The India Association of Minnesota Hosts Literary Event

Authors gather at the Minnetonka Community Center to discuss the inspiration for their stories. 

The India Association of Minnesota (IAM) held its first South Asian Literature Showcase on January 13. The event took place at the Minnetonka Community Center near the Twin Cities. It provided a rare platform for authors of South Asian descent to showcase their work. South Asia encompasses India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other neighboring countries. 

Meena Bharti, the IAM president, hosted the gathering, which was coordinated by Shruti Joshi. Members of the panel included four local authors:

—Preeti Mathur, From Seven Rivers to Ten Thousand Lakes, Minnesota Historical Association, 2019

—Vijay Balan, a “rocket scientist turned storyteller” whose works include The Swaraj Spy, HarperCollins India, 2022

—Sumi Mukherjee, A Life Interrupted: The Story of My Battle With Bullying and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Crimson Sparrow, 2014

—and Savita Harjani, Postcards from Within, Random Ramblings of an Ordinary Human, Beaver’s Pond Press, 2023.

“My book is an overview of the Indian community,” said Mathur, who is also a designer. “Who are we? Where did we come from?”

Mukherjee discussed his journey as a writer. “My books are all nonfiction stories, harrowing experiences people have gone through,” he explained. “I had to deal with OCD, childhood bullying, and anxiety. After years of suffering, I talked about it. I wrote to help people going through the same issues.” 


Adi with Preeti Mathur, the author of From Seven Rivers to Ten Thousand Lakes


Other featured authors and bloggers included Shivangi Singh, my mother. She hosts “Stories by Shivangi,” a blog about her thoughts and local events. “Some stories,” she writes, “need to be told.”

Many authors agreed that telling stories serves as a way to bring people together, especially when they’re members of a marginalized community. 

“Poetry has always been a second language to me since everybody else wasn’t too social,” said Kamalika Chandla, a poet and artist. “It’s an outlet. I started writing when I was 14.”

Visitors enjoyed listening, interacting, and going through the displayed books. My younger brother, Aviraj, spotted Nina Hamza and her book, Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year (Quill Tree Books, 2023), which is in his school library.



Photos courtesy of the author