The DC South Asian Arts Council Inc (DCSAACI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to hosting, producing, and promoting South Asian arts programming. For over ten years, DCSAACI has hosted the DC South Asian Film Festival to bring quality independent South Asian films to the Washington Metro area. We are pleased to announce a new offering in our programming, the DC South Asian Literary Festival (DCSALF).

Please join us from May 9th – 15th, 2021 for our inaugural DCSALF festival which will be virtual.

DCSALF is a neutral and inspirational platform for artists and writers to voice their stories. South Asian fiction and non-fiction authors, poets, screenwriters, and biographers from all over the world are invited to participate and enrich our community. We envision DCSALF to be a forum that stimulates important discussions about inequality, discrimination, immigration, LGBTQ challenges, social justice, and other South Asian Diaspora issues and challenges. Authors will have an opportunity to promote and read from their books and engage with the audience in conversations, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions.

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PROGRAM

Sunday May 9, 2021

OPENING: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST Why Literary Festivals Matter?

Why Literary Festivals Matter?
Literary festivals have significantly changed the literary landscape of South Asia in recent years. They have arguably increased public interest in literature and have made it fashionable in society. This session will explore the contributions of literary festivals in South Asia as well as potential limitations.

Speaker – Professor Mehr A Farooqi

Professor Mehr A Farooqi

Professor Mehr Afshan Farooqi grew up in Allahabad, India. A multiple gold medalist from Allahabad University, Farooqi is currently Associate Professor of Urdu and South Asian Literature at the University of Virginia. Her research publications address complex issues of Urdu literary culture particularly in the context of modernity. She is interested in bilingualism and how it impacts creativity. Farooqi is also a well-known translator, anthologist and columnist. She is the editor of the pioneering two-volume work, The Oxford India Anthology of Modern Urdu Literature (2008). More recently she has published the acclaimed monograph, The Postcolonial Mind, Urdu Culture, Islam and Modernity in Muhammad Hasan Askari (New York, Palgrave and New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2013). Farooqi writes a featured column on Urdu literature past and present in the Dawn. She has recently published, Ghalib: A Wilderness at my Door Step, A Critical Biography (Penguin/Allen Lane/ January 2021).


Moderator – Fauzia Farooqui

Fauzia Farooqui

Dr. Fauzia Farooqui is a South Asian Studies scholar, poet, and Indian cultural activist. Using inter-disciplinary approaches, she teaches South Asian literature, Indian culture, and gender and sexuality studies courses at Princeton University. Apart from her academic writing, she also writes poetry and short stories in Urdu. As an Indian cultural activist, Fauzia is interested in various genres of Indian performing arts and the rich oral literary traditions of India.


Host – Manoj Singh

Manoj Singh, Executive Director

Manoj, an IT Consultant, has always had a passion for the arts. He has acted in several prominent plays, including: Mere Bachhe, Jisne Lahore Nahi Dekhya woh Jamiya Nahi and A Tryst with Destiny. He is a member of Natya Bharati, the Actors Center, and Storytellers Short Film Club. In 2012, Manoj and his wife Geeta started Ceasar Productions – it has fast become DCs premier company for hosting South Asian TV Talk Show, Theatre, Music, Films and Book-Reading events. In 2018, we started Not for Profit 501 (c)(3) organization DC South Asian Arts Council Inc under which we now host the DC South Asian Film Festival and DC South Asian Literary Festival and soon to add more year round programming.



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OPENING: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST Documenting India through Literature and Film

Documenting India through Literature and Film
Apart from providing artistic pleasure and inspiration, literature and film have also been used to effectively document the nation: its history, emotions, and aspirations. This session will focus on how literature and films have imagined, depicted, and documented India.

Speaker – Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar is a world-renowned poet, lyricist, and screenwriter. He is a recipient of the Padma Shri (1999), Padma Bhushan (2007), the Sahitya Akademi Award as well as five National Film Awards. He also remained a member of Rajya Sabha. In 2020, he received the Richard Dawkins Award for his contribution to secularism, free thinking, for critical thinking, holding religious dogma up to scrutiny, advancing human progress and humanist values.


Moderator – Fauzia Farooqui

Fauzia Farooqui

Dr. Fauzia Farooqui is a South Asian Studies scholar, poet, and Indian cultural activist. Using inter-disciplinary approaches, she teaches South Asian literature, Indian culture, and gender and sexuality studies courses at Princeton University. Apart from her academic writing, she also writes poetry and short stories in Urdu. As an Indian cultural activist, Fauzia is interested in various genres of Indian performing arts and the rich oral literary traditions of India.


