BIOS

Conference Theme: Between Lines, Beyond Borders
Saturday October 18th 10:30-11:15 Panel 1—Over Here, Over There: Nuances of Cultural Exchange*

Panelists:
Shani Mootoo, Marina Budhos, & Lee Siegel
Moderator: Dhooleka Raj

Panel Topic Description

How do cultural languages and contexts create or distort the business of everyday life such as love or romance? How do perceptions of who or what is Indian impact the perceiver, the perceived and the interaction between them? What does it mean to be Indian vs. Indo-hyphen, for example Indo-Caribbean? Is there a difference in “Indian identity” across different geographic contexts such as the US versus Canada or is it all the same? Our panelists explore the nuances of identity expressed from various vantage points such as “Over Here” and “Over there.” *This panel was inspired by New York's "OVER HERE" festival, a two-day artists' exchange originally conceived collaboratively by The Asian American Writers' Workshop and the South Asian Women's Creative Collective in March 2003.


Moderator Bio

Dr. Dhooleka Sarhadi Raj

Dr. Dhooleka Sarhadi Raj is a Fellow-Commoner, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge and Principal Health Research Scientist at Battelle Memorial Institute. Dr. Raj’s research addresses ethnicity and identity, cultural change amongst migrant families, and nation state policies towards ethnic minorities. She is author of Where are you from? Middle Class Migrants in the Modern World (2003, University of California Press), and has published articles and given talks on Indian immigrant issues and refugees to audiences around the world, including UNESCO, Government of Canada, Government of India and the Metropolis Project. She has conducted fieldwork in Canada, England and India. Most recently she was a Visiting Scholar in Women’s Studies at Harvard and previously was a Fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Her post-doctoral fellowship was held at The Center of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge. Since joining Battelle in 2002, Dr. Raj has worked on public policy issues related to bio-terrorism, youth violence, and issues of strategic coordination and collaboration in public health. Dr. Raj currently works on ethnic disparities in healthcare delivery, and is focusing on domestic violence in South Asian American Families. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and is listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who in the World (2001, 2002, 2003).


Panelist Bios:

Marina Budhos
In her own words:

I was born in Queens, New York City, the child of an Indo-Guyanese father and a Jewish-American mother who met in the 1950s when my father worked for the Indian Consulate in New York City. The community I grew up in, which was built for U.N. families, was an oasis for families seeking to raise their children in a multi-racial and multicultural environment. This, along with the world of Indo- Caribbean and Indian friends who surrounded my family, profoundly shaped who I am and what I write about. I am the author of the novel, House of Waiting. Another novel, The Professor of Light, and Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers was published in 1999. I have written fiction and nonfiction for numerous publications, including Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, Dissent and elsewhere. I have been awarded a Rona Jaffe Award for Women Writers, and was a Fullbright Scholar in India, during which I wrote about the rise of Hindu fundamentalism in India for The Nation. I have also covered international news for Ms., and recently received an EMMA (Exceptional Media Merit Award) for an article about sex tourism to Asia. I live in New York City with my husband.
Marina Budhos has taught writing and literature at a variety of settings, such as Vassar College, City College MFA Program, Eugene Lang College, Goddard College MFA Program, the Writers' Voice, and elsewhere. She has also worked as an editor and contributing writer for numerous organizations, such as the San Francisco Arts Commission; Ms. Magazine; the National Council for Research on Women; the Forum on Women in Higher Education; and Careervision magazine

For more Information go to:
www.marinabudhos.com


Shani Mootoo

Shani Mootoo was born in Ireland in 1958 and raised in Trinidad. Her writing has appeared in many anthologies and her first collection of short fiction, was published in 1993 to enthusiastic reviews. Mootoo is also a multimedia visual artist and video-maker whose work has been exhibited internationally. She was a contributing editor for CBC Radio's "This Morning". Mootoo wrote her first collection of short stories entitled Out on Main Street. Her second book, Cereus Blooms at Night, is her first novel. Mootoo presently lives in Edmonton and teach Creative Writing in the English Department at the University of Alberta, which is situated in Edmonton. She has just finished her second novel which should be released in the fall of 2004. Her work is very much a search for the origin of desire, which very much includes the origin of love, and this search leads a reader through stories which are subtly embedded  with issues of  race, gender, sexuality.


