Divya’s popular reading series is back for a third year running! Think of it as a dream book club for writers, focused on contemporary fiction by women and non-binary authors of colour. Participants will meet once every fortnight to discuss texts, and will be supported by a curated online forum.
You’ll talk about issues of craft, voice, style, arrangement, taste, canonicity, issues of race and and gender, as well as how you feel about the books and why. Conversations will be expansive, personal, political, and fun.
The group will meet online on Zoom and will be supported by a lively Slack channel featuring articles, author interviews, as well as the chance to participate between groups in chat threads while reading for a truly immersive experience. This is a warm, inclusive, reading community experience with a focus on reading as writers.
For a delightful look at what books have been read in past sessions, have a look at this beautiful essay in Wasafiri by Divya and illustrated by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.
Here are the five title’s Divya has selected:
Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi:
Transcendent Kingdom is a moving portrait of a family of Ghanaian immigrants ravaged by depression and addiction and grief — a novel about faith, science, religion, love.
Intimacies by Katie Kitamura:
An interpreter has come to The Hague to escape New York and work at the International Court. A woman of many languages and identities, she is looking for a place to finally call home. A haunting, morally astute novel that reads like a psychological thriller.
Nights at the Fiesta by Kirsten Valdez Quade:
Short stories that plunge us into the fierce, troubled hearts of characters defined by the desire to escape the past or else to plumb its depths. Set in northern New Mexico, Night at the Fiestas is a beautiful debut about living in a land shaped by love, loss, and violence.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
An epic historical fiction novel following a Korean family that immigrates to Japan. It features an ensemble of characters who encounter racism, stereotyping, and other aspects of the 20th-century Korean experience of Japan. A story about outsiders, minorities, and the politically disenfranchised.
Tomb Of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell.
Recently longlisted for this Booker, this is a novel about grief, Partition, and re-evaluating what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman, a feminist.
DIVYA GHELANI holds an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia and an MPhil in Literary Studies from the University of Hong Kong. Her novel-in-progress has been longlisted and shortlisted for four literary awards. She has published short stories and judged story and flash fiction competitions. Her words are in Issue 1 of The Good Journal, Comma Press, BBC Radio 4, Litro Magazine, and more.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your seat.
“The course was just the thing I expected it to be. A whole new world of literature was opened up to me – I was the oldest participant! Divya was hugely enthusiastic about the books she chose for us to read and was open to any level of opinion. I always looked forward to the course regardless of whether I had read the book or not.” MTH
I loved Divya’s course. It was an open, welcoming space that carried both intellectual depth and accessibility, a tricky combination that Divya was able to deliver masterfully because of her depth of knowledge and experience, her warm demeanor and engaging personality, and her skill at navigating a room of people who may have been coming from vastly different backgrounds and experiences. It felt as if everyone left those classes feeling richer for the experience. Also, the choice of books for the course was wonderful. We were examining a range of PoC contemporary novels, from many different perspectives. The space also felt warm enough for us to bring our own personal experiences into the mix, and I always came out of the course with my views on the texts challenged, enhanced, or expanded. It felt as if everyone in the course made valuable contributions. In summary, Divya’s space-holding skills, combined with her intellectual depth and her commitment towards inclusivity made the course a real pleasure to attend, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it. – Ayesha
“I really loved the Reading Series. The selection of books was incredible and, for me, most of the books were new. Divya prepared well and the discussions were super-interesting!” – Anon
What I liked the most about this reading series was that there was no pressure to give the right answer or correspond to certain academic standards. Everybody learned from one another. As Divya said, it shouldn’t be “like University” and it sure felt a lot more relaxed and joyful, while still intellectually stimulating. This was the highlight of my corona summer! – Bruna
If you asked me 16 weeks ago, I would not have believed I could read 9 novels in 16 weeks, next to everything else. But I did it! And it has been one of the best experiences with @divyaghelani and @thereaderberlin and the other participants of the New Fiction by Women and Non-Binary People of Color book club. I recommend each of these books to all of you. Get started! Looking forward to what Divya will give us all of the joy from words and books around the corner. This was the best gift I have had this year! ♥️ If you ask me which one I liked the most I cannot say. I love them all. [ … ] I am not gonna lie, these books can also uncomfortable and full of pain as they explain how racism and sexism are drenched through everything from academia, to fashion, through work, love, friendship, childhood memories, and parenthood. I know there will be a version of the book club in 2021 I really recommend you save your spot!” – Mette