Host – Manoj Singh

Manoj Singh, Executive Director

Manoj, an IT Consultant, has always had a passion for the arts. He has acted in several prominent plays, including: Mere Bachhe, Jisne Lahore Nahi Dekhya woh Jamiya Nahi and A Tryst with Destiny. He is a member of Natya Bharati, the Actors Center, and Storytellers Short Film Club. In 2012, Manoj and his wife Geeta started Ceasar Productions – it has fast become DCs premier company for hosting South Asian TV Talk Show, Theatre, Music, Films and Book-Reading events. In 2018, we started Not for Profit 501 (c)(3) organization DC South Asian Arts Council Inc under which we now host the DC South Asian Film Festival and DC South Asian Literary Festival and soon to add more year round programming.



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OPENING: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST Biography Spotlight: Being Sheela

Biography Spotlight: Being Sheela
Immigration attorney, entrepreneur and philanthropist Sheela Murthy has witnessed many people’s incredible immigration journeys to the United States. In this panel, Murthy speaks about her experiences with Adithi Rao, author of her bestselling biography Being Sheela.

Speaker – Sheela Murthy

Sheela Murthy

Founder and president of the Murthy Law Firm, Sheela Murthy completed her Master of Laws from Harvard Law School, and has been admitted to practice as an attorney in New York, Maryland, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Located in Baltimore County, Maryland, her firm of approximately 100 professionals concentrates in the area of U.S. immigration law. Murthy practiced with major law firms in New York and Baltimore before launching her own firm in 1994, then known as the Law Office of Sheela Murthy.


Moderator – Sandra Liotta

Sandra Liotta

Sandy Liotta CIMA, CFP, the senior resident director and senior vice president of wealth management at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Bank of America Corporation, has joined the Center Stage Board of Trustees. Liotta, a 30-year veteran of Merrill Lynch in Towson, also serves on the board of Baltmore Center Stage and Innovative Learning Inc.

, Adithi Rao

Adithi Rao, Author

After a degree in Theater from Smith College, Massachusetts, Adithi Rao worked as an assistant director on the award-winning Hindi cult film Satya, and then as a writer / editor on the travel channel of Indya.com. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies and in English textbooks across India. Left from the Nameless Shop (HarperCollins, 2018) is Adithi’s first collection for adults. You can find her on www.adithirao.com.Ruchi Shah is a book illustrator / wall artist. She is an alumnus of University of the Arts, London and IDC, IIT Bombay. She received the Charles Wallace Scholarship in 2012 through the British Council. Her works explore places, spaces, materials and stories of everyday life.


Host – Geeta Singh,

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Monday May 10, 2021

OPENING: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST Panel: Script to Screen


Trace the journey of a story from the page to the screen. What are the challenges and nuances when adapting a script from a well known book.

Speaker – Sarmad Khoosat

Sarmad Khoosat

Sarmad Sultan Khoosat is a Pakistani actor, film/TV director, producer and screenwriter best known for directing the TV dramas Humsafar and Shehr-e-Zaat, and was the main character in the film Manto, his life story.

, Anil Lakhwani

Anil Lakhwani

Anil Lakhwani’s journey into filmmaking began in 2011. Since 2008, Lakhwani has worked with several high-profile production houses (including: Dharma Productions, Excel Entertainment, Tiger Baby Productions, Eros Entertainment, Viacom, Amazon Studios and Ashutosh Gowariker Productions) and film personalities (including: Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Ashutosh Gowarikar, Sharmista Roy, Gulzar, Mani Ratnam and A.R. Rahman). Anil’s notable projects as director, associate director and 1st/2nd assistant director include: Khawishquien, Happy Mother’s Day, Everest. As a script supervisor, Anil has worked on Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy, Shaad Ali’s Ok Jaanu, Amazon’s Made in Heaven and Netflix’s Dolly Kitty Aur Chamakte sitare. As a writer, Anil has penned the Viacom series Happily Unmarried, two episodes of Amazon’s Emmy-nominated series Made in Heaven and the upcoming Hindi adaptation of the Marathi feature Smile Please (Director Vikram Phadnis). Anil’s passion and curiosity for human dilemmas and internal conflicts seep into his bold, detailed and sensitive storylines. In addition to filmmaking, his interests also include vintage film poster-collecting, fashion, and dance.

