‘Agam’ is a Malayalam/ Tamil word which means the 'Heart, soul or the Inner soul'. The current lineup consists of Harish Sivaramakrishnan (vocals and violin), Ganesh Ram Nagarajan (drums and backing vocals), Swamy Seetharaman (keyboards and lyricist), T Praveen Kumar (lead guitar), Aditya Kasyap (bass guitar and backing vocals), Sivakumar Nagarajan (ethnic percussions), Jagadish Natarajan (rhythm guitar) and Yadhunandan (Drummer). Agam has also been featured in television channels and their well-known performances include the one for the entertainment channel Rosebowl, and it also performed in the second season of Coke Studio (India). They received recognition by winning the "Ooh la la la" – Music reality show hosted by Sun TV, and judged by A. R. Rahman, in 2007. They have also featured in Music of contemporary India commissioned by the Ministry of External Affairs, India.
Aaron Chapman Artist & Writer
Aaron Chapman is an artist and writer based between the Gold Coast and Northern Rivers, working across a range of mediums including photography, text, sculpture and public art. Chapman's work is motivated by architecture and the home, and is particularly interested in childhood and the metaphorical offerings of deconstructed homes. His work has appeared at Head On Photo Festival, Centre for Contemporary Photography and the Bleach Festival. His poetry and prose have appeared in international publications and Australian literary journals. In 2019, Chapman was a Moran Contemporary Photographic Prize semi-finalist and a finalist in the Australian Life Photography Competition at Art & About Sydney. In 2020, he was a finalist in Perth Centre for Photography’s CLIP Award and received the judge’s commendation award. Some of the selected awards received by Chapman are, Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award, HOTA Gallery, 2022; Wollumbin Art Award, Tweed Regional Gallery, 2022; Byron Arts Magazine (BAM) Art Prize 2021 Finalist award.
Allen C. Jones Writer & Poet
Award-winning California poet and writer, Allen C. Jones is an Associate Professor of English Literature and Culture at University of Stavanger, Norway. As a writer, game developer, and scholar, he takes an interdisciplinary approach to literature. His digital work explores the usefulness of creative writing games that encourage users to experience (play and create) alternative and "non-linear" textual experiences, a goal that includes designing usefully creative user interfaces (metaphor mapping). His novel Her Death Was Also Water will be published in November 2022 by Midnight Sun. His experimental memoir-in-verse Son of a Cult, is forthcoming in 2023 from Kelsay Books.
Pandit Anand Thakore Poet & Vocalist
Born in Mumbai in 1971, Poet and Hindustani Khayal vocalist Pandit Anand Thakore, 'Sabadpiya', spent a part of his childhood in Britain and has lived in India since then. Elephant Bathing, Mughal Sequence and Waking in December are his three collections of verse. His poems and critical essays on music and poetry have appeared in leading national and international journals and anthologies. Anand Thakore is the author of a number of critical essays on music and poetry and a pamphlet of 'Khayal' lyrics in Hindi. He received training in Hindustani vocal music for many years from Pandit Satyasheel Deshpande, Ustad Aslam Khan and Pandit Baban Haldankar of the Agra Gharana. He has given vocal concerts at music festivals and read his poetry at literary festivals in various parts of the country. Thakore is the founder of Harbour Line, a publishing collective, and of Kshitij, an interactive forum for musicians. He lives in Mumbai, where he sings composes, writes and teaches Hindustani vocal music in the Guru-shishya tradition.
Amit Shankar Saha Writer & Poet
Amit Shankar Saha is an award-winning short story writer and poet. He is the author of three collections of poems and has co-edited a collection of short stories. He has been a delegate writer at literary events of Sahitya Akademi, Unmesha: International Literature Festival, Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, Ethos Literary Festival, Valley of Words, Yercaud Poetry Festival and Anantha - A Festival of Poetry. His works have appeared in numerous internationally acclaimed magazines, journals and anthologies and been included in Best Indian Poetry 2018, the Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English 2020 and 2021 and Converse: Contemporary English Poetry by Indians. He works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Seacom Skills University, Santiniketan, West Bengal.
Danish Sait Comedian
Danish Sait is an Indian Stand-up Comedian, Radio Host, TV Presenter, Actor and Writer. With over 32 million plays, his prank calls and 8 alter egos have reached people across the world. As a TV Presenter, Danish has hosted The Pro Kabaddi League - Seasons I and II, The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and The RCB Insider Series (IPL 2015). In 2018 Danish co-wrote and played the lead in the film Humble Politician Nograj. He received the Outlook Social Media Award for being the first person in the country to turn an internet-based character into full-fledged film role. His other movies include French Biryani (2020); One Cut Two Cut (2022) and 777 Charlie (2022). Danish is also the face of several digital campaigns including Taxi4Sure and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Irom Chanu Sharmila Activist & Poet
Irom Chanu Sharmila known as the 'Iron Lady of Manipur' is an Indian civil rights activist, and poet from the state of Manipur. On 5 November 2000, she began a hunger strike in favour of abolishing the dreaded Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 that applied to seven states in India and granted the Indian armed forces the power to search properties without a warrant, and to arrest people, and to use deadly force if there is "reasonable suspicion" that a person is acting against the state. She ended the fast on 9 August 2016, after 16 long years of fasting. Having refused food and water for more than 500 weeks (she was nasally force fed in jail), she has been called "the world's longest hunger striker". In 2013, Amnesty International declared her a Prisoner of conscience, and said she "is being held solely for a peaceful expression of her beliefs". Recognised as a civil and human rights icon across the world, Sharmila has won numerous peace and human rights awards including the South Korean Gwangju prize for human rights, the first Mayillama Award, a lifetime achievement award from the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Rabindranath Tagore Peace Prize and the Sarva Gunah Sampannah Award for Peace and Harmony. Sharmila lives in Bangalore with her husband and two children.
Dr Sally Breen Writer & Lecturer
Dr Sally Breen is an Australian writer and senior lecturer in Writing and Publishing at Griffith University. She is the author of The Casuals (2011) winner of the Harper Collins Varuna Manuscript Award and her novel Atomic City (2013) was shortlisted for the Queensland Literary Awards Book of the Year People’s Choice in 2014 . Her short form creative and non-fiction work has been published widely including features in Overland, Griffith REVIEW, Best Australian Stories, Asia Literary Review, Meniscus, TEXT, Review of Australian Fiction, The Guardian UK, The Age and the Australian. Sally is a regular contributor to The Conversation and is Executive Director of Asia Pacific Writers and Translators.
Sudeep Sen Author
Sudeep Sen’s prize-winning books include Postmarked India: New & Selected Poems (HarperCollins), Rain, Ladakh, Aria (A. K. Ramanujan Translation Award), The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry (editor), Fractals: New & Selected Poems, Translations 1980-2015 (London Magazine Editions), EroText (Vintage: Penguin Random House). He is the editorial director of AARK ARTS, editor of Atlas. Sen is the first Asian honoured to deliver the Derek Walcott Lecture and read his poetry at the Nobel Laureate Festival. The Government of India awarded him the senior fellowship for “outstanding persons in the field of culture/literature.”
Tom Doig Author & Journalist
Tom Doig is an award-winning creative non-fiction author, investigative journalist, editor and scholar born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand. He has authored two books, which are narrative journalism accounts of the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire: Hazelwood (2020) and The Coal Face (2015). Hazelwood was a finalist for the 2020 Walkley Book Award, Journalism and the 2021 Ned Kelly Awards, Best True Crime and Highly Commended in the 2020 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards, Non-Fiction. The Coal Face was a joint winner of the 2015 Oral History Victoria Education Innovation Award. He has also written a travel memoir titled Mörön to Mörön: Two men, two bikes, one Mongolian misadventure (2013). Tom’s non-fiction has been published in The Big Issue, Crikey, New Matilda, ACF’s Habitat magazine among other sites and magazines. His plays include Survival of the Prettiest (2004), The Badness Hour (2006), Hitlerhoff (2008), One-Arm and Three-Arms in the Swamp (2009) and Selling Ice to the Remains of the Eskimos (2010). Tom has performed in every State and Territory in Australia.
Vanessa Barrington Founder and Director of PR and branding firms
Vanessa Barrington is the founder and director of PR and branding firms, The Right Remark and The Book Doula. With over 18 years’ experience working across a range of industries, Vanessa enjoys elevating brands and creating meaningful connections through storytelling. She has worked across broad range of industries including financial services, energy, mining & utilities, healthcare, infrastructure, not for profit and government. Vanessa successfully led the change management and communications for the largest commercial acquisition in Australia during 2016 (State Grid Corporation of China V Jemena) and has worked on a range of major business transformations. She has previously led and facilitated media campaigns for multi-million-dollar events such as the Leukaemia Foundation’s World’s Greatest Shave, helped launch Brisbane’s first ever Brisbane Writer’s Fringe Festival, and continues to promote a range of lifestyle and community events and brands through The Right Remark.
