Almost Island: Indian Writing Now

Two of India’s foremost innovative writers and editors read from their new books and talk about the situation of writing in India and the ongoing international dialogues of Almost Island.


Sharmistha Mohanty’s two books of fiction, Book One and New Life, situated her as one of the most exciting innovative writers of her generation. Five Movements in Praise, a new book, will be out later this year. Mohanty has also translated a selection of Rabindranath Tagore’s prose works, Broken Nest and Other Stories. She is the founding editor of the publishing house and literary journal Almost Island and the initiator of the Almost Island Dialogues, an annual international writers festival held in New Delhi.  Mohanty is currently on the International Faculty for the Creative Writing MFA at the City University of Hong Kong. She has received a fellowship from the Ministry of Culture in India, as well as from the Akademie Schloss Solitude in Germany.

Vivek Narayanan was born in India in to Tamil-speaking parents and grew up in Zambia. He did undergraduate and graduate study (in cultural anthropology and creative writing) in the United States, taught at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, and moved back to India in 2000.  His two books of poetry are Universal Beach and Life and Times of Mr. S. His poems appear in several recent anthologies including The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry, The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poetry and Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond, as well as in journals like Agni, Harvard Review, Poetry Review (UK), and Manchester Review. He also frequently publishes reviews and essays on poetry for a general audience in nationwide Indian newspapers and magazines. Narayanan has taught, conceived and designed several writing workshops both in and beyond formal educational institutions, most recently the innovative Text As Material project in Delhi. He is Co-Editor of the press and literary journal Almost Island. He lives in both New Delhi and Fairfax, Virginia.