South Asian lit festivals have grown over time. As the population thrives in large metros like Houston and Seattle, South Asian book-readers stake their ground and share voices which go beyond the professional brilliance of the community. All that glitters is not gold. There is real pain felt in the community as immigrants.
Pain can be recorded and promoted in the form of art. I attended the Houston edition of the famous Jaipur Literature Festival. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni of “Arranged Marriage” fame along with Mira Jacob highlighted a diverse program. Both writers took decades to publish their first notable books. They were activists addressing community issues long before they became writers.
The festival also featured longtime Bollywood film actress Manisha Koirala who emerged in the 90s. She shared her first book, Healed, a memoir of how she overcame cancer. Cancer is pervasive, yet it’s something South Asian survivors struggle to handle publicly. Manisha brings forth her story and inspires anyone on the same journey.
What I’ve learned from attending these events is that writing is hard. These activities inspire me to read more and share things online. Blogging helps me find my own voice.