Victor Mallet Journalist & Author
Victor Mallet is a journalist, editor, commentator and author with more than three decades of experience in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He is currently Paris bureau chief of the Financial Times. His previous posts include south Asia bureau chief in New Delhi, bureau chief in Madrid, Asia editor in Hong Kong, and Paris correspondent. In India, he was twice awarded the Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism as a foreign correspondent, first for a 2012 feature about the Rise of Narendra Modi and later for a weekend magazine cover story on the Ganges. His latest book is River of Life, River of Death: The Ganges and India’s Future (OUP, 2017) is a highly acclaimed book. Also, his highly praised book on the south-east Asian industrial revolution and the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis, The Trouble with Tigers (HarperCollins), was first published in 1999. In Hong Kong, he twice won the Society of Publishers in Asia (SoPA) award for opinion writing.
Vinita Agrawal Poet & Editor
Vinita Agrawal is an award-winning poet, editor and convenor of literary events in India. She has penned five books, including Twilight Language which bagged the winner of the Proverse Prize 2021. She is a joint Recipient of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2018 and winner of the Gayatri GaMarsh Memorial Award for Literary Excellence, USA, 2015. She is a Poetry Editor with Usawa Literary Review and has co-edited the Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English. Her work has been published in Indian Quarterly, Mascara Review, Zingara, Fox Chase Review, Indian Periodical, Asian Cha, Voice & Verse Poetry, among others. She co-curates an online series on poetry titled Ruminating Poetry. In 2020, she edited an anthology on climate change titled Open Your Eyes. She was also featured in a documentary Deepest Uprising, on twenty women poets from Asia.
Xavier Hennekinne Writer
Xavier Hennekinne is a French-Australian writer, publisher, and international aid and development professional. He is one of the co-founders of Sydney-based publisher Gazebo Books, which has been publishing works of literary fiction and non-fiction since 2018. His first novel Lost Words was published in 2019.He has also published essays and short stories in the Griffith Review, Kyoto Journal and Courant d’Ombres.
Devdutt Pattanaik Writer
Devdutt Pattanaik writes on the relevance of mythology in modern times, especially in areas of management, governance, and leadership. He defines mythology as cultural truths revealed through stories, symbols, and rituals.
He is the author of more than 50 books and over 1000 columns, with bestsellers such as My Gita, Jaya, Sita, Shyam, Business Sutra, and the 7 Secret Series. As a regular columnist, he writes for reputed newspapers like The Times of India and Dainik Bhaskar. Pattanaik is known for his TED talks and his shows on television. His TV shows include Business Sutra on CNBC-TV18, Devlok on Epic TV and Daan Sthapana on SonyLiv. He lectures on the relevance of both Indian and Western myths in modern life and has been part of several podcasts. He is a consultant for organisations, various television channels, film houses on culture, diversity, leadership and art of storytelling.
Geetanjali Shree Novelist & Writer
Geetanjali Shree is a renowned Hindi novelist and short-story writer based in New Delhi. She is the first South Asian to have received the prestigious International Booker Prize in 2022 for the English translation (Tomb of Sand) of her novel Ret Samadhi (pub. 2018). Described as ‘a triumph of literature’ Tomb of Sand is a family saga set in northern India that tells the story of an eighty-year-old woman who slips into a deep depression at the death of her husband, then resurfaces to gain a new lease on life.
Geetanjali completed her master's degree from Jawaharlal Nehru University and her PhD from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda on the Hindi writer Munshi Premchand. She began her career as an academic but soon turned to her passion of writing stories. She is the author of five collections of short stories and five novels. Her novels have been translated into many European languages. Her first novel Mai was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award in 2001 and its English translation by Nita Kumar, received the Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize. The novel was translated into several languages after the huge success of its English translation including Serbian and Korean. Her other novels are Khali Jagah, Hamara Shahar Us Baras, and Tirohit. Her Booker winning novel Ret Samadhi, has been translated into English by Daisy Rockwell as Tomb of Sand, and into French by Annie Montaut as Au-delà de la frontière. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Indu Sharma Katha Samman, the Hindi Akademy award for achievement in literature, and the prestigious Krishna Baldev Vaid award. She has also been associated with theatre, and written scripts for many plays over the years.
Ravi Shankar Author & Poet
Pushcart-prize winning poet, author, editor, translator, and professor, Ravi Shankar is the author and editor of over fifteen books and chapbooks of poetry, including the Muse India Award winning translations of 8th century Tamil poet/saint Autobiography of a Goddess, the National Poetry Review Prize winning Deepening Groove and the Carolina Wren judges award winning What Else Could it Be. Translated into over 12 languages, Shankar has held fellowships from the Jentel Foundation, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Blue Mountain Center and many others. He has been featured in The New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, BBC, NPR and the PBS Newshour. He is the Chairman of the Asia Pacific Writers & Translators Inc.
Rebecca Vedavathy Poet
Rebecca Vedavathy is a research scholar, poet and literature lover currently based in Hyderabad. She pursues research in Francophone Literature from EFLU, Hyderabad. She won the first prize for the Poetry with Prakriti Contest, 2016. She was shortlisted for the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize 2018 and has previously been longlisted (English Poetry) for the Toto Funds the Arts Awards. Her fiction has been published by the University of Edinburgh for their Dangerous Women Project. She has contributed poetry to the Sunflower Collective, Mascara Literary Review (Australia), Allegro Poetry Magazine (UK), Narrow Road Review.
Saeed Ibrahim Author & Writer
Bangalore-based writer, Saeed Ibrahim, is the author of two books - Twin Tales from Kutcch, a family saga set in colonial India, and the recently published - The Missing Tile and Other Stories, a collection of fifteen short stories reflecting on various aspects of human behaviour. Several of his short stories have been published in The Deccan Herald, The Beacon Webzine, Bengaluru Review, The Blue Lotus Magazine, Borderless Journal and Muse India. His other writings include newspaper articles, travel writing, book reviews and two essays for the Museum of Material Memory, a digital repository of stories linked to objects of material culture.
Sutirtha De Designer
Sutirtha De is a professional designer with a zeal to make ideas come into reality. He has 20+ years industry experience working across many Indian and International Brands for Design. Currently he is the Chief Design Consultant at Soft Lead Pencil and engages in both Design Consulting and teaching. He is also an educator, handling Calligraphy and Lettering Arts for Textile Design for Undergraduates and Postgraduates courses across various campuses, including NID Ahmedabad, NID MP, NID AP, NIFT Bengaluru, NIFT Patna, IIT Jammu, Pearl Bengaluru and also some private mentorships. He is currently working on shoe design, calligraphy and lettering arts and new ideas about products in apparels and accessories. He was associated with National Institute of Design (NID) as Associate Senior Designer & Faculty, and as Nodal Officer for “Innovation Centre for Natural Fibres” and was responsible to upgrade designs for exporters of India to boost awareness and utility of Jute Products globally on behalf of NID and Ministry of Textiles, Government of India. Mr De. was awarded the prestigious India Design Mark Award – 2017 for a tote bag made from jute that was displayed in major exhibitions.
Anna Solding Writer
Anna Solding is a writer, translator, editor and publisher. She earned a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide. Her novel The Hum of Concrete (2010) was nominated for six awards, including the Commonwealth Book Prize. She is the founder and managing director of Midnight Sun Publishing, an Adelaide based publishing company, and the co-founder and co-director of The Australian Short Story Festival. Midnight Sun’s picture books have received high praise from reviewers for their innovative style and content. Anna is passionate about unearthing new Australian talent.
Anjana Menon Journalist
Anjana Menon thrived as a business journalist working in multiple markets including Singapore and London with Bloomberg News, breaking some of the biggest business stories for the Newswire. She returned to India as one of the founder-editors of the award-winning newspaper Mint and then ran the business news channel for NDTV networks before setting up her own content strategy consultancy Content Pixies. She has published with both Penguin Random House and HarperCollins. Her Onam in a Nightie: Stories from a Kerala Quarantine was a bestseller on The New Indian Express books list, a must read on Scroll.com’s list and No.1 bestseller on Amazon.in, in the travel and humour sections. The book has gone into its second reprint. She is a widely published columnist and her writing appears in the edit pages of The Economic Times. Anjana divides her time between Delhi and London.
