R231. Writing the South Asian Diaspora in Young Adult Fiction

Room 208AB, Washington Convention Center, Level Two
Thursday, February 9, 2017
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


In the last five years, the South Asian influence in fiction has bloomed as big and bright as the lotus flower. However, the community remains underrepresented in young adult fiction. In the next few years, that will begin to change. In this panel, five South Asian writers with diverse regional and religious backgrounds discuss their understanding of the South Asian diaspora, the importance of fair cultural representation in fiction, and how South Asians in YA are here to stay.



Padma Venkatraman is the award-winning author of three critically acclaimed novels (A Time to Dance, Climbing the Stairs, and Island's End) which have garnered twelve starred reviews and won several awards and honors. She has provided keynote addresses, been on panels, and spoken at several conferences.

Sona Charaipotra is a journalist and the cofounder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent. She's the coauthor of the YA dance drama Tiny Pretty Things and its sequel, Shiny Broken Pieces. She's proud to serve as VP of content for We Need Diverse Books.

Nisha Sharma received her MFA from Wilkes University and wrote romances under a pen name before switching to YA. Her debut YA novel, My So-Called Bollywood Life, is forthcoming with optioned movie rights.

Tanaz Bhathena’s short stories have appeared in various journals, including Blackbird, Witness, and Room Magazine. What We Left Behind is her first YA novel.

Rahul Kanakia's first book is a contemporary young adult novel entitled Enter Title Here. He has published short stories in Apex, Clarkesworld, The Indiana Review, and Nature, and holds an MFA in fiction from the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center