On November 13, 2014, “Two Truths and a Lie,” a writing workshop I teach in NYC, was held up at gunpoint. After the robbery, the class became the invisible center in a maelstrom of tensions around the New York Police Department’s Stop-and-Frisk policy, gentrification, and the role of police in communities. Much of what was […]
First published on Poets & Writers online, September 2, 2013 Go to Part I One of the drawbacks of writing autobiographical fiction is that the people in your head are not imaginary. They’re real. They’re the people you love the most and are most afraid of losing. In the workshop Two Truths and a Lie: Writing […]
First Posted on Poets & Writers on August 26, 2013. Go to Part II The first question people always ask me about my novel Corona is if it’s true. Yes, like me the character is a Pakistani who grew up in Corona, Queens, worked as a Puritan in a living history museum, and hitchhiked up and down […]
First Posted in Poets & Writers online on August 9, 2013. “I just gave birth to a book and a baby. It turns out that in the time it took from the acceptance of my manuscript to the moment of its publication, I could create a small human being in my body. I’d never thought […]
Queens, NY 1984 Nothing in P.S. 19 was ever heated enough. The auditorium, the cafeteria, the large windows with their pull-down plastic vinyl drapes rattled in another winter storm. Ms. Cooperman, our teacher, frowned as she saw us shiver. “Bring your coats,” she said. “We’re having an assembly.” It had snowed heavily the day before, […]
On the morning of July 16, 2012, I received a letter from Amita Swadhin, an activist and educator who is at the forefront of the movement to end Child Sexual Abuse. Her father Vashisht “Victor” Vaid was put on probation twenty years ago for sexually assaulting her during her childhood. Amita had just discovered Vaid […]
For the last few months, I’ve been working on a series of essays on Palestine. I’ve now written and erased my words until there is nothing left but the original title of the series. It could fit on a button: “Islamophobia is not the answer to Anti-Semitism.” —-Eventually, the title too had to be scratched. […]
An intense anti-Arab media campaign against the Khalil Gibran International Academy ends with a high-tech lynching.
November 12, 2007
ColorLines, Sept/Oct 2006 “The work of visual artist Chamindika is populated by characters who create the unsettling sense that they are spilling out from another world.” http://colorlines.com/archives/2006/09/spotlight_chamindika.html
New York Times, April 30, 2006 City Lore and the Bowery Poetry Club got a bunch of NYC poets to write an epic poem about New York City. Of course I wrote about Corona.