Anita Thomas Author & Writer
Anita Thomas is a Singapore-based media producer/consultant whose work embraces film, the web, copy, writing and photography. Her first book, Senserly, Amako -- a journal-memoir she wrote and illustrated -, was launched in January 2018 at the ASEAN INDIA PBD Writer’s Festival in Singapore. Her second book, the art-poetry collaboration Camera & Quill, was published in January 2021 and was featured in the 2021 Jaipur Literature Festival in India. Her forthcoming book Coda: His Final Solo will be published in the 2022 anthology ACE III: Arresting Contemporary Stories by Emerging Writers (Recent Work Press) supported by the Australasian Association of Writing Programs and the Australian Short Story Festival. She is also the co-founder & Creative Director of SingaporeforKids Pte. Ltd a website crafted around the importance of making informed choices. She has worked in India, Indonesia and Singapore in advertising, film production, web design and as a consultant writer for corporates and non-profit organisations.
Anitha Devi Pillai Author & Poet
Anitha Devi Pillai (Ph.D.) is an applied linguist, author, translator, and poet. She has published both academic and creative work. She teaches a variety of writing courses at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, including creative writing, writing pedagogy and academic writing. She is best known for her award-winning research on the Malayalee community in Singapore which was supported by a grant from the National Heritage Board, Singapore. Many of her poems as well as short stories have made their way into the classrooms in Singapore, India, Australia, and the Philippines. Her work generally explores themes such as identity, heritage, and culture. Amongst other roles, Anitha is also the President of the Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics and Co-Director of the ‘16th International Conference on the Short Story in English’ editor of special issue of SARE journal, and a fiction editor at PR&TA journal.
Dr. Annapurna Devi Pandey Author
Dr. Annapurna Devi Pandey teaches cultural anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She holds a PhD in sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University and a post-doctorate in social anthropology from Cambridge, UK. Her research interests are Indigenous women’s movements in Odisha and immigrant women’s religious identity-making in the Diaspora in California. Annapurna Pandey is the author of numerous publications on Indigenous women’s activism, entrepreneurship, and empowerment in India and the Indian diaspora. Dr. Pandey recently completed a senior Fulbright US Scholarship working in India. She is an accomplished filmmaker (Homeland in the Heart; The Myth of Buddha’s Birthplace (with Prof. James Freeman) and most recently, Road to Zuni, which has received multiple national and international awards.
Arindam Roy Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Arindam Roy has over four decades of experience in various newsrooms. He was a former publishing director and is the founder and editor-in-chief of Different Truths and KKPC, the publishing wing; he held senior positions in several media houses. He worked with eminent editors in his formative years in Mumbai: Rajmohan Gandhi (Himmat), Krishna Raj (Economic and Political Weekly), and Pritish Nandy (TOI). He co-authored ten chapters in six Coffee Table Books (CTBs) of national and international repute. Of these, one was published in Milan, Italy; another was a Marg publication (Mumbai), and the Times Group published two. He is the sole author of four forthcoming CTBs (Times Group initiatives). He translated the writings of a social scientist, Dr Badri Narayan, published as books by Sage and OUP. Widely anthologised, he has published three anthologies as publisher-editor, while three other anthologies are in the pipeline. He lectured and held workshops at various mass communication colleges, including Symbiosis, Pune, Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, Allahabad, Allahabad University, Jaipuria Institute, Lucknow, etc. He is a co-author of a novel, Rivers Run Back.
Ashwani Kumar Poet & Author
Ashwani Kumar is a poet, author and professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences-Mumbai. Widely published, anthologised and translated into several Indian languages, his major poetry volumes include My Grandfather’s Imaginary Typewriter and Banaras and the Other. Recently, a collection of his selected poems titled Architecture of Alphabets has been published in Hungarian. He is author of the acclaimed nonfiction Community Warriors (Anthem Press) and one of the chief editors of Global Civil Society at London School of Economics. He has served as the jury of fiction for Tata Literature Live 2020 and also co-founder of Indian Novels Collective, an initiative to popularise translation of classic novels of Indian languages. In leisure, he writes a book column in the Financial Express.
Gillian Hagenus Writer & Editor
Gillian Hagenus is an emerging writer and editor living and working on Kaurna land in South Australia. Her short fiction has been published or is forthcoming in Australian literary journals Voiceworks, SWAMP, and The Social Alternatives, and is forthcoming overseas in The Antigonish Review. She is currently a Masters of Philosophy candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide where her thesis works to relocate the Australian Gothic into the suburbs, seeking to provide a critical and creative definition of an emerging Australian Suburban Gothic aesthetic. In 2021 Gillian was part of the organising committee for The Australian Short Story Festival. She works part time as an editor at MidnightSun Publishing.
Aftab Yusuf Shaikh Writer
Aftab Yusuf Shaikh started writing at the age of eight and has since written over two hundred poems. He writes in English and Urdu. Aftab earned his Bachelor of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees in Christian Studies from the International Institute of Church Management, Chennai and a Bachelors in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Mumbai and a Masters in English from Alagappa University. His poems have been featured in international publications like Muse India, The Istanbul Literary Review, The Barefoot Review, The Enchanting Verse Literary Review, Emerge Literary Review, Time Vision, Time Mastermind, Kritya Poetry Journal, and Frogpond: The Journal of the Haiku Society of America, He has published four booklets of poetry namely 'Poem Twenty Ten,' 'Emma', 'Daddy and Ibrahim' and 'Bachelor of Arts and two volumes of poetry ', namely Tehzeeb Talkies and Mominpura. Aftab was shortlisted for the International Capoliveri Haiku Prize 2013 by the Capoliveri Commune, Italy; nominated for the Poem of the Year Award 2016 instituted by SalisOnline Magazine and shortlisted twice for the WordWeavers Short Story Prize in 2018 and 2019. He gained third position in the WordWeavers Haiku Prize 2019. His first novel The Library Girl was published in 2017 for which he was adjudged the Ne8x Author of the Year 2019. In 2019, The Karadi Tales Company, Chennai, published his first picture book for children titled Letters To Ammi as a part of their Cities Series which was shortlisted for the prestigious Neev Book Award 2020.
Antony Dapiran Writer
Antony Dapiran is a Hong Kong-based writer and lawyer, and the author of two books, including City on Fire: The Fight for Hong Kong which was long-listed for the Walkley Book Award (2020). His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, New Statesman, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, South China Morning Post and elsewhere. He is a regular commentator on television and radio, including BBC, CNN, CNBC and Australia's ABC.
Benjo Kazue Writer & Journalist
Benjo Kazue is a beatnik writer and music journalist. He experiments with various forms of new journalism including, pop journalism, travel journalism, music criticism and creative nonfiction with a potent combination of sensorial force, vivid language, and philosophical meandering style. His creative nonfiction, journalism and music criticism has been published in journals, on websites and in magazines, for about a decade now. He started Noise Magazine, a two-year DIY street press project and currently creates and curates Cosmic Phallusy, a handmade self published serial zine about the meaning of life.
Bitan Chakraborty Poet & Writer
Bitan Chakraborty is a poet, novelist, short story writer and has over twelve long years of experience as part of Theater. He has authored eight books: Avinetar Journal (prose), Santiram-er Cha (shorty story), Sharanarthi (Bengali rendering of Kiriti Sengupta's Reflections on Salvation), Chinha (shorty story), Haat Kata (novelette), Dhasa (novelette), Brishti Sahay (Bengali translation of Sanjeev Sethi's selected poems), and Landmark (short story). Bitan has received much critical acclaim both in India and overseas. Bougainvillea and Other Stories, The Mark, and Redundant are the three volumes of his short fiction, translated into English. Bitan is the founder-director of Hawakal, India’s leading independent press with two functional ateliers in New Delhi and Calcutta. Hawakal, a bilingual publishing press, promotes both new talents and hosts established poets and writers.
Dipika Mukherjee Author
Dipika Mukherjee is the author of the novels Shambala Junction and Ode to Broken Things and the story collection Rules of Desire. Her work is included in The Best Small Fictions 2019 and appears in World Literature Today, Asia Literary Review, Del Sol Review, and Chicago Quarterly Review, Newsweek, Los Angeles Review of Books, Hemispheres, Orion, Scroll, The Edge and more. Her third poetry collection, Dialect of Distant Harbors was released by CavanKerry Press in October 2022 and a collection of travel essays, writers postcards, has been accepted for publication by Penguin Random House (SEA) for 2023. She is a contributing editor for Jaggery and teaches at StoryStudio Chicago and at the Graham School at University of Chicago. She holds a PhD in English (Sociolinguistics) from Texas A&M University. She is the recipient of a 2022 Esteemed Artist Award (DCASE) from the City of Chicago.
