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Hirsh Sawhney

Hirsh Sawhney is the author of a forthcoming novel, South Haven, and the editor of a fiction anthology, Delhi Noir. He has written for The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, and The TLS. He teaches at Wesleyan University.

Health Care in Crisis: NYC Hospitals Fail Victims of Rape

Just prior to the recent, momentous March for Women’s Lives in Washington, DC, the City Council issued an alarming report documenting the impact the attack on abortion rights is having here in New York City.

Down in Jamaica: A Journey to the Calabash International Literary Festival

The smell of wet garbage and puke permeates the 3:30 a.m. West Village air. Crossing the street to avoid a tipsy homeless man, I pass by some students jamming on a discarded piano, trying to conjure up the artistic frivolity and earnestness that has long since disappeared from this pocket of Manhattan.

In Conversation

PANKAJ MISHRA with Hirsh Sawhney

For the past 20 years, author Pankaj Mishra has been exposing how India’s two main political parties have marginalized ethnic and religious minorities and failed to alleviate poverty in an era of rapid economic growth.

QURRATULAIN HYDER: Voice of the South Asian Frontier

Hyder’s fiction reveals that the barriers separating seemingly distinct groups—Christians, Muslims, and Hindus; Europeans and Asians—are in fact hazy.

In Conversation

Blair’s House of Cards: Clare Short with Hirsh Sawhney

Erudite and engaged, Clare Short has been a member of the UK Parliament since 1983. She has been one of the most vociferous critics of both the Iraq War and the Blair government’s ongoing support for it.

In Conversation

A View from Latin America: Jorge Ramos with Hirsh Sawhney

More incisive than Dan Rather, more charming than Peter Jennings, Mexican-born Jorge Ramos is Spanish-language television’s celebrity talking head. An anchor at Univision, the fifth most-watched television network in the United States, Ramos is also a columnist and the author of several books, including The Latino Wave: How Hispanics Will Choose the Next President

In Conversation

Pankaj Mishra with Hirsh Sawhney

India’s pursuit of superpowerdom has been cheered on by the US media as well as the country’s own mainstream press, but writer Pankaj Mishra’s powerful portraits of the subcontinent pierce through this chauvinistic fog.

In Conversation

India: A View from Below Aravind Adiga with Hirsh Sawhney

The homes of middle class and wealthy Indians are staffed by teams of servants who cater to their employers’ every need. Born in poor states like Bihar or countries like Nepal and Bangladesh, these live-in drivers, cooks and cleaners often work twelve-hour days and seven-day weeks.


Poppy is responsible for an astounding 30-50% of Afghanistan’s GDP, a fact rarely discussed in media coverage of the war there. Last autumn, however, allegations about Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Afghan president’s brother, threw the war-ravaged Central Asian nation’s drug problem into the limelight.

From Buddha to Adam

After first reading Hanif Kureishi’s new novel The Body, I thought it to be an anomaly in a career marked by iconoclastic writing. After all, the book is a work of science fiction and at times it reads like a thriller.

In Conversation

Meera Nair

Meera Nair’s debut collection Video (Random House 2003) is set in modern-day India, Bangladesh and the United States. In these 10 stories, Nair’s characters are affected by Hindu-Muslim communal violence, politics, social reform, and above all, different forms of longing. In the collection’s title story,

The Ganguli Bunch

Jhumpa Lahiri, The Namesake (Houghton Mifflin 2003). A crowd buzzed with anticipation at the Barnes and Noble in Union Square on an evening in mid-September. Jhumpa Lahiri was going to open her book tour here, promoting her first novel, The Namesake. Among the typical mix of Indophiles, South Asian Americans and book nerds, there were lawyers, teachers and students of all ages.

In Conversation

JOSHUA HENKIN with Hirsh Sawhney

In Joshua Henkin’s latest novel, The World Without You (Pantheon, 2012) journalist Leo Frankel has been killed while covering the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. One year after his death, when Leo’s family gathers to commemorate his passing, his mother announces she is separating from his father.

A View from Queens

In Las Cucarachas, author Yongsoo Park enters the consciousness of Peter Kim, an urban pre-teenager whose life is defined by stickball, racial boundaries and fist fights. The son of Korean parents, Peter is an ordinary twelve-year-old in 1980s Elmhurst who is crass and excessively hormonal, and who has an inevitable disdain for authority.

In Conversation

Patrick Phillips in conversation with Hirsh Sawhney

Poet Patrick Phillips’s latest book, Elegy for a Broken Machine: poems, is a graceful meditation on grief and memory. The poems in this volume offer unflinching perspectives on illness and aging, and yet they are permeated by a subtle optimism, wisdom, and wit.

In Conversation

Hanif Kureishi with Hirsh Sawhney

The world was introduced to Hanif Kureishi in 1985 when the film My Beautiful Laundrette debuted. The screenplay he wrote for it shed fresh light on class, race and sexuality in Thatcher’s London and was nominated for an Oscar.

In Conversation

Siddhartha Deb with Hirsh Sawhney

The mainstream media has its cyclopic eye on South Asia, broadcasting images of nerdy brown people stealing office jobs or the destitute and emaciated awaiting alms.

In Conversation

Suketu Mehta with Hirsh Sawhney

Brooklyn-based Suketu Mehta, a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, spent the late 1990s becoming intimate with the gangsters and zealots responsible for the violence, as well as the slum dwellers, cops, bar girls, and movie stars who make India’s thriving commercial capital function.

On Michael Lally

Michael Lally, author of over twenty books of poetry, has experienced much of what twentieth-century North America has had to offer—discrimination, Hollywood, sexual revolution and war.

Prose Culture

Literary fiction by young women is dominated by Zadies and Jhumpas, voices lauded as fresh because of their chic hybridity. In a twist of our times, the writing of Heather McGowan, a white Ivy Leaguer, might be more innovative and iconoclastic than many contemporary writers who allegedly transgress literary convention.

The End to Mishra

Pankaj Mishra and his latest work, An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004)

Kareem’s Got Other Skills

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar stars as the protagonist and narrator of Imad Rahman’s debut collection of stories I Dream of Microwaves. He’s a struggling method actor who drinks bourbon like water and has a predilection for the word “dude.” When he’s not portraying ethnic criminals on America’s Most Wanted or struggling for the lead in a musical version of Apocalypse Now for dinner theater, he works in an assortment of jobs that call into question his dignity, but never his dedication or integrity as an actor.

Tabla Beat Scientist: Karsh Kale

It’s a Wednesday night at Manhattan’s smoky Kush bar, and off in a corner spinning music is resident DJ Karsh Kale.

Pedro Confronts the Ghosts of Franco

In Pedro Almodóvar’s 1983 film Dark Habits, a nightclub singer named Yolanda decides to kick her dope habit in a convent. But the nuns in charge of her rehabilitation are anything but pious. One is a lesbian heroin addict, another trips on acid, and a third writes smutty novels.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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