"Mootoo is delighted to be called a 'Canadian' writer, although she was born in Ireland, raised in Trinidad and is of East Indian ancestry. Mootoo focuses on issues of authenticity and identity in both of her written works. She "exposes the uncertainty of the hybrid individual" and "she explores a variety of situations in which her characters are pressed to display a prescribed cultural authenticity both by individuals from within the same culture and from those who are clearly outsiders" (Dias)


Lee Siegel

Lee Siegel was born in Los Angeles California in 1945. He studied fine arts at the Columbia University in New York and wrote his dissertation on Sanskrit in Oxford. Since 1976 he has been a Professor of Indian Religions at the Department of Religious Studies at The University of Hawaii. He is author of Love and Other Games of Chance and Love In A Dead Language.

For more Information go to:
http://www.rediff.com/news/1999/jun/02us2.htm or http://www.asiasource.org/arts/siegel.cfm


Saturday October 18th 11:30-12:45 Panel Two—Visions, Violence & Transformation

Panelists: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Kamila Shamsie and Madhusree Mukerjee
Moderator: Christine So

Panel Topic Description

Whether geographic or psychic, transformation often requires vision and involves a certain violence. Our panelists explore issues such as the making of a nation and national mythology, rebellion and resistance in gender and/or class, and the juxtaposition of assassination and romance. In a world where poets emerge at times as lovers and at times as murderers of age-old ideas and time held traditions, our panelists meander through the politics and political ramifications of writing that bespeaks vision and violence.

Moderator Bio:

Christine So received her B.A. (1989) from Dartmouth College, and her M.A. (1990) and Ph.D. (1998) in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. Her major fields of interest include contemporary Asian American literature, race and popular culture, theories of consumption, and the intersections between Asian American culture and larger institutional and national narratives. She has published in MELUS: The Journal of the Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States, and is currently completing a book project on the consumption of Asian American culture in the era of global capitalism.


Panelist Bios

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is an award-winning author and poet. Her work is widely known, as she has been published in over 50 magazines, including the Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and her writing has been included in over 30 anthologies. Her works have been translated into 11 languages, including Dutch, Hebrew and Japanese.

She was born in India and lived there until 1976, until she was nineteen, at which point she left Calcutta and came to the United States. She continued her education in the field of English by receiving a Master's degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

To earn money for her education, she held many odd jobs, including babysitting, selling merchandise in an Indian boutique, slicing bread in a bakery, and washing instruments in a science lab. At Berkeley, she lived in the International House and worked in the dining hall. She briefly lived in Illinois, Ohio and Texas, but has spent most of her life in Northern California, which she often writes about.

In 1991, she, along with a group of friends, founded Maitri, a helpline for South Asian women that works with victims of domestic violence and other abusive situations. She continues to serve on the Maitri board.

In 2000, Divakaruni was one of the judges for the prestigious National Book Award.
Two of her books, The Mistress of Spices and Sister of My Heart, have been optioned by filmmakers Gurinder Chadha (for an English film) and Suhasini Mani Ratnam (for a Tamil TV serial) respectively. Books include: The Conch Bearer, Neela: Victory Song, Vine of Desir, The Unknown Errors of Our Lives, Sister of My Heart, The Mistress of Spices, Arranged Marriage. Her poetry includes: Leaving Yuba City, Black Candle, The Reason for Nasturtiums. She now teaches at the University of Houston in the Creative Writing Program and is doing activist work with a Houston group named Asians Against Domestic Abuse.


