Technologies of the Self has received a generous wave of attention over the last month with interviews at NPR affiliate WSHU Radio and altMuslimah (via Blue Minaret Journal) and an excerpt at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins. Meanwhile, McClatchyDC covered my McSweeney’s winning short story “Forty-two Reasons” and The Muslim Protagonist Symposium at Columbia University.
Speaking of which, The Muslim Protagonist on April 16 was an amazing experience. I spoke with Ayesha Siddiqi and Hind Makki on the “Futures” panel.
Out of all the wonderful discussions that arose from the brilliant theme of “(Re)writing Home: Shifting Sites of Belonging,” Abdi Latif Ega’s response to Hisham Aidi’s question about “the burden of representation” was my favorite remark, because it felt the most true and ran powerfully against the refrain throughout the day that we should just write “(universal) stories” rather than focus on our identities or heritages: “I don’t consider it a burden. My work is political… Writing is fighting. In a world without categories, racism…, you can write a universal story… But I don’t think it’s really an option for a person of color to have enough agency to circumvent the institutional and systemic oppression and power that in every way is there. I don’t think it’s a burden. It’s something I feel is necessary — a calling.”
The night before, I had launched Technologies of the Self at one of my favorite bookstores, McNally Jackson, hosted by one of my favorite people, Sahar Ullah, to a packed crowd – with many standing – of yet more of my favorite people. It meant the world and warmed my heart to see so many friends from across the years come out for the discussion and reading. It was a great crowd. I hope the story affects readers and that we can all continue to support young writers telling stories from the edge. Thank you Javier Molea at McNally for the support all these years and for making this happen, and Anan Suleiman Barqawi for the excellent camerawork. If you missed it, check out the video below:
A week later, I had the pleasure of speaking via Skype at The New School’s Bureau of Imaginative Proposals conference on poetics and politics. It was a fascinating, stimulating discussion on negotiating words and power.
Meanwhile, keep a look out – I have stories coming out this month in Lightspeed and Catapult.
And check out the following: Julie Dash’s lost interview with Octavia Butler, New Statesman‘s piercing critique of elitism and racism in Oxbridge admissions, Ibn Sina’s supernova observations, Usman Malik’s interview at Islam and Sci-Fi, and Ali Eteraz’s interview at City Lights.