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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Celebrating Canadian South Asian literature

The Toronto Festival of South Asian Literature and the Arts 2011 (FSALA-11) will bring renowned Indian playwright Girish Karnad and other literary stalwarts to Toronto

Toronto: The second Toronto Festival of South Asian Literature and Arts (FSALA-11) will be held between September 30 and October 2, 2011.

GirishKarnad – one of India’s foremost playwrights of the 20th century, renowned for his plays such as Yayati, Tughlak and Naga-Mandala among several others – will be the main attraction at the festival where over 25 Canadian writers will participate.

Several writers from the subcontinent and the United States will also read and participate in several discussions. These include Meena Alexander (US), Kamini Dandapani (US), Mahesh Dattani (India), Asif Farrukhi (Pakistan), Neerav Patel (India), and Harish Narang (India).

FSALA-11 is a Canadian arts festival, whose purpose is to present to the public the works of writers, musicians, and other artists. The panels and lectures will discuss vital topics on Canadian and South Asian arts. It is as well a forum for the public to meet artists from across the country and for the artists to meet each other.

Special readings and recitals from the works of Rabindranath Tagore and Faiz Ahmed Faiz will also be held at the inaugural session of the festival. 2011 is Tagore’s sesquicentennial and Faiz’s centenary; former Governor General the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson will give a short welcome address.

On October 1, dance maestro Hari Krishnan’s dance troupe will perform Fallen Rain, following a reading by Girish Karnad from his recent autobiography. This is the only ticketed event of the festival and the tickets for the event are available on FSALA-11 website: www.fsala11.com 

Readers and participants include:

Canadian: Navtej Bharati (Windsor), Nandi Bhatia (London), Rana Bose (Montreal), Cheran (Toronto), Cyril Dabydeen (Ottawa), Ramabai Espinet (Toronto), Andrea Gunraj (Toronto), Sheniz Janmohamed (Toronto), Sally Jones (Toronto), Shaista Justin (Toronto), Surjeet Kalsey (Vancouver), Chelva Kanaganayakam (Toronto), Kwai Li (Toronto), Anand Mahadevan (Toronto), Rabindra Maharaj (Toronto), Ashok Mathur (Vancouver), Julie Mehta (Toronto), Ameen Merchant (Vancouver), Ananya Mukherjee (Toronto), Arun Mukherjee (Toronto), Uma Parameswaran (Winnipeg), Sase Persaud (Toronto, Florida), Ajmer Rode (Vancouver), Nuzhat Siddiqui (Toronto), Dalbir Singh (Toronto), Suwanda Sugunasiri (Toronto), Priscila Uppal (Toronto), Rahul Varma (Montreal), Padma Viswanathan (Toronto/US), Nalini Warriar (Quebec City), John van Burek (Toronto)

International: Meena Alexander (New York), Kamini Dandapani (New York), Mahesh Dattani (India), Asif Farrukhi (Pakistan), Girish Karnad (India), Harish Narang (India), Neerav Patel (India)

Scotiabank is the main sponsor of the event. The Canada Council for the Arts and the Writers’ Union of Canada have provided additional financial assistance to the festival. Other sponsors include Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Random House of Canada, The Writers Forum, Sheridan College and the Humber School for Creative and Performing Arts. FSALA also acknowledges the following sponsors – Anil Balolia, Chandaria Family, Iqbal and Zinnat Dewji, Azim Jeraj, Atul Tolia, and Anonymous Donors.

The festival will be held at The Munk School of Global Affairs and Trinity College are next to each other and centrally located in Toronto.

The three-day festival’s program is:

Friday, September 30:
Inaugural, readings and recitals from Tagore & Faiz
Discussion: Whither South Asian Drama in Canada?
Time: 3:00 to 4:00 PM
Venue: Combination Room, Trinity College
Participants: Nandi Bhatia, Sally Jones, John van Burek, Rahul Varma
Chair: Julie Mehta
Lecture: Mahesh Dattani
Time: 4:15 – 5:30 PM
Venue: Combination Room, Trinity College
Lecture: Mahesh Dattani

Formal Welcome
Time: 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Venue: Seeley Hall, Trinity College
Reading 1. Rabindra Maharaj
Reading 2. Kwai Li        
Faiz Ahmad Faiz Centennial: Recital
Tariq Hameed, accompanied by Nadeem Shah at Tabla
Rabindranath Tagore Sesquicentennial: Poetry Reading: Ananya Mukherjee

Saturday, October 1
Literary Sessions, Readings & Discussions, Art Exhibit
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM
Venue: Combination Room, Trinity College
Participants: Priscila Uppal, Sheniz Janmohamed, Uma Parameswaran, Ashok Mathur, Nalini Warriar
Chair: Suwanda Sugunasiri
Panel: The Problems of Translation and Audience
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM
Venue: Campbell Room, Munk School of Global Affairs
Participants: Ajmer Rode, Baidar Bakht, Neerav Patel, Harish Narang, Asif Farrukhi
Chair: Chelva Kanaganayakam        
Discussion: Is there a case for a Canadian South Asian literary identity? Or does one think of a national or secular literary identity. Whither Multiculturalism?
Time: 11.30 AM – 1:00 PM
Participants: Priscila Uppal, Sheniz Janmohamed, Uma Parameswaran, Ashok Mathur, Nalini Warriar
Chair: Suwanda Sugunasiri
Chair: Rana Bose
Readings in Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, and Tamil
Time: 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Nuzhat Siddiqui, Navtej Bharati, Cheran, Arun Mukherjee
Chair: Harish Narang
Time: 2:00 – 3:15 PM
Venue: Campbell Room Munk School of Global Affairs
Participants: Meena Alexander, Asif Farrukhi, Neerav Patel
Readings & Discussion: South Asian Canadian Literature: Concerns of a New Generation
Time: 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Venue: Combination Room, Trinity College
Participants: Padma Viswanathan, Anand Mahadevan, Ameen Merchant
Chair: Shaista Justin
Readings & Discussion: The Indo-Caribbean Phenomenon
Time: 4:00 – 5:30 PM
Venue: Campbell Room, Munk School of Global Affairs
Ramabai Espinet, Cyril Dabydeen, Andrea Gunraj, Sase Persaud
Chair: Rabindra Maharaj
Evening (ticketed) event
Lecture & Presentation: Girish Karnad
Dance recital: Fallen Rain, inDANCE under maestro Hari Krishnan
Time: 7:00 – 9:15 PM
Venue: Robert Gill Theatre, University of Toronto

Sunday, October 2
Readings, interviews, music, book launch

Venue for all events: Campbell Room, Munk School of Global Affairs
On-stage interview & classical vocal concert
Time: 12:00 – 1:00 PM
Participants: Girish Karnad, Mahesh Dattani, interviewed by Dalbir Singh
Classical vocal concert: Kamini Dandapani
On-stage interview
Time: 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Participants: Meena Alexander, Neerav Patel
Book launch
Time: 3:00 PM
Cheran: You Cannot Turn Away
(bilingual Tamil/English poetry);
Sasenarine Persaud: Lantana Strangling Ixora (poetry);
Surjeet Kalsey: Colours of My Heart
(poetry in English);
Suwanda Sugunasiri: Untouchable Woman's Odyssey (novel)

For more information: