Writer to Writer Conversations & Readings with Mentor Shikha Malaviya

July 20, 2021

Headshots of Shikha Malaviya, Preeti Parikh, Manisha Sharma, Sunita Theiss, and Muhammad Salimi

In our latest installment of Writer to Writer Conversations & Readings, we spotlight perennial W2W poetry mentor Shikha Malaviya and four of her mentees: Preeti Parikh, Muhammad Salimi, Manisha Sharma, and Sunita Theiss. Shikha moderates as they discuss what prompted them to participate in the program, the mentor-mentee matching process, and the importance of a shared cultural connection that allowed them to write and speak freely.

Books from this event series can be purchased on the AWP Bookshop affiliate page.

The premiere of this Virtual AWP event will also include a live Q&A on YouTube on Thursday, July 29, 2021, at 6:00 p.m. ET. To receive a reminder and a direct link to this free event, as well as updates on future events, register online. Registration is free, and you do not have to be a member of AWP to do so. However, to participate in the live Q&A, you must be signed in on YouTube.

Mentor Bio:

Shikha Malaviya (www.shikhamalaviya.com) is an Indian American poet, writer, and publisher. She is cofounder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, a mentorship model press publishing powerful voices from India and the Indian diaspora. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and featured in PLUME, Prairie Schooner, and other fine publications. Shikha has been a featured TEDx speaker and was selected as the 2016 poet laureate of San Ramon, California. Shikha is a six-time AWP poetry mentor in their Writer to Writer mentorship program. Currently, she is a Mosaic America Fellow, committed to poetry and cultural diversity in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Her first book of poems is Geography of Tongues


Mentee Bios:

Preeti Parikh is an Indian American poet and essayist with publications in Kweli Journal, Literary Mama, Ruminate Magazine, and other literary journals and anthologies. With a past educational background in medicine, Preeti will soon graduate with an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop. Her work has been supported by an AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship and scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Pacific Lutheran University. Preeti is presently working on her first book-length poetry collection. Born and raised in India, she now lives with her family in a multigenerational household in Ohio.

Dr. Manisha Sharma’s poetry manuscript was shortlisted for Harbor Edition’s 2021 Laureate Book Prize and was a finalist for the 2021 Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Contest. Her short stories were longlisted for the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and have been finalists/semifinalists for contests by the Cream City Review and American Short Fiction. She won the Causeway Lit Poetry contest and the Greenbelt Review Fiction Award. Her work has been published in Arts & Letters, Puerto Del Sol, Fourth River, Choice Words Anthology, and more. She has a PhD in literature and an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Tech. She has been an AWP mentee as well as a Vermont Studio Center scholarship recipient. She is a communications specialist with the Student Innovation Center at Iowa State University. For more details, visit www.manisha-sharma.com.  

Sunita Theiss is a writer and communications professional. A second-generation Indian American from Georgia, she now lives and works north of her home city with her family. She is an alumna of VONA/Voices and a 2020 Best of the Net nominee, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in MER VOX, pidgeonholes, Whale Road Review, Raising Mothers, Gordon Square Review, and others. You can learn more about Sunita and read her work at sunitatheiss.com.

Muhammad Umar J. Salimi is a dual citizen of the United States and Pakistan. He is currently doing his MFA in poetry from Boston University. He discovered poetry while looking for Lahore in San Francisco. His constant engagement with displacement and arrival inspires him to write.


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