Dr. Divya Joshi Writer
Dr. Divya Joshi is a creative writer, translator, social activist and has been teaching English for the last three decades. Her areas of research include Indian aesthetics, philosophy and cultural translation. She is the editor of Interrogating Terrorism: Role of Media and Literature (2017), Indian Writing in English: An Anthology of Poetry (2015), Texts in Translation (2014) and Wavelengths of Accord (2013). She has travelled to Turkey, Germany, Dubai, Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal and China to deliver invited talks. She has presented papers and delivered invited talks in international and national conferences. She is on the advisory board of prestigious journals. Dr. Joshi has completed one Minor Project (UGC) on translation and one Major Project (UGC) on travel writing. Her research papers, short stories and poems have been published in prominent journals and anthologies. She has published two poetry collections ‘Dance of Life’ and ‘Matryoshka’.
Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla Poet
Gayatri Lakhiani Chawla is an award-winning poet, translator and French teacher from Mumbai. Her poems are featured in the anthology Modern English Poetry by Younger Indians published by Sahitya Akademi, Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English and The Kali Project. Her poem 'Anagram' won the 2013 Commendation Prize at The All India Poetry Competition (New Delhi). She is the author of two poetry collections – Invisible Eye longlisted for Cochin Lit Fest Poetry Prize 2018 and The Empress winner of the 2018 US National Poetry Contest by Ræd Leaf Foundation for Poetry & Allied Arts. Accolades for her poetry include the Panorama Special Jury Award at the Panorama International Literary Awards 2020 and being shortlisted by Asia Pacific Writers and Translators in collaboration with Joao-Roque Literary Journal June 2020. She is the recipient of the Rahi Kadam Inspiration Award 2021. She is also the author of Healing Elixir the Hawakal Handbook of Angel Therapy, Numerology & Remedies. Her co-translations of Sachal Sarmast’s Sufi poetry are being published by Om Books International in a forthcoming volume.
Helder Beja Writer & Reporter
Hélder Beja is a Portuguese writer, reporter and arts curator. He co-founded the Macau Literary Festival in 2012, acting as its programme director until 2018. He won a prize for Best Short Story in a Macau Daily Times competition in 2012, with ‘Slow Fire’. His first film Once Upon a Time in Ka Ho premiered the same year. Hélder is preparing his second film, an archive-film using footage of movies made by Portuguese filmmakers in Macau and other Asian territories (Goa, East Timor) since the 1930s drawing from his masters degree in visual anthropology. He co-wrote a feature film and TV series titled Projecto Global scheduled to be released internationally in 2024. He contributes for several publications, writing about Asia-related topics. Helder is also the co-coordinator of the Asia Pacific Writers & Translators annual conference.
Helen Burns Author & Poet
Helen Burns is a poet, translator and author. Andal’s Garland a debut novel (2021) is her second major publication. It’s a story steeped in the mythical lore of Tamil Nadu; an ancient and contemporary tale of two women and the transformative power of love. The companion volume, created in collaboration with photographer Alison Taylor, contains Helen’s interpretive translations of eighth century songs composed by the poet/goddess Andal. Helen’s long standing affinity with India began while pursuing Asian studies, majoring in Hindi, at Australian National University from 1975-1978. Travel continues to fuel her writing life – from encounters with siddhars and teachers, qawwalis in Rajasthan and the midnight dance-divinations of Tamil Araiyers, to silent meditation retreats in Australia and Myanmar. She is the recipient of residencies with Varuna, Australia’s National Writers House, Byron Bay Writers Festival and Queensland Writers Centre/Hachette. Helen divides her time between Australia and India.
Inderjeet Mani Writer
Inderjeet Mani is a writer and scientist based in Thailand. He is the award-winning author of the thriller Toxic Spirits (2019), widely praised for its beautiful writing and terrifying story. He has previously published nearly three dozen short stories and essays, in addition to six scholarly books. Mani studied fiction writing at Penn (with Carlos Fuentes) and at Harvard, and was an associate professor at Georgetown, a senior director at Yahoo and a visiting fellow at Cambridge. He has authored six non-fiction books including Toxic Spirits and the modern bildungsroman The Conquest of Kailash (forthcoming). Mani’s stories, essays, book reviews, and translations have appeared in 3:AM Magazine, Aeon, Apple Valley Review, Drunken Boat, Eclectica, Future Library: Contemporary Indian Writing, New World Writing, PANK, Slow Trains, The Hindu, The Deccan Herald and other venues.
Jennifer Mackenzie Poet
Jennifer Mackenzie is a poet and reviewer, focusing on writing from and about the Asian region. She particularly likes to review work featuring a continental sense of poetics or literary rationale and is also drawn to environmental and political themes. Since the publication of Borobudur (2009) she has presented her work at a number of conferences and festivals, including the Ubud, Irrawaddy and Makassar festivals. She has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the Marten Bequest Poetry Scholarship and the Felix Meyer travelling scholarship from the University of Melbourne. Her poetry and criticism have been published widely, most recently in Literary Shanghai, Cordite Poetry Review, Sydney Review of Books, Cha, enchanting verses and Mascara Literary Review among others. Although mainly focused with Indonesia, she also worked in China for three years and in 2016 enjoyed a writing residency at Seoul Artspace, Yeonhui. She also works as an occasional editor for The Lontar Foundation in Jakarta. Her most recent book Navigable Ink (2020) is a homage to the Indonesian writer, Pramoedya Ananta Toer.
Kiriti Sengupta Poet
Kiriti Sengupta, the 2018 Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize recipient, has poems published in The Common, The Florida Review Online, Headway Quarterly, The Lake, Amethyst Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Otoliths, Outlook, Madras Courier and elsewhere. He has authored eleven books of poetry and prose; two books of translation and edited eight anthologies. Sengupta is the founder and chief editor of the Ethos Literary Journal. He lives in New Delhi.
Linh Dinh is the author of a non-fiction book, Postcards from the End of America (2017), a novel, Love Like Hate (2010), two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), and six collections of poems. He's been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. He's also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). His writing has been translated into many languages.
Jhilam Chattaraj Poet
Jhilam Chattaraj is an academic and poet based in Hyderabad, India. She has authored the books, Noise Cancellation (poetry), Corporate Fiction: Popular Culture and the New Writers (prose) and When Lovers Leave and Poetry Stays (poetry). Her works have been published at Ariel, Colorado Review, World Literature Today, Room, Porridge, Not Very Quiet, Queen Mob’s Tea House and Asian Cha among others. She received the CTI Excellence Award in Literature and Soft Skills Development 2019 from the Council for Transforming India and the Department of Language and Culture, Government of Telangana, India.
Lizzie Packer Poet
Lizzie Packer is an emerging poet. Based where the sun sets over the sea, on the southern edge of Adelaide, Australia, she is inspired by nature and the liminal and numinous aspects of life. She loves to travel. An experienced freelance writer and editor, Lizzie led the online creative writing program and teaching and learning resource development at Adelaide College of the Arts for over a decade, from late 2007 until it was closed in 2019. She developed and implemented the writing stream in the Flinders University Bachelor of Communication and Professional Writing. She has degrees in Professional Writing, and Visual Art and Applied Design, a Graduate Diploma in Distance Education, and a Master of Arts in Gastronomy.
Joe Milan Jr. Author
Joe Milan Jr. is a Korean American author of the upcoming novel The All-American (2023) and was the 2019-20 David T.K. Wong Creative Writing Fellow at the University of East Anglia. In addition, he was a Barrick Graduate Fellow and BMI Ph.D. Fellow at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. His work has appeared in The Rumpus, Broad Street, F(r)iction, The Kyoto Journal, and others. He is now an assistant professor of creative writing at Waldorf University in Iowa.
Jose Varghese Writer & Editor
Jose Varghese is a writer, editor, translator, and artist from India who teaches English at Jazan University, KSA. He worked previously at SH College, Thevara, and is the founder and chief editor of Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts. He is also the chief editor of Strands Publishers and judges the Strands International Short Story Prize. His first book, "Silver Painted Gandhi and Other Poems" was listed in Grace Cavalieri's Best Reading for Fall 2009, Montserrat Review. His poems and short stories have appeared in journals/anthologies such as The Salt Anthology of New Writing 2013 (UK), Unthology (UK), 10RED (UK), Into The Void (UK), The River Muse (USA), Chandrabhaga (India), Kavya Bharati (India), Postcolonial Text (Canada), Muse India (India), Re-Markings (India), Dusun (Malaysia), The Four Quarters Magazine (India) and On Viewless Wings vol.1, 2 and 3 (California). He was the winner of The River Muse 2013 Spring Poetry Contest, USA, a finalist in The Beverly International Prize, UK, for his short fiction manuscript, shortlisted twice in the Eyewear Fortnight Poetry Prize, a runner up in the Salt Flash Fiction Prize 2013, UK, a second prize winner in the Wordweavers Flash Fiction Prize 2012 and his poem was commended in Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Prize 2014. . His collection of short stories In/Sane was a finalist in the 2018 Beverly International Prize. He has done research in Post-Colonial Fiction and is currently working on Hanif Kureishi's works of fiction.
