S183. Imagining Others: Writing Fiction in English About Non-English Speaking Communities

Room 3 & 4, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Saturday, March 10, 2018
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


How is the non-English speaking world represented in English-language novels? What does it mean to write dialogue, imagine thoughts, and in general create interiority and community in English when the characters being represented are not English speaking (at all or primarily)? This question—which may be thought of as one of translation or of writing from the margins of the English language—will be responded to by the five panelists broadly and with examples from their own work.


S. Shankar is a novelist, critic, and translator. The most recent of his eight books is the novel Ghost in the Tamarind. He has been published widely in scholarly and popular publications, and is professor of English and director of the creative writing program at University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Samrat Upadhyay is the author of Arresting God in Kathmandu; The Royal Ghosts, which won the Asian American Literary Award; The Guru of Love, a Times Notable Book; Buddha’s Orphans; The City Son, a PEN Open Award finalist; and the story collection Mad Country. He teaches at Indiana University.

Peter Kimani is a faculty member at Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications in Nairobi. A leading African writer of his generation, Kimani has published poetry and fiction, most recently, Dance of the Jakaranda, a New York Times Editors’ Choice.

Stephanie Han’s Swimming in Hong Kong won the Paterson Prize for Short Fiction, and was the sole finalist for both the AWP Grace Paley Prize and the Spokane Prize. Han is City University of Hong Kong's first English literature PhD, and lectures at Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, Hawaii.

David N. Odhiambo is the author of three novels: diss/ed banded nation, Kipligat's Chance, and The Reverend's Apprentice. He is an assistant professor of English at the University of Hawai'i, West O'ahu.


March 7–10, 2018
Tampa, FL

Tampa Convention Center & Marriott Tampa Waterside