Literary Fest

Donations will be used for Covid-Relief

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.


Order featured books here.


SUNDAY, MAY 9 2021

OPENING: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM ESTOpening Session – In conversation with Professor Mehr A Farooqi

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
Moderator – Fauzia Farooqui
Host – Manoj Singh

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12:30 PM – 1:30 PM ESTOpening Session – In conversation: Javed Akhtar

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
Moderator – Fauzia Farooqui
Host – Manoj Singh

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9:00 PM – 10:00 PM ESTIn Conversation: Biography – Being Sheela – In Conversation with Sheela Murthy

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
Moderator – Sandra Liotta, Author Adithi Rao
Host – Geeta Singh

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MONDAY, MAY 10 2021

9:00 PM – 10:00 PM ESTPanel: 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, Anil Lakhwani, Hansal Mehta
Moderator – Joe S. Khera
Host – Mansoor Ahmed

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TUESDAY, MAY 11 2021

9:00 PM – 10:00 PM ESTPoetry – 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, Panna Naik, Dr. Meenakshi Mohan, Professor Afsar Mohammad, Surinder Deol
Moderator – Niharika Chibber Joe
Host – Nadia Khan

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9:00 PM – 10:00 PM ESTDalit 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, Jebarosa Singh and John Boopalan
Moderator – Dhanya Addanki
Host – Mimi Mondal

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9:00 PM – 10:00 PM ESTPublishing 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, SJ Sindu, Anjali Enjeti
Moderator – Meghana Nallajerla
Host – Rashmi Nair

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FRIDAY, MAY 14 2021

9:00 PM – 10:00 PM ESTAudiobook Spotlight: Was Captain Nemo an Indian?

Once played onscreen by Naseeruddin Shah, Captain Nemo has always been an ambiguously Indian character in world literature. Achala Upendran, Mimi Mondal, Samit Basu and Shiv Ramdas revive Jules Verne’s famous protagonist in the new science fiction novel Nemo.

Speaker – Samit Basu, Shiv Ramdas, Achala Upendran
Moderator – Mimi Mondal
Host – Radhika Nijhawan

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CLOSING: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM ESTSahir 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 Shafey Kidwai (Aligarh)
Moderator – Surinder Deol
Host – Rajiv Paul

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6:00 PM – 7:00 PM ESTNovel 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
Moderator – Associate Professor Norman Sandridge, Howard University
Host – Vandana Narang

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9:00 PM – 10:00 PM ESTClosing Address: Vikram Chandra
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
Moderator – Mimi Mondal
Host – Manoj Singh

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Donations will be used for Covid-Relief