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I Come To Your Country, Name Me: Asian/American Author Reading Series

09/24/2014 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

The Guild and the Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago will present three Asian authors on Wednesday, September 24. In conjunction with the University of Illinois–Chicago’s Kriti Festival—a celebration of South Asian and Asian Diaspora Arts and Literature in Chicago—we present Rachel DeWoskin, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Deepak Unnikrishnaan.

Dipika Mukherjee, Curator, states: “‘I Come To Your Country, Name Me'” will be a creative exploration of Expatriation and Migration in the Asian diaspora. Asia has many communities and languages and cultures, so we will speak in anecdotes instead of reductive generalities. Rachel DeWoskin will read from her life as the megastar of a Chinese soap opera in Beijing, then read from her new book based in Shanghai. Mary Anne Mohanraj, in her memoir, discusses bisexuality, taboos and going home to a discontented Sri Lanka which is no longer home. Deepak’s writing is grounded in Abu Dhabi where he grew up as the son of Indian expatriates, but home has been America for more than a decade. All three readers live and work in Chicago.”


Rachel DeWRachel DeWoskin’s fourth book, the critically acclaimed Blind, was published by Penguin in August 2014. Her novel Big Girl Small (FSG 2011) received the 2012 American Library Association’s Alex Award and was named one of the top 3 books of 2011 by Newsday. DeWoskin’s memoir, Foreign Babes in Beijing (WW Norton 2005) about the years she spent in China as the unlikely star of a Chinese soap opera, has been published in six countries, optioned first by Paramount for a feature film and then by HBO to be developed into a television series, for which DeWoskin co-wrote the pilot episode. Her debut novel Repeat After Me (The Overlook Press, 2009), which follows the unexpected romance between a young American teacher and her Chinese student, won a Foreward Magazine Book of the Year Award. She has written essays and articles for Vanity FairThe Sunday Times Magazine of London, Teachers and Writers, and anthologies including Found: Requiem for a Paper Bag, and Wanderlust. Her poems have appeared in journals including Ploughshares, Seneca Review, New Delta Review, Nerve Magazine and The New Orleans Review. She teaches fiction and memoir at the University of Chicago.


Mary AnneMary Anne Mohanraj is author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins), The Stars Change (Circlet Press) and ten other titles. Bodies in Motion was a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards, a USA Today Notable Book, and has been translated into six languages.  The Stars Change is a Lambda-award-finalist science fiction novella.  Previous titles include Aqua Erotica and Wet (two erotica anthologies edited for Random House),Kathryn in the City and The Classics Professor (two erotic choose-your-own-adventure novels, Penguin), The Best of Strange Horizons, the collection, Without a Map, Aqueduct Press, co-authored with Nnedi Okorafor, The Poet’s Journey (picture book), and A Taste of Serendib (a Sri Lankan cookbook).

Mohanraj founded the Hugo-nominated magazine, Strange Horizons, and serves as editor-in-chief of Jaggery, a South Asian literary journal ( She was Guest of Honor at WisCon 2010, will be Guest of Honor at Maneki Neko Con, received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, and won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose.  She serves as Executive Director of both DesiLit ( and the Speculative Literature Foundation (, and directs the Kriti Festival of South Asian arts and literature ( Mohanraj has taught at the Clarion SF/F workshop, and is Clinical Assistant Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


DeepakUnnikrishnan.photoDeepak Unnikrishnan is a writer from Abu Dhabi. His first set of short stories, Coffee Stains in a Camel’s Teacup was published by Vijitha Yapa Publications (Colombo, Sri Lanka). His fiction and non-fiction has appeared in Drunken Boat, Himal Southasian, Bound Off, The State Vol IV: Dubai, the art project  Autopoiesis (, and in the anthology Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana (Zubaan Books, India). He has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where on scholarship he completed the manuscript for his first work of fiction set in the Gulf,  excerpts from which are forthcoming in Guernica. He is the winner of the 2014 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award.






Dipika Mukherjee is a writer and sociolinguist. Her debut novel, Thunder Demons (Gyaana 2011), was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize. She lives in Chicago and teaches at Northwestern University.









KRITI logo


Kriti is the Hindi word for “creation,” and Chicago’s Kriti Festival was launched in 2005 to celebrate South Asian and diaspora literature and arts. In 2005, 2007, and 2009, more than thirty writers, artists, performers, editors, and agents came to Chicago to share their work with the general public, through panel discussions, readings, theatrical, music, and dance performances, workshops, and more.

The festival returns in September 2014, and will be hosted at the University of Illinois at Chicago, co-sponsored by the English Department, the Asian Studies Program, and the Asian American Studies Program.




The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s (SAIC) Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing program is for writers of all genres—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and playwriting—as well as for writers and artists who work with both image and text.









7:00 PM - 8:30 PM


SAIC, LeRoy Neiman Center
37 S Wabash Ave, 1st floor
Chicago, 60602 United States
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