Menka Shivdasani Writer & Poet
Menka Shivdasani is a Mumbai based writer who has four poetry collections. She is co-translator of Freedom and Fissures an anthology of Sindhi Partition poetry (1998) and editor of a SPARROW anthology of women’s writing. Menka has edited two poetry anthologies for the American e-zine, www.bigbridge.org, and bilingual poetry collections by the Sindhi writer Mohan Gehani. A widely published poet, Menka has received the Ethos Literary Award 2019, WE Eunice de Souza Award 2020 and Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize recognition for Frazil. Her work has been represented in a University of Mumbai textbook and her poem, based on a Sindhi folktale, has been made into a short film by Susheel Gajwani. Menka co-founded the Poetry Circle in Bombay in 1986. She has been organising poetry festivals since 2011 for the global movement 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Her work as a journalist includes eighteen books with Raju Kane, three of which were released by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Neeta Gupta Editor
Neeta Gupta has been working towards creating publishing connectivity across different languages and cultures for over two decades. She is the co-Founder of the Publishers’ Exchange, a group of Indian language publishers formed during the pandemic to facilitate a sharing of ideas and resources. She is also the chief editor of Anuvad, the Bhartiya Anuvad Parishad’s quarterly journal on translation. She was formerly the publisher at Yatra Books and is now the publishing director at Tethys Books. Neeta Gupta has edited a volume of essays on translating from and into Indian languages, titled Translating Bharat, Reading India.
Dean Kerrison Writer
Dean Kerrison writes creative nonfiction and some fiction, usually on the dis/connection of outsiders in foreign environments with international relations contexts. His short form work has appeared in TEXT Journal, Meniscus, The Bangalore Review, Joao Roque Literary Journal, The In/completeness Book II, Live Encounters, Usawa Literary Journal, Ace Anthology III, The Lit Quarterly, Talent Implied - New Writing from Griffith and Allegory Ridge among others. He is currently living in Tbilisi, Georgia and working on a travel memoir, as well as a novel as part of a PhD at Griffith University, Australia.
Deedle Rodriguez Tomlinson Poet & Writer
Deedle Rodriguez Tomlinson is a poet and writer born and raised in the Philippines. Her work has appeared in The Incompleteness Book and The Incompleteness Book II by the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) on life during and after the Covid-19 lockdown and in the Science/Art Network. Her poems appear in Under The Storm: An Anthology of Contemporary Philippine Poetry, Wonderlust Travel, Live Encounter, the literary issue of Silliman University Journal as well as Tomas, the University of Santo Tomas literary journal. Her first short story, touching on Philippine mythology, was published in Mom Egg Review. She is project manager for New York Writers Workshop and currently lives in Brooklyn.
Dhiman Sengupta Artist
Dhiman Sengupta graduated from the National Institute of Design (NID), India in 1999 in the stream of Animation Film Design. He has worked in Mumbai and Delhi for a decade, in the areas of e-learning, broadcast and motion graphics and visual effects. He has been teaching for the last thirteen years in the animation film design department at NID, Ahmedabad, of which he has been the discipline lead for the last eight years. He is also the co-head of the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at NID. Dhiman is an artist, he loves drawing from life, his favourite subjects are people, animals, spaces, nature and architecture. He had his first solo art exhibition titled Captured in Ink—an Exhibition of Sketches of Places and People of Ahmedabad at Alliance Francaise d’Ahmedabad in June, 2022.
Malachi Edwin Vethamani Poet & Writer
Malachi Edwin Vethamani is a poet, writer, editor, critic, bibliographer and Emeritus Professor. His poetry publications include Love and Loss (2022), Life Happens (2017) and Complicated Lives (2016). He recently published a collection of poems for young Malaysian readers titled The Seven O’clock Tree (2022). He has a collection of short stories titled Coitus Interruptus and Other Stories (2018). He has edited several volumes of Malaysian writings in English. They include In-Sights: Malaysian Poems (2004), Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems (2018), Ronggeng-Ronggeng: Malaysian Short Stories (2020), Malaysian Millennial Voices (2021) and The Year of the Rat and Other Poems (2022). The Malaysian Publishers Association awarded Malchin Testament: Malaysian Poems the Anugerah Buku Malaysia 2020, Best Book Award for the English Language category. He is the founding editor of Men Matters Online Journal.
Fletcher Babb Writer
Fletcher Babb who prefers the moniker Cold Ghost is an Australian storyteller, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and sound designer. He is the creator, curator and composer for the successful stage show Stories in the Key of GC. Inspired by popular live storytelling events such as The Moth, Stories in the Key of GC he marries spoken word with music and sound to explore rich local narratives of the city of the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. As an independent songwriter and producer, Cold Ghost’s latest album Dominoes was a finalist for Release of the Year in the 2022 Gold Coast Music Awards.
Mani Rao Author
Mani Rao is the author of twelve poetry books and three books in translation from Sanskrit including Saundarya Lahari (Beauty, A Wave) about the primordial goddess Shakti (2022). She has published in journals and anthologies including Meanjin, Asia Literary Review, Takahe, Printout, Wasafiri, Poetry Magazine, Fulcrum, WestCoastLine, Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets and Penguin Book of the Prose Poem. Mani held writing residencies at Iowa International Writing Program, Omi Ledig House and IPSI Canberra. She performed at such festivals as NY PEN World Voices, The Age Melbourne Writers’ Festival and Hong Kong International Literary Festival. After working in advertising and television in India, Hong Kong and New Zealand for twenty years, she turned to writing and did an MFA in Creative Writing from UNLV and a PhD in Religious Studies from Duke University. She returned to India in 2017 and now lives in Bangalore.
Sanchit Toor recently graduated with a master’s degree with a concentration in South Asian literature from the Department of English at Ashoka University. An alumnus of the Young India Fellowship programme and with a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience, he is broadly interested in the questions of language, orality, religion, translation, and performance. Sanchit has been working on various literary and ethnographic projects. As a Sahapedia-UNESCO Fellow 2020, he documented the oral-performative and devotional tradition of Haryanvi farmer women and has presented his work on both early modern and modern texts-contexts on various platforms. In the past, he has volunteered or worked with LILA Foundation for Translocal Initiatives, Devi Art Foundation, Project Dastaan, India Art Fair, LOKA International, and Ashoka University, among others, in various capacities.
Sara F. Costa Poet
Sara F. Costa is a Portuguese poet who has won several literary prizes in Portugal. She has published five books and has a degree in Oriental Languages and Cultures and an MA in Intercultural Studies: Portuguese/Chinese from Minho University, Portugal, and Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China. In 2017, she was an invited author of the International Istanbul Poetry Festival in 2017 and in 2018 she worked with The Script Road-Macau Literary Festival and the China-European Union Literary Festival in Shanghai and Suzhou. Her works have been translated and featured in Literary Journals and Magazines all across the world from Brazil do China. In 2021 she received a national grant from the Portuguese Government to write a poetry book. River-Being, Bodily God is her first poetry book translated into English, published in India by Red River to be launched at APWT 2022 Bangalore. She is currently living in Beijing and coordinates writing and reading events with a Beijing-based arts collective called Spittoon.
Marshall E Gass Author
Marshall E Gass has published twenty-four books and translated French, Spanish, Tagalog, Hindi, Tamil and Chinese. Besides being a writer, he is also a businessman, academic, and educationalist working with disadvantaged teenagers. From early schooling, he enjoyed writing and has published extensively across a wide range of topics, ranging from Religion, Philosophy, Business Management, and dozens of articles on education and research. He is proud of his Anglo-Indian beginnings and draws extensively from these cross-cultural roots. He is also active on social media with thirteen million followers on Quora, Facebook and Twitter. His focus now is to concentrate on novels, both fiction and non-fiction, and poetry.
Gopika Nath Writer
Gopika Nath is a fibre artist, textile designer, writer and teacher whose work spans many genres. Her talent and expertise have been successfully employed by the Corporate Sector, the Handloom Industry, Retail Organizations, Fashion Designers, Exporters and Educational Institutes. She has been a trail blazer who initiated the ‘Art for Wear’ movement in India in the early 1990’s with her range of exclusive hand-painted sarees and scarves. She has also worked with leading Fashion Designers, creating speciality fabrics for Rohit Bal, Rina Dhaka, Gitanjali Kashyap and Ashish Soni, among others. Ms. Nath has considerable experience in working with crafts people in the rural sector. Working with various agencies under the aegis of the Ministry of Textiles, and private organizations, she has undertaken projects for design and development of various traditional Indian fabrics. Teaching has been integral to her art-practice from the commencement of her career. In addition to teaching traditional subjects relating to design, she has designed and taught design sensitization programmes for management professionals and conducts workshops using textiles/embroidery as a tool, bringing forth ancient ideals of hand-crafting into the contemporary environment, to help alleviate stress, enhance creativity and develop leadership qualities. Gopika is also an art critic and writer of Creative Non-fiction and Poetry. She has been a Fulbright Scholar and an alumnus of Central St. Martins, London, U.K, and currently lives and works in Goa, India.