Awards
Chitra's work has been included in over 30 anthologies, including Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize Anthology. Her book of short stories, Arranged Marriage, has won critical acclaim and the 1996 American Book Award, the Bay Area Book Reviewers and PEN Oakland awards for fiction. She has won over 18 literary awards which are listed on her website.
For Further Information see: www.chitradivakaruni.com


Madhusree Mukerjee

Before winning a Guggenheim fellowship to work on her book The Land of Naked People, MADHUSREE MUKERJEE was an editor for Scientific American. For centuries the Andaman Islands, an archipelago off the coast of Burma in the Bay of Bengal, were feared as the enclaves of cannibals. The isolated and long-besieged Andamanese, who may well be descendents of early humans who settled in Australia and southeast Asia 60,000 years ago, are not man-eaters, but they are hostile to outsiders, a stance Mukerjee, a former Scientific American editor who secured a Guggenheim fellowship to study this unique world, comes to understand and respect. Engaging, erudite, and wily, Mukerjee uses the sprightly mode of travel writing with great irony as she chronicles the islands' cruel history of invasion and exploitation. Colonized by the British, occupied by the Japanese during World War II, and turned over to India in 1947, the Andamans suffered all the traumas of conquest from violence to alien diseases to environmental decimation to the loss of traditional ways of life and languages. Insightfully portraying today's islanders, Mukerjee expresses boundless admiration for their resilience, reminding readers that ancient and successful cultures can teach us a great deal about survival.
Donna Seaman Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved.


Kamila Shamsie


Kamila Shamsie was born in Karachi, in 1973, and grew up there before coming to America for her BA (Hamilton College) and MFA (UMass Amherst), both in creative writing.

Her first novel, "In the City by the Sea" was accepted for publication while she was still at UMass, and was published in England and India in 1998. It was short-listed for the John Llewelyn Rhys/Mail on Sunday award in the U.K and won the Prime Minister's Award for Literature in Pakistan in 1999.

Her second novel, 'Salt and Saffron' has been published in the U.S, the U.K, Pakistan and Italy. Her latest and third novel, Kartography, offers a boisterous exploration of Pakistani cultural identity in London and Karachi.

Kamila Shamsie comes from three generations of literary women. She has just been named an Orange Prize "writer for the 21st century" - and she's only 28.Her mother, Muneeza Shamsie, is a critic, journalist and short story writer, who edited the anthology 'A Dragonfly in the Sun' for Oxford University Press (1997); 'Dragonfly' has been referred to as the definitive collection of poetry and fiction in English by Pakistani writers. Kamila's grandmother, Jahanara Habibullah, is also a writer -- her memoirs (written in English, translated in Urdu) about courtly life in the state of Rampur, pre-partition, will be published by OUP later this year. The Indian novelist and short story writer, Attia Hosein ('Sunlight on a Broken Column' and 'Phoenix Fled') was Kamila's great-aunt. Kamila started writing at the age of 11, and hasn't ever really stopped. Since graduating from UMass (1998) she has been dividing her time between London and Karachi, though she is presently teaching Creative Writing at Hamilton College in New York State.
For Further Information see:
http://www.umiacs.umd.edu/users/sawweb/sawnet/books/kamila_shamsie.html
http://www.saja.org/shamsie.html


Saturday October 18th 2:30-3:45 Panel 3: Beyond the Borders of Fact and Fiction

Panelists:
William Dalrymple, Thalassa Ali, Gary Worthington
Moderator: Jeffery Paine

Panel Topic Description

Westerners have been traveling to the subcontinent for years, often challenging their thoughts and assumptions about the world. What lessons can we learn from the centuries of interaction between “the west” and the Subcontinent? What psychological underpinnings and subconscious motivations reveal themselves in the personal accounts of prominent figures of the past who’ve traveled to India? When reading these personal accounts, should the modern reader concern himself with fact or fiction? How can readers read between the lines in order to understand the writer’s personal voyage outside him/her self? Can an exploration of history through historical fiction yield truths? What does the process of writing an historical novel entail? Our panelists explore 400 years of South Asian history from the Mughal Era to Partition in the attempts to redefine the clash of civilizations.


