RAJARAJA CHOLA – Kamini Dandapani
Rajaraja Chola was one of the best-known rulers of medieval India. During his reign, the Chola empire expanded through virtually all of the southern reaches of the peninsula and beyond, from the Krishna-Godavari delta in northern Andhra Pradesh to large parts of northern Sri Lanka. Kamini Dandapani does a service to lovers of history by bringing to the forefront the Cholas, one of India’s greatest and often overlooked dynasties, in her biography of Rajaraja Chola.
[BLOCK]CHAIN – REACTION – Elizebeth Varghese
Elizebeth Varghese demystifies blockchain as she urges us towards a world of broader connections and connectivity. As a business leader, C-suite advisor and board director, Varghese furthers people and technology strategies with solutions in artificial intelligence, blockchain and robotics – for organizations around the globe, and in space.
TOMB OF SAND – Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell
Eighty-year-old Ma slips into a deep depression after the death of her husband. Despite her family’s cajoling, she refuses to leave her bed. Her responsible eldest son, Bade, and dutiful, Reebok-sporting daughter-in-law, Bahu, attend to Ma’s every need, while her favorite grandson, the cheerful and gregarious Sid, tries to lift her spirits with his guitar. Rather than respond to tragedy with seriousness, Shree’s playful tone and wordplay results in a book that is engaging, funny, and utterly original, while also being an urgent protest against the destructive impact of borders and boundaries, whether between religions, countries, or genders. Shree won the 2022 International Booker Prize winner for this effort.
A COUNTRY CALLED CHILDHOOD – Deepti Naval
This is award-winning actress Deepti Naval’s memoir of growing up in Amritsar in the tumultuous 1950s and 1960s. In visual and evocative prose, Naval describes an unforgettable childhood filled with love, adventure, mystery, tragedy, and joy. She describes in great detail life in an unconventional Punjabi family, while providing the reader the distinctive sights, smells, and sounds of a fast-vanishing India. Starting at her birth on a rainy night, she tracks her journey to adulthood, a path punctuated by many turning points as also momentous events of national importance, such as the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and the Indo-Pak War of 1965.
LOVE WITHOUT A STORY – Arundhathi Subramaniam
Subramaniam is one of India’s leading poets. Magical, powerful, delicate, and compassionate, here she crafts poems that celebrate an expanding kinship: of passion and friendship, mythic quest and modern-day longing, in a world animated by dialogue and dissent, delirium and silence. Circling themes of intimacy and time, they return to the urgency of conversation: that fragile bridge across the frozen attitudes that divide our world. But at the heart of the collection is a deeper preoccupation, with those blurry places where humans might walk with gods, where the body might touch the beyond, where the enchanted might intersect effortlessly with the everyday. Where one stumbles upon what the poet simply calls “love without a story.”
Preethi Urs – Literary Festival Director
Originally from Bengaluru, Preethi Urs and is now a proud New Yorker. She credits the two cities for birthing and nurturing her love for literature and the arts. She started her career in PR where she helped international companies connect with their American counterparts. After completing an M.S. in education from Bank Street College of Education, she taught kindergarten and first grade. She is the literary festival director for the Indo-American Arts Council in New York City.