Jake Sandtnerr Writer
Jake Sandtner is a creative writer, graphic designer, and experienced marketing professional. He is currently completing a PhD at Griffith University (Gold Coast) and is the Marketing Manager at Silk Laundry. He has 7 years of experience working in fashion — notably surf and, more recently, luxury. He has also worked as a journalist, product designer, and digital/social media strategist. In 2016 he started his own magazine called Us Wayfarers, which he ran for almost 2 years. His creative memoir about Australian surfer Taj Burrow titled ‘Lines to the Horizon: Australian surf writing’ was published by Fremantle Press in April 2021.
Joey Baquiran Writer
Joey Baquiran teaches literature and creative writing at the University of the Philippines. He has published several books including Meaning (2015), Desire (2017), Aishite Imasu (2021) and Bone Deep (2022). He is a recipient of the Pambansang Gawad ni Balagtas, awarded by the Writers Union of the Philippines and the 2011 South East Asia Writers Prize, Bangkok Thailand. He has previously taught Tagalog language as a visiting professor at the Osaka University from 2014-2017.
Tim Tomlinson Writer & Author
Tim Tomlinson is a co-founder of the New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. He is the author of the chapbook Yolanda: An Oral History in Verse, the poetry collection Requiem for the Tree Fort I Set on Fire, and a collection of short fiction, This Is Not Happening to You.
He is a Professor of Writing at New York University’s Global Liberal Studies Program. He’s an avid scuba diver with over three hundred logged dives, and a 200-hr Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor.
Vikram Sridhar Story Teller
Vikram Sridhar is a performance storyteller and theatre practitioner combining his various interests and work over twenty plus years in theatre, conservation and social work. Based in Bangalore and Chennai, he has spoken at multiple events on the power of stories and theatre, like the TEDx and quoted in various media. He has extensively travelled the country performing and speaking at public spaces, community libraries, schools, corporates, business conferences, literary & cultural festivals for children and adults. With an engineering and management degree from institutes like the IIT, Vikram moved on to be a full time arts practitioner after working in the consulting and marketing domains with IBM and SAP. He believes in the Desi way of storytelling as a strong medium of conservation of nature and of human relationships with the natural world, as his stories are rooted in folklore, myths and legends inspired from various communities of the soil. He strongly believes that a story, and not an apple, a day keeps the doctor away.
Mihir Vatsa Author
Mihir Vatsa is the author of the critically acclaimed travel memoir Tales of Hazaribagh: An Intimate Exploration of Chhotanagpur Plateau (2021) for which he was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar. He is also the winner of the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize, a Toto Funds the Arts award in Writing, and the Charles Wallace Creative Writing Fellowship at the University of Stirling, UK. A widely published poet and literature scholar by training, he is presently a doctoral fellow at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
Five-time Pushcart Prize nominee Suzanne Kamata is the author of the award-winning novel The Baseball Widow (2022), the memoir, Squeaky Wheels: Travels with My Daughter by Train, Plane, Metro, Tuk-tuk and Wheelchair (2019); the novels Indigo Girl ( 2019), The Mermaids of Lake Michigan (2017), Screaming Divas (2014), Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible (2013) and Losing Kei (2008); and the editor of three anthologies - The Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan, Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs, and Call Me Okaasan: Adventures in Multicultural Mothering (2009). Her short fiction and essays have appeared widely including in Meridian: The APWT Drunken Boat Anthology of New Writing and the 2022 edition of The Best Asian Short Stories. She was a winner in the memoir category of the Half the World Global Literati Award. She is an associate professor in the department of Global Studies at Naruto University of Education and serves as fiction editor of Kyoto Journal.
Jayapriya Vasudevan Writer
Jayapriya Vasudevan has over twenty years experience of working in publishing, during which time she has worked on several aspects of publishing – from editing to sales and distribution. Spotting a gap in the market, she and a partner set up India’s first bookstore cafe in Bangalore. In 1997 Jayapriya founded Books@Jacaranda literary agency. Under her leadership Jacaranda has continued to grow its diverse list of authors. Jayapriya has spoken at literary festivals all over Asia, from Istanbul and India to Manila and Singapore and further afield in London and Frankfurt. Jacaranda represents Tiffany Tsao, Shabnam Nadiya, FH Batacan, Criselda Yabes, Laksmi Pamuntjak, Dee Lestari, Krishna Udayasankar, Lisa Ray and Nisha Susan amongst others.
Ma Jian Author
Award Winning Dissident Chinese Author Ma Jian was born in the Chinese city of Qingdao in 1953. He started his career on a more traditional path, at a petrochemical plant in Beijing, before deciding to become a photojournalist. In the 1980s, he began hanging out in the Chinese capital’s underground literary and art scene and took up painting again—a childhood love that was interrupted by the Cultural Revolution. He also started writing. His first book, 1988’s Stick Out Your Tongue inspired by his travels in Tibet, thrust him onto the world stage and caught the attention of Chinese censors. All copies of the book were destroyed. Since then, none of his books have been allowed to be published in China. His 2009 novel Beijing Coma told the story of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 from the point of view of the fictional Dai Wei, a participant in the events left in a coma by the violent end of the protests. Described by the Financial Times as ‘an epic yet intimate work that deserves to be recognised and to endure as the great Tiananmen novel’. His latest work is without a doubt, another political statement. China Dream – a phrase borrowed directly from Xi who commonly uses it to describe a ‘great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation’ is a scathing, dystopian novel that follows a fictional Chinese provincial leader as he works to replace people’s dreams with government propaganda. A fierce proponent of free speech and artistic freedom Ma refuses to stand down and told Time Magazine in 2019 ‘I have never allowed myself to not write something for fear of consequences; that would be the death of literature in my mind.’
Mystik Vibes Performers
Mystik Vibes is a cross-cultural collective from India — a musical collaboration between Hindustani tabla player/percussionist Muthu Kumar, Carnatic flautist Amith Nadig, jazz pianist/electronic keyboardist Aman Mahajan and French electric bass player Mishko M'ba. The band's sound, though rooted in Indian tradition, is tinged with cultural and contemporary musical influences from around the world.
Roland B. Tolentino Author
Rolando B. Tolentino is Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication and faculty of the University of the Philippines Film Institute. He has taught at Osaka University and the National University of Singapore, has been a Distinguished Visitor at the University of California, Berkeley, and at the University of California, Los Angeles Southeast Asian Studies Consortium, and a recipient of the Obermann Summer Research Fellowship. He is the author of National/Transnational: Subject Formation and Media in and on the Philippines (Ateneo University Press, 2001), and the editor of positions’ special issue “Vaginal Economy: Cinema and Sexuality in the Post-Marcos Post-Brocka Philippines” ( 2011), and Geopolitics of the Visible: Essays on Philippine Film Cultures (Ateneo University Press, 2002). He is a member of the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino (Filipino Film Critics Group) and chairs the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND-UP).
Shinie Antony Writer & Novelist
Shinie Antony is a popular short-fiction writer and novelist. She has authored the short-story collections ‘The Orphanage for Words, Barefoot and Pregnant’ and the novels When Mira Went Forth and Multiplied, A Kingdom for His Love and has compiled the anthology ‘Why We Don’t Talk’. She is also the co-founder of the Bangalore Literature Festival and festival director of the Bengaluru Poetry Festival. Shinie Antony won the Commonwealth Short Story Asia region prize for her story ‘A Dog’s Death’ in 2003.
Somali Panda Author
Somali Panda is a neo-Classical Musician, independent researcher, Silk Route Culture explorer and writes on numerous aspects of human migration since the early days of civilizations, migration of musical notes with them, and on tracing the journey by this musical note to find out neighbours worldwide, in search of harmony and peace in turn. All these merged in Somali’s music to evolve a nascent, neo-classical genre, Migrating Music. She has one book to her credit in vernacular on music, the celestial light Amartyer Alor Ishara. She performs Indian Classical Music, Trance Music, Psychedelic Music, Diaspora Music and is the founder of INDUS BAND in December 2017 based on her own research work on #MigratingMusic. INDUS is a two-member cross-border band with her own tenor voice, and a Bass player from Bangladesh, MF Hossain.