Moderator Bio:

Jeffery Paine

Jeffery Paine is contributing editor, and was for many years literary editor, of the Wilson Quarterly at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and was a judge of the Pulitzer Prize,. He has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Republic, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and various literary periodicals. He has taught at Princeton University, the New School for Social Research, and the Volksuniversiteit Amsterdam. He lives in Washington, D.C.
To read about his book go to: http://hallasianhistory.com/asia/292.shtml

Father India explores the life - changing influence of the sub-continent on western ideas of modernity by narrating the curious, spellbinding stories of a succession of twentieth century Europeans and Americans. These major cultural figures - including Lord Curzon, Annie Besant, E.M. Forster, Carl Jung, William Butler yeats, V.S. Naipaul , Christopher Isherwood, martin Luther King, Jr., among others - acted out their most secret dreams in India.


Panelist Bios:

William Dalrymple


William Dalrymple was born in Scotland and brought up on the shores of the Firth of Forth. He wrote the highly acclaimed bestseller In Xanadu when he was twenty-two. The book won the 1990 Yorkshire Post Best First Work Award and a Scottish Arts Council Spring Book Award; it was also short-listed for the John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize. In 1989 Dalrymple moved to Delhi where he lived for six years researching his second book, City of Djinns, which won the 1994 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award. From the Holy Mountain, his acclaimed study of the demise of Christianity in its Middle Eastern homeland, was awarded the Scottish Arts Council Autumn Book Award for 1997; it was also short-listed for the 1998 Thomas Cook Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Duff Cooper Prize. A collection of his writings about India, TheAge of Kali, was published in 1998.
William Dalrymple is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the Royal Asiatic Society, and in 2002 was awarded the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society for his ‘outstanding contribution to travel literature’. He wrote and presented the television series Stones of the Raj and Indian Journeys, which won the Grierson Award for Best Documentary Series at BAFTA in 2002. His Radio 4 series on the history of British spirituality and mysticism, The Long Search, recent won the 2002 Sandford St Martin Prize for Religious Broadcasting and was described by the judges as 'thrilling in its brilliance... near perfect radio.' He is married to the artist Olivia Fraser, and they have three children. They now divide their time between London and Delhi.
For more Information go to: 
http://www.williamdalrymple.uk.com/index.html


Thalassa Ali


Thalassa Ali was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1940. After receiving her bachelor's degree from Radcliffe College in 1962, she married a young businessman from Lahore, Pakistan, moved to that country, and fell in love with it. She spent the next twelve years in Karachi and Lahore, the last three of them as a young widow, raising her two children alone and carrying on her deceased husband's businesses.
After resettling in Massachusetts with her children in 1974, she became a stockbroker. For the next fifteen years she worked at various investment houses, successfully managing money for individual clients. Although her roots are American, Ali was unwilling to let go of the country where she had left her heart. While working as a broker she maintained her ties to Pakistan, returning there with her children as often as she could. She now visits there every two years.
Raised as an Episcopalian, Ali did not change her religion while she lived in Pakistan, although she dreamed of finding someone who could show her the path of esoteric Islam. While visiting Karachi in 1983, nine years after her return to the US, she met Sayed Akhlaque Husain, the leader of the Tauhidia mystic brotherhood. With Husain as her teacher, she converted to Islam.
Ali has collected books on 19th Century India for 26 years, with the intention of writing about that time and place. When her children were born, she left the investment business and turned to writing.
For more Information go to:
http://thalassaali.com/


