Open Fire: Rights, Radicalism, and Revolution

The SAWCC Literary Festival

Friday, September 23-Saturday, September 24, 2011

From the Middle East to the Midwest, revolution is spreading. Women have joined radicals in solidarity, even as their own rights come under fire by conservative elements. Some of these women are able to tell their stories from Madison, Sanaa, and Tahrir Square. Others are silenced, devalued, or (in the infamous case of a Syrian blogger) invented. Fact or fiction, real or imagined, told from the inside or the outside, narratives provoke, explore, critique, and—in some cases—prevent revolution. This literary festival is an exploration of the role of stories in political change.


Friday, September 23, 7-9pm

Authors Thrity Umrigar (The Weight of Heaven, The Space Between Us) and Tahmima Anam (A Golden Age, The Good Muslim) will read from their new works and discuss how their writing reflects issues of revolution and social change through themes of power, class, and gender. Followed by Q&A and booksigning.

@ Revolution Books
146 West 26th Street (btwn 6th and 7th Aves)
New York, NY 10001

$15 tickets in advance and at the door
$10 for students at the door (with student ID)

Saturday, September 24, 1-4:30pm

Panel discussions
@ Revolution Books

1-2pm: Sparking Revolution: Engaging Youth through Literature
Neesha Meminger (author, Jazz in Love)
Jyotsna Sreenivasan (
Marina Budhos (author, Tell Us We’re Home)
Moderated by Yesha Naik (YA/children’s librarian, Brooklyn Public Library)

2:15-3:15pm: Writing about Human Rights
Monisha Bajaj (author, Schooling for Social Change)
Nisha Varia (Human Rights Watch)
V.V. Ganeshananthan (author, Love Marriage)
Maniza Naqvi (author, On Air and Sarajevo Saturdays)
Moderated by Sunu Chandy (lawyer and poet)

3:30-4:30pm: The Personal Is Political: Writing about Social Justice in the Home
Priyanka Motaparthy (Human Rights Watch)
Fawzia Afzal-Khan (author, Lahore With Love: Growing Up with Girlfriends, Pakistani Style)
Zohra Saed (co-editor, One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature)
Moderated by Purvi Shah (author, Terrain Tracks)

6-8pm: Rapid-Fire Reading
South Asian women perform poetry, fiction, and spoken-word on the themes of rights, radicalism, and revolution. Featuring Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Sita Bhaskar, Marina Budhos, V.V. Ganeshananthan, Neesha Meminger, Yesha Naik, Vani Natarajan, Purvi Shah, Jyotsna Sreenivasan, and Mathangi Subramanian.

@ Bar 13
35 East 13th Street (at University Pl.)
New York, NY 10003
$5 at the door
(21+ only)

Images by SAWCCite Marcy Chevali

Hosted by Revolution Books; cosponsored by the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, NYU’s Wagner International Students Society (WISS), and NYU Wagner’s International Public Service Association (IPSA).
This event is funded in part by Poets & Writers, Inc. through public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and by the New York Council for the Humanities.