Somrita Urni Ganguly Poet
Somrita Urni Ganguly is an Indian professor, award-winning poet and literary translator. She was a Fulbright Doctoral Research Fellow at Brown University, USA and is an alumna of the University of East Anglia’s International Literary Translation and Creative Writing Summer School. Somrita served as a judge for the 2021 PEN America Translation Prize and is currently Head of the Department of English, Maharaja Manindra Chandra College, University of Calcutta. Somrita is the editor of the first anthology of food poems, Quesadilla and Other Adventures (2019) and has translated Firesongs (2019) Shakuni: Master of the Game (2019) and The Midnight Sun: Love Lyrics and Farewell Songs (2018) among other works. Somrita was selected by the National Centre for Writing, UK, as an emerging translator in 2016. In 2017, she was invited as translator-in-residence at Cove Park, Scotland and as poet-in-residence at Arcs of a Circle, Mumbai, an artistes’ residency organized by the US Consulate. Somrita has been published in Asymptote, Words Without Borders, In Other Words, Journal of Literary Translation and Prism Magazine among others. She is the recipient of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund Award (2013) and the Sarojini Dutta Memorial Prize (2011). Her work has been acknowledged with the WE Glowing Diamond accolade from WE Literary Community in 2020. Somrita is one of the judges for the WE Poetry Awards.
Dr. Sonali Pattnaik Poet
Dr. Sonali Pattnaik is a feminist poet, scholar, educator, and visual artist. She is the author of a volume of poetry ‘when the flowers begin to speak’ by Writers Workshop and the recipient of the Orange Flower Award for Poetry in English. She is faculty and external expert, Board of Studies in English at St. Xavier’s College, Ahmedabad. She was formerly lecturer in English at Delhi University’s Kirori Mal College and has taught literature and film at several institutions in Delhi and Mumbai. Her poetry and art have been anthologised in Of Dry Tongues and Brave Hearts Red River, India; Through the Looking Glass Indie Blu(e) Publishing Anthology USA; and The Kali Project: Invoking the Goddess Within, Indie Blu(e), USA. Her work has appeared in journals and books including, Setu magazine, The Yugen Quest Review, Muse India, Cafe Dissensus and The Indian Express to name a few. Her poem ‘identity in non-separation’ has been translated into Hindi by poet Smeetha Bhoumik. She has recently authored a book exploring the politics of masquerade in Indian cinema forthcoming from Orient Blackswan, India.
Bestselling novelist, short-story writer and poet, Sujata Parashar became widely popular with her Pursuit series and has so far written twelve books across genres. A Master’s in Human Rights, Sujata, has a rich and diverse work experience. Apart from authoring bestsellers, she is also a psychosocial trainer and the founder of a talk- therapy based platform, ‘The Talk-It-Out-Express’- a platform to enhance emotional wellbeing. She’s also the Vice-President of Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (WICCI) Arts leadership Council, Delhi chapter. Sujata has received the prestigious PVLF Author Excellence Award 2022 for her non-fiction, Going Solo-Raising Happy Kids a handguide on single parenting. Her other prominent accomplishments include recognition as one of the Women Achievers of 2021 by Apeksha Sandesh News; Karamaveer Chakra Award 2019 by iCongo and UN; and 100 Women Faces Award 2018 by Womennovator and COWE, and several other literary awards.
Tanvi Srivastava Writer
Tanvi Srivastava is the translator of The War Diary of Asha-san written by Lt. Bharati ‘Asha’ Sahay Choudhry (HarperCollins India 2022). She also writes fiction and was a member of the 2021 cohort of the Write Beyond Borders programme funded by the British Council. In her free time, she enjoys researching the Indian National Army, reading obscure children’s literature and nibbling on fine chocolates.
Tim Baker Author & Journalist
Tim Baker is an award-winning author, journalist and storyteller specializing in surfing history and culture, working across a wide variety of media from books and magazines to film, video, and theatre.Tim is the best-selling author of The Rip Curl Story, Occy, High Surf, Bustin’ Down the Door, Surf For Your Life, Century of Surf and Surfari. He is a former editor of Tracks, Surfing Life and Slow Living magazines, and a three-time winner of the Surfing Australia Hall of Fame Culture Award. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian Financial Review, The Bulletin, Inside Sport, GQ, as well as surfing magazines around the world. He is currently completing a creative writing PhD at Griffith University on the psycho-social challenges of living with a cancer diagnosis. His latest book Patting the Shark documents his experience living with advanced prostate cancer.
Saraswati Nagpal Writer & Poet
Saraswati Nagpal is an Indian writer and poet, a lover of fantasy and sci-fi. Her graphic novels Sita, Daughter of the Earth and Draupadi, The Fire-born Princess are retellings of epic Indian mythologies from a feminist perspective. She is also a classical dancer and choreographer. Her poetry can be found at Cathexis Northwest Press and The Journal of Radical Wonder (forthcoming). Her collaborative short musical film Ganga: River Eternal, a tribute to the river through classical dance, has been screened at international film festivals, most recently at the Dallas FortWorth South Asian Film Festival (DFWSAFF 2022).
Shelley Kenigsberg Editor & Writer
Shelley Kenigsberg is a prominent freelance editor, writer and trainer who’s worked in publishing for over 30 years. She has been, variously, production assistant, editor, publisher, trainer, writer, and mentor. Shelley has worked with hundreds of writers as editor and collaborated to finesse and prepare manuscripts for publication. Shelley created Editing in Paradise retreats (with colleague Selena Hanet-Hutchins) in 2009 and further the Writing in Paradise in 2015. She has been a mentor for Australian Society of Authors, Byron Bay Writers, and privately, for decades. She was Head of Macleay College’s Book Editing and Publishing Diploma for 27 years and, since 2009, has led long and short courses in editing and writing. She was president, NSW Editors 80Society 2000–‘03; and Vice president ‘03–‘06) and chaired committees for the Institute of Professional Editors (IPED), Australia. Shelley has presented writing and editing workshops to small and large corporations, writers centres; and regularly moderated and presented at professional conferences and writers festivals in Australia and Asia (Ubud Readers and Writers; Byron Bay Writers, Asia Pacific Writers and Translators, Singapore Book Council Academy.
Sholeh Wolpé Poet
Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-American poet, playwright and librettist. Her literary work includes 11 books of poetry, anthologies, and translations as well as several plays, an oratorio, song lyrics, and an original screenplay. Wolpé’s memoir in verse, Abacus of Loss (2022), was hailed by Ilya Kaminsky as a book “that created its own genre—a thrill of lyric combined with the narrative spell.” She is the author or editor of more than a dozen books, including her translation of Attar’s The Conference of the Birds (Norton) and Forugh Farrokhzad, Sin (UARK), as well as several plays, and an oratorio. Her poetry collections include Cómo Escribir Una Canción De Amor (2017), Keeping Time with Blue Hyacinths (2013), Rooftops of Tehran (2008) and The Scar Saloon (2004). She is a recipient of the PEN Heim Translation Grant and the Lois Roth Persian Translation Award (2010). The libretto that she wrote for The Conference of the Birds—An Oratorio, composed by Fahad Siadat and choreographed by André Megerdichian, was premiered at the BroadStage in June 2022.
Shreekumar Varma Novelist & Poet
Shreekumar Varma is a novelist, playwright, poet, columnist and reviewer, known for the novels Lament of Mohini (Penguin), Maria's Room (Harper Collins), Kipling’s Daughter (AngloInk), Devil's Garden (Puffin), The Magic Store of Nu-Cham-Vu (Puffin) and Pazhassi Raja: The Royal Rebel (Macmillan). His plays include Bow of Rama, The Dark Lord, Platform, Midnight Hotel, Cast Party, Five and Sisters. He received the R. K. Narayan Award (2015) and the Charles Wallace Fellowship (2004). He edited the fortnightly Trident, translated poetry and fiction from Malayalam to English for Oxford University Press’s Anthology of Dalit writing. His poetry has been adapted in various dance performances, like Vamshi and Rithu. He scripted films on the Buddha for the Ajanta caves visitors’ centre. He was a charter member and president of the Rotary Club of Madras Southwest and editor of the club magazine for eight years. His poems, articles, reviews, short stories and interviews have appeared in several periodicals including The Hindu, Indian Express, Deccan Herald, Seminar Magazine, Aesthetica Quarterly, A Hudson View and Pulse-Berlin Magazine, as well as academic journals.
Shruti Sareen Poet & Novelist
Shruti Sareen is a poet, novelist and columnist. He poetries have been published in The Little Magazine, Six Seasons Review, North East Review, Brown Critique, Muse India, Reading Hour, Vayavya, E-Fiction India, 1 Over The 8th, Chay Magazine and so on. Her PhD thesis titled Indian Feminisms in the 21st Century: Women’s Poetry in English is forthcoming from Routledge (UK) as two monographs in 2022. She has had over a hundred poems and a handful of short stories published in journals and anthologies. Her debut poetry Collection, A Witch Like You (2021) was published by Girls on Key Poetry (Australia). She also teaches English literature and language. Her novel, The Yellow Wall, is awaiting publication, while she works around a hybrid manuscript around lives of queer writers and artists, on themes of queerness and mental health. She also writes fiction, mostly on themes of non-normative love, or on other issues of relevance such as nature and environment. She was an invited poet at global poetry festival, hosted by Russia, Poeisia-21.