, Hansal Mehta

Hansal Mehta

Hansal Mehta is an Indian film director, writer, actor and producer. Mehta started his career in television with his show Khana Khazana (1993–2000) and later moved on to films like Jayate (1999), Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar!! (2000) and Chhal (2002). He is best known for Shahid (2013) for which he won the National Film Award for Best Direction. He then went on to direct City Lights (2014), Aligarh (2016), Simran (2017), Omerta (2018) and Scam 1992 (2020).


Moderator – Joe S. Khera

Joe S. Khera

Born in England and raised in Canada, Joe S. Khera’s journey into filmmaking began in 2008. Upon graduating from Film School, he went on to assist director Subhash Ghai on Black & White and Yuvraaj. Since 2008, Joe has worked with many high-profile production houses, including: iRock, Mukta Arts, Sony and Little Red Car Films, where he served as Creative Head. In 2008, Joe’s critically acclaimed short film ‘Tuesday’ was screened at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival where it was picked up for distribution by Shemaroo Entertainment. In 2013, Joe had the opportunity to work with Oscar winning director, Spike Lee, as a producer on ‘Outpost,’ an India/USA co-production funded entirely with grants provided by The National Board of Review (USA) and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The film won the Martin E. Segal Award in New York and was an official selection at several film festivals including the Mumbai International Film Festival 2014. The same year Joe co-produced ‘Country of Bodies,’ a musical made in collaboration with international composer Stefano Lentini, who scored the music for Wong Kar Wai’s 2014 Golden Globe nominated film, ‘The Grandmaster’. ‘Country of Bodies’ was a part of the Cinephillia Filmmakers to watch film series in Dubai. In 2015 Joe’s PSBT funded documentary (as director) ‘Dancing Shoes’ was the opening film at the prestigious Open Frame Documentary Film Festival, where it was selected by India Today as ‘one of six documentaries to watch out for’. The film went on to win best documentary at the 13th Jeevika Documentary Film Festival and had its television premiere in February 2017. Today, Joe is the director of Canada’s International Association of Working Women and the Artistic Director of the DC South Asian Film Festival. He also manages the Meryl Streep Award for Excellence.


Host – Mansoor Ahmed

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Tuesday May 11, 2021

OPENING: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST Poetry – Does language matter?


South Asia is home to towering poetic traditions in multiple languages. Writing in three languages, Natwar Gandhi, Panna Naik, Meenakshi Mohan and Afsar Mohammad speak with Niharika Chibber Joe about the language of poetry.

Speaker – Natwar Gandhi

Natwar Gandhi

Natwar M. Gandhi retired in January 2014 from his long tenured position as independent Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the District of Columbia’s where he was responsible for Washington, DC’s finances. Presently, Gandhi consults with the World Bank in its efforts to create financially sustainable cities around the world. Gandhi has served as a member of Board of Trustees of Shakespeare Theater Company. Presently, he serves on Honorary Board of Trustees of Arena Stage and on Board of Gallaudet University. He is a member of the Metropolitan Club of Washington, DC. Though an accountant by profession, Gandhi has published three volumes of poetry and an autobiography in Gujarati, his native tongue. He has also published his memoirs in English entitled, Still the Promised Land (Arch Street Press, 2019). He is the founding member of the Gujrati Literary Academy of North America.

, Dr. Meenakshi Mohan

Dr. Meenakshi Mohan

Dr. Meenakshi Mohan is an educator, freelance writer, art critic, children’s writer, painter, and poet. She specializes in Early Childhood Leadership and Advocacy. She has published widely in this area and presented numerous papers and workshops. Some of her academic writings and books include Motivational Learning and Art Integrated Curriculum; What is Education; Art, The Emergence of Literacy and Motivation. Stanford University digitally houses her writings in its initiative of Life in Quarantine. She has been listed twice in the Who is Who Among American Teachers. She authored two children’s picture books, The Rainbow in My Room and The Gift, and edited Tamam Shud, poems of Kshitij Mohan. She recently had a solo exhibit of her paintings in Potomac, Maryland. She is currently on the Montgomery County Library System’s Advisory Committee in its Potomac, Maryland branch. She is on the Editorial Team for Inquiry in Education, a peer-reviewed journal published by National Louis University, Chicago, Illinois.

