A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb
Drawing from his most recent book, A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb, author and Vassar College Professor of English Amitava Kumar speaks about "September 11 and its aftermath; the art and literature of terror; war and Islamophobia."
The 9/11 Commission Report called for a greater "exercise of imagination" on the part of the U.S. government. But what does that mean? In what ways has the state imagined the terrorist? And has the imagination of writers and artists been different from the imagination of the state?
The attacks of 9/11 and then the global war on terror have ushered a new, more precarious present, and a part of this contemporary scene is a world divided as much by radical Islam as it is by Islamophobia. How are we -- living in the West, separated from, but also bound intimately with, the East -- to hope for a better future?
Date: Thursday, January 13, 2011
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Rotary Centre for the Arts -- 421 Cawston Ave., Kelowna
About Amitava Kumar
Amitava Kumar is a writer and journalist born in Ara, Bihar. He grew up in the nearby town of Patna, famous for its corruption, crushing poverty and delicious mangoes. Currently, he is Professor of English at Vassar College.
Kumar is the author of Husband of a Fanatic (The New Press, 2005 and Penguin-India, 2004), Bombay-London-New York (Routledge and Penguin-India, 2002), and Passport Photos (University of California Press and Penguin-India, 2000). He has also written a book of poems, No Tears for the N.R.I. (Writers Workshop, Calcutta, 1996).
The novel Home Products was published in early 2007 and was short-listed for India's premier literary prize, the Crossword Book Award. It appeared in the U.S. under the title Nobody Does the Right Thing.
In early 2010, Picador-India bought his book Evidence of Suspicion, later published by Duke University Press as A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb. In his review of this book in the New York Times, Dwight Garner called it a "perceptive and soulful" meditation on "the cultural and human repercussions" of the global war on terror.
Husband of a Fanatic was an "Editors' Choice" book at the New York Times. Bombay-London-New York was on the list of "Books of the Year" in The New Statesman (UK). And Passport Photos won an "Outstanding Book of the Year" award from the Myers Program for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America.
Kumar serves on the editorial board of several publications and co-edits the web-journal Politics and Culture. His non-fiction and poetry have been published in The Nation, Harper's, Kenyon Review, New Statesman, Boston Review, Transition, American Prospect, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Toronto Review, Colorlines, Biblio, Outlook, Frontline, India Today, The Hindu, Himal, Herald, The Friday Times, The Times of India and a variety of other venues.
He is the script-writer and narrator of the prize-winning documentary film, Pure Chutney (1997) and also the more recent Dirty Laundry (2005).
An excerpt from Pure Chutney
Kumar's academic writing has appeared, among other places, in the following journals: Critical Inquiry, Cultural Studies, Critical Quarterly, College Literature, Race and Class, American Quarterly, Rethinking Marxism, Minnesota Review, Journal of Advanced Composition, Amerasia Journal andModern Fiction Studies.
He has been a Barach Fellow at the Wesleyan Writers Festival, and has received awards from the South Asian Journalists Association for three consecutive years. In addition, he has been awarded research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Yale University, SUNY-Stony Brook, Dartmouth College, and University of California-Riverside.
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