Shubhrangshu Roy Poet
Shubhrangshu Roy is a US-based storyteller and poet. His first book Zara’s Witness, published in March 2019, is a philosophical fantasy that draws on India’s ancient Upanishadic wisdom. He has been a business journalist and newspaper editor in India for three decades. In 2008, he launched the Financial Chronicle in collaboration with The International Herald Tribune. His latest work Shadows of the Fragmented Moon, launched in May 2022, is a composition of 108 mystic chants that navigate ancient Indic thought to plunge deep into the human psyche. His work, Hey, Ze!, a modern epic drama in two volumes, is due for publication as a web series soon. Besides his original renditions, he continues to both translate and trans create poems from the Indian vernacular.
Siddharth Dasgupta Poet & Novelist
Siddharth Dasgupta is an Indian poet and novelist. He writes poetry and fiction from lost hometowns and cafés framed in broken light. His literary creation, a short-story collection entitled 'The Sacred Sparrow of Sparrows', was released in April 2017. His third collection of poetry, All These Streets We’ve Known By Heart emerged in 2022 via the independent publisher Red River. Siddharth's literature has appeared in Epiphany, Rogue Agent, Lunch Ticket, Litro, Kyoto Journal, The Rumpus, Thimble and elsewhere. Siddharth serves as editor, visual narratives with The Bombay Literary Magazine. His first novel, 'Letters from an Indian Summer', has met with consistent critical acclaim since its release in late 2014.
Smeetha Bhoumik Author & Poet
An artist, poet, editor & founder - Women Empowered - India (WE), Smeetha is an expressionist painter, and her favourite theme is the Universe Series, exploring the magic of the universe in oils & new media. She is the author of two poetry collections, Where I Belong – Moments, Mist & Song (2019), and Return to Love – The Point of Poetry (2021). As founder-WE, she is instrumental in establishing the Kamala Das Poetry Award (2018) and other WE Poetry Awards. Her poems feature in national and international journals and anthologies including Oxygen – Parables of the Pandemic 2022, New Generation Beat Poets 2022, TMYS 2022, Open Your Eyes – A Climate Change Anthology, Poetry Unites 2021, Quesadilla & Other Adventures 2019, Muse India 2017, 2018, Life and Legends 2018, Modern Indian Poetry – a Sahitya Akademi Anthology 2019, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Freedom Raga, Poetry & Covid project – Universities of Plymouth, and Nottingham Trent and Writing Language, Culture – Asia vs Africa among others. Smeetha is also the founding editor of Yugen Quest Review 2021 and chief editor of Equiverse Space - A Sound Home In Words (2018).
Meher Pestonji Writer & Journalist
Meher Pestonji is a social worker, writer and veteran journalist writing on street-kids, housing rights, communalism while covering theatre, art and interviewing creative people. She has written two novels, Pervez and Sadak Chhaap, three plays, Piano for Sale, Feeding Crows, Turning Point and short stories. Her first collection of poems will be out shortly.
With her BA in music and drama, Melissa plunged into indigenous and public programs in communities. Coming to tropical Cairns Australia in 2002, she lectured on arts business at TAFE, joined Arts Nexus, project managed Cairns Festival participation programs for three years, while managing other major projects. Most notable is her event experience with WOMADelaide, Commonwealth Games Arts Festival, Paradise Concerts, Festlinx, the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival and initiating the homeless youth choir Song Connection. As event manager for Cairns Tropical Writers Festival since 2014, Melissa’s appointment to Australia Council’s Arts Leaders Group saw her visit Bangalore Literary Festival 2019, establishing ongoing collaborations between India and Australia.
Neville Saron Author
Neville Sarony served in 7GR in the Malayan Emergency, read law at LSE, worked in the Foreign Office and became the first foreign lawyer in Nepal (odyssey recounted in memoir Counsel in the Clouds), He has spent close to sixty years at the civil and criminal bars in England and Hong Kong, defending treason to murder and advocating for victims of clinical negligence. He is the author of the Max Devlin political thriller series: The Dharma Expedient, sequel Devlin’s Chakra and prequel The Chakrata Incident. Sarony is a columnist at EJ Insight and contributor to Asia Times.
Philip McLaren Novelist
Philip McLaren was born in Redfern, although his family comes from the Warrumbungle Mountain area, New South Wales and he is a descendant of the Kamilaroi people. McLaren has worked as a television producer, a director, designer, illustrator, architect, sculptor, lifeguard and copywriter. He has been a creative director in television, advertising and film production companies both in Australia and overseas. After this varied career, McLaren focused on writing and was among the first Aboriginal writers to write a thriller. His first novel, Sweet Water - Stolen Land won the David Unaipon Award in 1992. He subsequently published several other novels, including crime thrillers Scream Black Murder, Lightning Mine and Murder in Utopia; the latter won the 2010 Prix Litteraire des Recits de l'ailleurs, a French award for international literature.
Piia Mustamäki, originally from Finland, is currently located in Abu Dhabi, where she teaches at NYU’s writing program. She holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from Rutgers University in the US. She has travelled in more than 100 countries and her travel writing has been published in Meridian: APWT Drunken Boat Anthology of New Writing, Literary Traveler, Punctuate, The Cultureist and Matador Network.
A media professional who has worked in film & television for over three decades, Puneeta is an Expressive Arts’ facilitator using theatre and the arts as tools for self-exploration and transformation. As founder and managing trustee of The Yuva Ekta Foundation, her vision of equity and social justice has translated into the creation of several such platforms, through which youth from diverse socio-economic backgrounds share and learn from each other. Deeply involved in working with children in conflict with law, her research project position that, ‘Building Emotional Intelligence using Expressive Arts and Psychodrama Therapy with Children in Conflict with Law’ has yielded valuable data on the impact of reformative practices with young offenders in India. Puneeta sees young people as potential agents of positive social change and dreams of setting up a global youth citizenship network, spanning countries across the planet.
Rochelle Potkar Author
Rochelle Potkar is an alumna of Iowa’s International Writing Program (2015) and a Charles Wallace Writer’s fellow, University of Stirling (2017). She is the author of Four Degrees of Separation and Paper Asylum – shortlisted for the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2020 and co-author of The Coordinates of Us/ सर्व अंशांतून आपण – a bilingual cross-translation of English/Marathi poetry. Bombay Hangovers her collection of short stories released in 2021 to rave reviews. Many of her poems and stories have won prizes. She was invited as a creative-writing mentor to Iowa’s prestigious International Writing Programs, Summer Institute 2019 and Between the Lines 2022. She conducts poetry workshops regularly with the Himalayan Writing Retreat and is working on her first novel.
Rochelle Almeida is a Professor of Humanities in Liberal Studies at New York University and a Senior Associate Member of St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford, UK. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Bombay and a Doctor of Arts degree from St. John’s University, New York. She has taught Writing in the US, UK, India and in Tashkent, Uzbekistan as a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow. She is the author of Originality and Imitation: Indianness in the Novels of Kamala Markandaya, The Politics of Mourning: Grief-Management in Cross-Cultural Fiction and Britain’s Anglo-Indians: The Invisibility of Assimilation. She has co-edited Global Secularisms in a Post-Secular Age, Curtain Call: Anglo-Indian Reflections and has individually edited Goa: A Post-Colonial Society Between Cultures. A fictional memoir entitled The Year The World Was Mine: An Anglophile Hits a Half-Century is her latest book. An international freelance writer, she divides her time between Connecticut and Bombay.
Nathalie Azoulai Author
Nathalie Azoulai is a French author born in Paris and has several years of experience in publishing. She majored and obtained her degree in modern literature. Her prominent works include: Mère agitée (2002), C’est l’histoire d’une femme qui a un frère (2004), Les Manifestations (2005) and Une ardeur insensée (2009). Her 2015 novel, Titus n'aimait pas Bérénice was the winner of the Prix Médicis award and a finalist for the Prix Goncourt and Femina. This novel has been translated into several languages and is now included in school and university bibliographies. In 2020, Nathalie published Juvenia currently being adapted for the theatre and cinema. In June 2021, she became a jury member for Prix Femina. She also translated Virginia Woolf’s famous novel, Mrs Dalloway in 2022. Currently she is translating from English to French, novels by Richard Wright and Deborah Levy.