Gary Worthington

Gary Worthington’s books include the epic historical novels India Treasures (TimeBridges, 2001), also published in South Asia by Penguin India as The Mangarh Chronicles (2002); and the newly published sequel, India Fortunes (TimeBridges, 2003). His articles have appeared in Traveler’s India magazine and elsewhere.
Of India Treasures/The Mangarh Chronicles, a review in The Statesman of New Delhi said, “Worthington has wonderfully captured the mystique and adventure-soaked atmosphere of Rajasthan, with its golden forts and the awe-inspiring desert. A delight to read.”
In each book, a treasure hunt through a Rajasthan fortress during the 1970s Emergency weaves together seven novellas of earlier times. India Treasures depicts the Aryan incursions and Indus civilization of c. 1500 B.C., the Buddha, Emperor Ashoka, a painter of the Ajanta cave murals, Prithviraj Chauhan, the Sultanate of Delhi, and Emperor Akbar’s siege of Chittorgarh. India Fortunes portrays the construction of the Taj Mahal, Shivaji and Emperor Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind’s founding of the Sikh Khalsa, the Rani of Jhansi battling the British in the Revolt of 1857, Mahatma Gandhi’s reform movements, and the troubles at Partition in 1947.
As background for his writings, Worthington has done extensive research for two decades on virtually all major historical periods of South Asia, and he has conducted hundreds of interviews. He and his wife Sandra have traveled widely in the Indian subcontinent and elsewhere, often staying with local families. He is involved with various organizations funding small scale projects in India to help people become economically self-reliant.
In his legal career, he has been a lawyer in private practice, for the Washington State House of Representatives, as an officer in the U.S. Navy, and more recently helping develop the unique new Cama Beach State Park on a historic waterfront resort site formerly operated by his wife’s family on Camano Island, Washington.
For more Information go to:
http://www.garyworthington.com


DAY TWO- October 19th 10:00 am-11:30 am

Room 1: How to Publish

Panel Topic Description:
Learn how to get your fiction and non-fiction writing published.

Moderator Bio:

Husain Naqvi:

Born in, London. Husain Naqvi spent his childhood between Algiers, Islamabad, New York, Brussels and Jordan. He then did his BA in Economics and English literature at Georgetown University. He served as editor-in-chief of the Georgetown Journal. While at Georgetown, he was also a Lannan fellow and was awarded the Phelam Prize by the Academy of American Poets. Mr. Naqvi’s poems have been broadcast on National Public Radio and BBC World Service. He also has appeared on Fox television in the National Poetry Slam in Ann Arbor, MI. Mr. Naqvi had been invited to recite poetry at George Mason University (VA), Lollapalooza ‘95 (WV), the Green Mills Jazz Club (IL), and the Nuyorican Poets Café (NY). In 1999, he was accepted into NYU’s MFA program for fiction. Presently, he is working at Harvard University with Katherine Vaz on a collection of short fiction. An investment banker by profession, Mr. Naqvi has been cited in press articles as “a renaissance man who has his finger on the pulse of the great global dialectic” and “an example of Pakistan’s literary talent”. He smokes Dunhills.


Panelist Bios:

Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh is currently an Editor at Vintage Books (A Division of Random House) where she works mainly on French graphic novels and literary fiction. She was previously a literary scout, for five years, seeking out the best of American and Canadian literature for foreign publishers. She has lived in India, France and the United States.



Anna Ghosh

Anna Ghosh was educated at Woodstock International School in India and Hampshire College, Massachusetts where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology and Literature. She has been a literary agent at Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency in New York City since 1995 where she represents a wide variety of adult fiction and nonfiction authors. Anna has a keen interest in distinctive voices from subcultures and minorities-- ethnic, cultural, economic, political or in any other sense-- but would love to hear from a good writer on just about any subject.



S. Mitra Kalita

S. Mitra Kalita is an education reporter at The Washington Post and serves as president of the South Asian Journalists Association. She previously worked for Newsday in New York City as a business reporter, carving a beat out of immigration and the economy. In the aftermath of Sept. 11, she did extensive reporting on the backlash faced by Arabs and South Asians in the New York area. She has reported from Buffalo and Bombay, and many points in between. Mitra graduated from Rutgers University cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with a bachelor's in history and journalism. She received her master's degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Mitra has received numerous awards for her work, most recently named Young Journalist of the Year by the New York State Associated Press Association. Her book "Suburban Sahibs: Three immigrant families and their passage from India to America" will be published by Rutgers University Press in the fall of 2003 and by Penguin in Asia in 2004.


DAY TWO- October 19th 10:00 am-11:30 am
Room 2: How to Write for Different Mediums

Panel Topic Description:

Learn how to turn a novel into a screenplay, how to aquire skills and how to write for different mediums including: film, radio, television, documentaries, and others. Learn how to approach market places for these mediums.