, Professor Afsar Mohammad

Professor Afsar Mohammad

Afsar Mohammad is Senior Lecturer of South Asian studies and Foreign Languages at the South Asia Studies Department at the University of Pennsylvania. Before relocating to Penn, he has taught at the University of Wisconsin and the University of Texas at Austin for more than a decade. His courses on South Asia and the Novel, Indian Poetry and Religions, Resistance literatures of South Asia, Islamic cultures and literatures of South Asia usually blend various sources of Urdu, Hindi and Telugu languages. Recently, Afsar has expanded his research and teaching to new areas such as urban practices of Islam and Sufism in South India. He has published more than a dozen essays in various scholarly journals and edited volumes published in the USA and Europe.

, Surinder Deol

Surinder Deol

Surinder Deol is an author and a literary translator who has published Sahir’s biography titled SAHIR: A Literary Portrait (Oxford University Press, 2019). Working with India’s leading Urdu scholar, Professor Gopi Chand Narang, Surinder has published translations of Urdu poets such as Ghalib and Mir Taqi Mir and several others. Surinder published a book of poems called A Moment In The Universe in 2006 and a novel titled Endless Life in 2012. His book on poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz titled FAIZ: From Passionate Love To A Cosmic Vision (Rupa 2021) has just been published. About his association with Sahir, Surinder says, “I got to know Sahir’s poetry when I was a freshman in college, and his words left a deep impression on my mind. Because of Sahir, I decided to learn the Urdu language which has been a great pleasure of my life. Embracing Sahir’s vision for a better future, I worked hard on charting a course of my own life. His 100th anniversary is an occasion for me to not only reflect on Sahir’s journey but also my own.”


Moderator – Niharika Chibber Joe

Niharika Chibber Joe, Prize Winning Poet, Published Writer

Niharika Chibber Joe is a United States civil servant. She is also a prize-winning published poet and short story writer. Niharika speaks several languages, but writes in English, and sometimes in Japanese or in Hindi. Most recently, her work has been published in In All the Spaces: Diverse Voices in Global Women’s Poetry (2020), Millennium Poesy (2021), Earth, Fire, Water, Wind (2021), Lockdown Prayers (2021), Paradise on Earth: An International Anthology (2021), the upcoming Ruptured anthology, and in the Setu Online Literary Journal. Niharika is a racial equity, social justice and climate warrior. She holds a B.A and M.A. in Japanese Language and Literature from the Jawaharlal Nehru University in India. She also holds an M.A. in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C.


Host – Nadia Khan

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Wednesday May 12, 2021

OPENING: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST Dalit Histories, Dalit Voices


Being Dalit is often like living in an alternative timeline, where one’s own histories are unheard. Christina Dhanraj, Jebarosa Singh and John Boopalan bring Dalit histories to light with Dhanya Addanki.

Speaker – Christina Dhanraj

Christina Dhanraj

Christina Dhanaraj is a writer with 12+ years of corporate work experience in India, Singapore, China, the United States, and the Netherlands. She is a consultant for women and minority-led initiatives focusing on social justice, self-determination, and collaborative models of scholarship. She is currently an advisor for Smashboard, and was formerly the co-founder of the Dalit History Month project.

, Jebarosa Singh

Jebarosa Singh

Dr. Jebaroja Singh is a Dalit woman, and an assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies including Anthropology, Sociology and Women and Gender Studies. She is also the author of Spotted Goddesses: Dalit Women’s Agency-narratives on Caste and Gender Violence(Contributions to Transnational Feminism). She was born and raised in Chennai and is currently based in Rochester, New York.

, John Boopalan

John Boopalan

Sunder John Boopalan, Assistant Professor at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg, Canada, is the author of the book ‘Memory, Grief, and Agency’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). His most recent essay in the journal ‘Religions’ is titled “Religious Amnesias, Mythologies, and Apolitical Affects in Racist Landscapes,” and is freely available at https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11110615.


Moderator – Dhanya Addanki

Dhanya Addanki

Dhanya Addanki is an editor, writer, oral historian, and photographer. She has spent her career training journalists and writers from marginalized backgrounds from all over the world. Her main points of interest are religion, human rights, identity, and liberation-oriented journalism. She recently created an oral history archive for the South Asian American Digital Archive called “An Altar to Dalit Honor” that explored how caste shows up in the South Asian diaspora. Dhanya was born in Andhra Pradesh and raised in South Texas.


