When Writing is the Heart of It: A Reading and Conversation with Akhil Katyal


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Writing Intensiveness is one of the eight features of Krea’s Interwoven approach to a Liberal Arts education. Once trained in it, what can the intensity of writing enable? As an interwoven activity, the CWP is inviting you to a reading and conversation with Akhil Katyal.  Anannya Dasgupta will request him to read out from his various works on some of the following topics and discuss his responses. Here is a list of questions that will be covered in addition to others that the participants have.

Writing as a poet, scholar and translator – how do these different forms of creative and academic writing inform each other? Could you read something from your book Doubleness of Sexuality, a poem from one of your several collections, and an excerpt from A City Happens in Love (Tr. of Ravish Kumar’s Ishq Mein Sheher Hona) to illustrate your response?

You are a queer activist. What does it mean to be one? How is a queer activist different from a feminist? What are some of your main concerns about gender and power as you formulate it? How do you see gender in the spectrum of other political inequities? Does writing help you think through activism?

Would you consider translation to be a form of activism? Would you consider love and friendship to be forms translatable to political resistance? And may I, in this context, request you to read your translation of Amrita Pritam’s poem “main tainu phir milangi”

Writing and activism are rooted in space – its history, its unfolding present, its everydayness and its moments in rupturing exceptions. You have been called a Delhi poet. How does the city fuel your creativity? And how has the pandemic and the lockdown changed your engagement with the city?

You teach MA students at AUD in the school of Culture and Creative Expressions. You teach courses in theory and you teach creative writing. Having moved away from the work of traditional English departments, how do you approach these courses? What freedom of creative pedagogies has this allowed you?  What is the classroom to you?

Creative work needs to be publicized as it is put out, for it to travel and reach its audiences, something social media would be useful for. But social media is no longer just a medium of transporting the news of creative work to readers/ audiences. Could you share your experience of conventional publishing and the ways in which social media now participates in the production and sharing of creative and even scholarly work? 

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When Writing is the Heart of It: A Reading and Conversation with Akhil Katyal

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