Kolkata in her maiden collection of shorts - GARIAHAT JUNCTION


Thursday, 20 October, 2016 - 15:30 to 16:30

In this lecture, Dr Rituparna Roy will speak about the presence of Kolkata in her maiden collection of shorts - GARIAHAT JUNCTION. It is a collection of ten stories, of contemporary Indian women who have reached a critical juncture in their lives. Set primarily in post liberalized, post-millennial Kolkata, it mostly explores the lives of middle-class Bengali women in or from the city. Kolkata is just not a backdrop in GARIAHAT JUNCTION; it is also one of the characters, one of the threads that bind the stories together. And it functions both as a distinct metropolis, as well as a microcosm of India. 

In the lecture, Roy will read extracts from three stories in the collection - tracing through them the trajectory of the city, as it impinged on personal lives, from the 1970s to the early years of the new millennium.

The stories

Kabita’s PhD thesis, the culmination of her long struggle for identity while battling dire poverty, gets unwittingly burnt along with some ‘forbidden literature’ during the Naxal revolution in Calcutta in 1971 (A Wasted Dream); 11-year-old Pakhee feels the first pain of her clipped wings when her beloved pair of swings in the playground is dismantled to save her and other young girls from the prying eyes of neighbouring lecherous men - the beneficiaries of a 1980s ‘basti rehabilitation’ drive in Calcutta (Vanilla Sky); Katha - a young lecturer who is in a long-distance marriage, and misses her globe-trotting software-consultant husband - is stranded at Gariahat Junction (in South Kolkata) during a traffic jam, unable to decide where to go (Gariahat Junction).

The speaker

Dr Rituparna Roy lives in Amsterdam and teaches at Leiden University College (LUC), The Hague. An alumna of Presidency College and Calcutta University, she formerly taught English Literature at Basantidevi College, Kolkata, India; and has been a Postdoctoral Fellow at The International Institute for Asian Studies (IIAS) in Leiden. She is the author of two books, South Asian Partition Fiction in English: From Khushwant Singh to Amitav Ghosh (2010); and a co-edited ICAS volume, Writing India Anew: Indian English Fiction 2000-2010 (2013). Writing is a passion for Roy that has, over the last decade, extended beyond the realm of the academic. She writes an occasional column on India for the IIAS Newsletter; blogs about Indian Cinema and her life in Netherlands; and is currently working on an epistolary novel. Her recent online publications include articles and interviews of writers in ‘The Byword’, ‘Our Frontcover’, ‘Scroll’, and ‘The Wire’. www.royrituparna.com


Attendance is free of charge. Please register in advance via: h.m.van.der.minne@iias.nl

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