Host – Mimi Mondal

Mimi Mondal

Mimi Mondal was a Nebula Award finalist in 2020 for her novelette His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light, and a Locus Award winner and HugoandBritish Fantasy Awards finalist in 2018 for her anthology Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butlerin 2018. Mimi grew up in Kolkata and currently lives in New York.



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Thursday May 13, 2021

OPENING: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST Publishing One’s Debut Novel


A first novel is both a culmination of dreams and a step in vulnerability. Anjali Enjeti, Sanjena Sathian, and S.J. Sindu discuss their journeys, inspirations, and challenges with Meghana Nallajerla.

Speaker – Sanjena Sathian

Sanjena Sathian

A Paul and Daisy Soros fellow, Sanjena Sathian is a 2019 graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. She has worked as a reporter in Mumbai and San Francisco, with nonfiction bylines for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Food & Wine, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, and more. And her award-winning short fiction has been published in Boulevard, Joyland, Salt Hill, and The Master's Review. Gold Diggers is her first book.

, SJ Sindu

SJ Sindu

SJ Sindu is a Tamil diaspora author of two novels, the award-winning Marriage of a Thousand Lies, and Blue-Skinned Gods, forthcoming in November 2021. She is also the author of two hybrid chapbooks: I Once Met You But You Were Dead and Dominant Genes, forthcoming in 2022. Sindu teaches at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

, Anjali Enjeti

Anjali Enjeti

Anjali Enjeti is a former attorney and award-winning journalist based near Atlanta. She is the author of Southbound: Essays on Identity, Inheritance, and Social Change and The Parted Earth, a novel. Her work has appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR, Boston Globe, Mic, and elsewhere. She is the co-founder of They See Blue Georgia, an organization for South Asian Democrats, and teaches in the MFA program at Reinhardt University.


Moderator – Meghana Nallajerla

Meghana Nallajerla

Meghana (she/her) is a South Indian diasporic femme, community organizer and researcher from Georgia. She is the creator of @southasianreads on Instagram and is an organizer with multiple collectives working to end systemic oppression against and within all South Asian communities. Meghana hopes to pursue graduate school in psychology to apply research towards social change and make healing accessible for all peoples.


Host – Rashmi Nair

Rashmi Nair, Marketing Manager/Social Media

Rashmi is a physical therapist by profession with a keen interest in offbeat cinema/shows and books. She handles the social media accounts for DCSAACI, promoting events and interacting with audiences on these platforms. In her spare time she attempts to bake but mostly daydreams about cakes.



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Saturday May 15, 2021

OPENING: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST Sahir Ludhianvi Centenary


On Sahir Ludhianvi’s birth centenary, Saima Iram Sahiba, Shafey Kidwai and Surinder Deol step beyond his legendary career as a lyricist and highlight him as a literary poet, as well as revisit his immense economic, social, and cultural vision and impact.

Speaker – Professor Saima Iram Sahiba (Lahore)

Professor Saima Iram Sahiba (Lahore)

Prof. Saima Iram lives in Lahore and is a professor and head of the Urdu language and literature department at the Government College University Lahore. She is the first female academic to lead the Urdu department in the College’s 150-plus years of history. She attended Oxford University for her post-doctoral studies and has authored two books and numerous research articles. As a participant at various national and international platforms, she has spoken in favor of women’s rights and the betterment of the LGBT community. As a fiction writer, some of her short stories are available in Hindi, Punjabi, and English translations.

, Professor Shafey Kidwai (Aligarh)

Professor Shafey Kidwai (Aligarh)

Shafey Kidwai is a professor and chairman of the Department of Mass Communications at the Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India. As a leading intellectual and thought leader in India, his views on the role of media, religion, history, language, and literature are notable for the clarity he brings to the public discourse. Professor Kidwai has authored several path-breaking books in Urdu and English. His 2017 biography of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was awarded the 2019 Sahitya Akademi Award for Urdu. He has been honored by the UP Urdu Academy and was conferred Iqbal Samman by the Madhya Pradesh state government for his contributions to Urdu literature. He is a regular contributor to major newspapers and magazines.