Moderator Bio:

Kamran Pasha

Born was born in Pakistan and raised in a Hasidic neighborhood in Brooklyn. After completing a degree in Comparative Religion from Dartmouth, Kamran spent three years as a journalist in New York City, writing for media companies such as Knight-Ridder. During his time as a reporter, Kamran interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, and former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

Seeking new challenges, Kamran returned to graduate school. He earned a law degree from Cornell Law School, as well as an MBA from Tuck Business School at Dartmouth. While still in business school, Kamran launched a venture named MovieShares.com, a web site dedicated to raising money for independent films via online investors. As CEO of MovieShares.com, Kamran was featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Industry Standard magazine, and served as a sponsor of the online marketplace at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2000.

Kamran joined the Writers Guild of America in 2001 after his first two television scripts sold to Paramount. He recently set up his first feature script at Warner Brothers, a historical epic on the love story behind the Taj Mahal, and is adapting Deepak Chopra’s novel “Soulmate” as a feature film for Anant Singh’s production company, Distant Horizon.

Believing that one can never have too much education, Kamran is also enrolled as an MFA student at UCLA film school in the Producers Program. For the past year, Kamran served on the writing on the staff of the UPN series “The Twilight Zone.”


Panelist Bios:

Mira Nair

Accomplished Film Director/Writer/Producer Mira Nair was born in India and educated at Delhi University and at Harvard. She began her film career as an actor and then turned to directing award-winning documentaries, including So Far From India and India Cabaret. Her debut feature film, Salaam Bombay! was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1988; it won the Camera D'Or (for best first feature) and the Prix du Publique (for most popular entry) at the Cannes Film Festival and 25 other international awards. Her next film, Mississippi Masala, an interracial love story set in the American South and Uganda, starring Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury, won three awards at the Venice Film Festival including Best Screenplay and The Audience Choice Award. Subsequent films include The Perez Family (with Marisa Tomei, Anjelica Huston, Alfred Molina and Chazz Palminteri), about an exiled Cuban family in Miami; and the sensuous Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, which she directed and co-wrote.

Nair directed My Own Country based on Dr. Abraham Verghese's best-selling memoir about a young immigrant doctor dealing with the AIDS epidemic. Made in 1998, My Own Country starred Naveen Andrews, Glenne Headly, Marisa Tomei, Swoosie Kurtz, and Hal Holbrook, and was awarded the NAACP award for best fiction feature.
Nair returned to the documentary form in August 1999 with The Laughing Club of India, which was awarded The Special Jury Prize in the Festival International de Programmes Audiovisuals 2000.

In the summer of 2000, Nair shot Monsoon Wedding in 30 days, a story of a Punjabi wedding starring Naseeruddin Shah and an ensemble of Indian actors. Winner of the Golden Lion at the 2001 Venice Film Festival, Monsoon Wedding also won a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film and opened worldwide to tremendous critical and commercial acclaim.

Nair’s next feature was an HBO original film, Hysterical Blindness. Set in working class New Jersey in 1987, the film stars Uma Thurman, Juliette Lewis and Gena Rowlands. Thurman and Lewis play single women looking for love in all the wrong places, while Rowlands, who plays Thurman’s mother, adds to her daughter’s hysteria when she finds Mr. Right in Ben Gazarra. The film received great critical acclaim and the highest ratings for HBO, garnering an audience of 15 million.

Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Nair joined a group of 11 renowned filmmakers, each commissioned to direct a film that was 11 minutes, 9 seconds and one frame long. Nair’s film is a retelling of real events in the life of the Hamdani family in Queens, whose eldest son was missing after September 11, and was then accused by the media of being a terrorist. 11.09.01 is the true story of a mother's search for her son who did not return home on that fateful day.

In 2003, Nair will helm the Focus Features/Granada Film production of the Thackeray classic, Vanity Fair, a provocative period tale set in post-colonial England. Reese Witherspoon is signed on to play the female lead, and filming will begin early 2003 in Bath, England.