Moderator – Surinder Deol

Surinder Deol

Surinder Deol is an author and a literary translator who has published Sahir’s biography titled SAHIR: A Literary Portrait (Oxford University Press, 2019). Working with India’s leading Urdu scholar, Professor Gopi Chand Narang, Surinder has published translations of Urdu poets such as Ghalib and Mir Taqi Mir and several others. Surinder published a book of poems called A Moment In The Universe in 2006 and a novel titled Endless Life in 2012. His book on poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz titled FAIZ: From Passionate Love To A Cosmic Vision (Rupa 2021) has just been published. About his association with Sahir, Surinder says, “I got to know Sahir’s poetry when I was a freshman in college, and his words left a deep impression on my mind. Because of Sahir, I decided to learn the Urdu language which has been a great pleasure of my life. Embracing Sahir’s vision for a better future, I worked hard on charting a course of my own life. His 100th anniversary is an occasion for me to not only reflect on Sahir’s journey but also my own.”


Host – Rajiv Paul

Rajiv Paul



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OPENING: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST Novel Spotlight: Sparks Like Stars


Nadia Hashimi is a pediatrician and the author of three bestselling novels, The Pearl that Broke Its Shell (2014), When the Moon Is Low (2015), and A House Without Windows (2016). She speaks with Norman Sandridge about her latest novel Sparks Like Stars.

Speaker – Nadia Hashimi

Nadia Hashimi

Nadia Hashimi is a pediatrician turned internationally bestselling author. Her novels for adults and children are inspired by the people and history of Afghanistan and have been translated into 16 languages. She is a member of the US Afghan Women’s Council, Montgomery County Commission on Health, and serves on the boards of several non- profit organizations with focuses on education, hunger, and civic engagement. Originally from New York, she lives with her husband and four children in Potomac, Maryland.


Moderator – Associate Professor Norman Sandridge, Howard University

Associate Professor Norman Sandridge, Howard University

Norman Sandridge is an Associate Professor of Classics at Howard University and the Co-Executive Director of Kallion Leadership, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the study of the humanities for leadership development. He enjoys gardening, cycling, and spending time in Rock Creek Park with his daughter Sibyl and wife Kimberly.


Host – Vandana Narang

Vandana Narang, Manager/DCSALF

Vandana Narang is a member of the Storyteller Film Club. She enjoys writing, script development and directing. Her debut film The Ring,which she wrote and directed, won the Audience Choice Award at the 2014 DCSAFF. In 2017 she wrote and directed The Girl on the Bridge and in 2019 A Night at the Bar both of which were also shown at DCSAFF. She has adapted two screenplays ( Relativity and Mango Party) from short stories that were made into films by the Storytellers Film Group. She owns her own interior design firm and is a running coach.



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OPENING: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST South Asian Literature in the US


South Asian literature written and published from the diaspora exists in a landscape of its own, quite different from its homelands. Vikram Chandra talks with Mimi Mondal about his experiences as an author and teacher both in India and the US.

Speaker – Vikram Chandra

Vikram Chandra

Vikram Chandra’s latest book is Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty. He has also written the novels Sacred Games (adapted into an award-winning Netflix Series) and Red Earth and Pouring Rain, and the short story collection Love and Longing in Bombay. His honors include a Guggenheim fellowship, the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia), the Crossword Prize, and the Salon Book Award. He teaches creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been translated into twenty languages. Chandra is co-founder and CEO of Granthika Co. (http://granthika.co/), a software startup dedicated to reinventing writing and reading for the digital age.


Moderator – Mimi Mondal

Mimi Mondal

Mimi Mondal was a Nebula Award finalist in 2020 for her novelette His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light, and a Locus Award winner and HugoandBritish Fantasy Awards finalist in 2018 for her anthology Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butlerin 2018. Mimi grew up in Kolkata and currently lives in New York.


Host – Manoj Singh

Manoj Singh, Executive Director

Manoj, an IT Consultant, has always had a passion for the arts. He has acted in several prominent plays, including: Mere Bachhe, Jisne Lahore Nahi Dekhya woh Jamiya Nahi and A Tryst with Destiny. He is a member of Natya Bharati, the Actors Center, and Storytellers Short Film Club. In 2012, Manoj and his wife Geeta started Ceasar Productions – it has fast become DCs premier company for hosting South Asian TV Talk Show, Theatre, Music, Films and Book-Reading events. In 2018, we started Not for Profit 501 (c)(3) organization DC South Asian Arts Council Inc under which we now host the DC South Asian Film Festival and DC South Asian Literary Festival and soon to add more year round programming.



Watch on YouTube

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