Nair’s upcoming projects include Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul for HBO, and Hari Kunzru’s The Impressionist. Mirabai Films is also establishing an annual filmmaker’s lab, Maisha, in East Africa and India for 8 young filmmakers, which is expected to commence in 2004.
For more information click here:
http://www.mirabaifilms.com/bio.html


Sabrina Dhawan

Sabrina Dhawan grew up in New Delhi, India, where she worked until 1996. She subsequently graduated from Columbia University's graduate film program, where she met Mira Nair and became her teaching assistant. Dhawan's thesis short film "Saanjh - As Night Falls" was a finalist for the Student Academy Award. Saanjh also received the award for most original film at the Polo Ralph Lauren New Works Festival 2000 and was cited as Best of the Festival at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Monsoon Wedding is Dhawan's first produced feature screenplay. A brief filmography follows:
For more information click here: http://www.rediff.com/entertai/2001/dec/01sab.htm
Writer’s filmography
1. Cosmopolitan (2003) (TV) (completed)
2. 11'09''01 - September 11 (2002) (segment India)
.. aka 11 minutes 9 secondes 1 image (2002) (France)
... aka Onze minutes, neuf secondes, un cadre (2002) (France)
... aka September 11 (2003) (USA)
3. Monsoon Wedding (2001) ... aka Mariage des moussons, Le (2001) (France)
4. Saanjh (2000) ... aka As Night Falls (2000) (International: English title) (USA)


Michael Olmert

Micchael Olmert has written two feature films, an IMAX film, and some seventy television documentaries on both cultural and natural history. His many film awards, include back-to-back Emmys (for the years 2001 and 2002) and the CableAce Award (1996). He has also written four books and more than 150 articles, essays, and reviews in such magazines as Smithsonian, Historic Preservation, Colonial Williamsburg, Sports Illustrated, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. In addition he has written ten scholarly articles in refereed journals such as Chaucer Review, Annuale Mediaevale, TLS, Motif, and Florilegium. Michael has eighteen years teaching advanced English Literature and many teaching awards, including the 1999 Phi Kappa Phi honor society award. (Only two are awarded each year, covering all campuses of the University of Maryland system.) He has also taught study-abroad and Alumni courses taught in Yorkshire, London, Sicily, Florence, Scotland, and Ireland, covering history, literature, archaeology, and architecture.


Shebana Coelho

Shebana Coelho was born in Bombay, India and divides her time between Boston and New York. She is a freelance producer/writer of television and radio documentaries. She is currently working with IBA as an Associate Producer/Editor on NPR's Living Islam. With Julian Crandall Hollick, she has co-adapted the novel Samskara as as audio play for NPR and BBC Radio 3. She has also produced feature segments for National Public Radio's On the Media, including Bollywood Goes Borscht, on the nostalgia for Indian films within the Russian emigre community and Calling Home, on pay phone centers in immigrant communities. Producing credits for television include: Desi, an hour long documentary for Channel 13 about the South Asian Community in New York, four episodes of On the Team, a children's documentary series for Nickelodeon Cable and The Empire State Building for the Discovery Channel. Other projects in development include Post Colonial Subjects, a radio documentary about the impact of British Children's author Enid Blyton on the Indian imagination (currently in pre-production and scheduled for broadcast on BBC4 Radio in fall 2004) and a narrative film trilogy, Sights Unseen which features stories about race and perception. Sights Unseen recently received funding from the National Asian American Telecommunications Association (NAATA) and was selected as a participant in the 2002 Sundance Indie Producer's Lab.

Her narrative film experience has included works on projects like Mira Nair's Kama Sutra and Wrestling with Alligators, an independent feature showcases at the Sundance Film Festival. Her fiction has been work-shopped at the Unterberg Poetry Center with novelist Jonathan Levi (co-founder, Granta), The Writer's Studio, and Hedgebrook Artist's Colony. She was a semifinalist for the 2002 New Millennium Writing Award. She received the 2003 Archie D. and Bertha Walker scholarship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She is currently working on a collection of short stories.