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Wednesday, October 14, 2020 • 3:00pm • Online, via Zoom
How can telling the stories of human and non-human others change the way we know and see ourselves? How can we imagine ways to live peacefully with some form of trust and harmony that doesn’t undermine state borders, but does help us overcome state enabled hatred and the accompanying violence?
From the effects of climate change on rivers and their communities, to the destructive impacts of ethnic and religious nationalisms, there is an urgent need to think about how communities react to and receive both human and non-human others. Join us for a conversation with Alice Albinia and Anand Gopal.
About the speakers:
Alice Albinia is an award-winning author of conjoined works of fiction and nonfiction. Her first book, Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River, describes a riverine journey through time and place: from Karachi on the shores of the Arabian Sea, north through Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, to the slopes of Mount Kailash in Tibet. The book won six awards, including a Somerset Maugham award and a Dolman prize. Her first novel, Leela’s Book, is a retelling, set in modern Delhi, of how the Mahabharata, India’s ancient Sanskrit epic, came to be written down on that same Tibetan mountain. It was shortlisted for the Authors’ Club best first novel award and long-listed for the DSC prize for South Asian Literature.
Albinia is now writing about Britain through the prism of its islands. The Britannias, which begins in Orkney and ends in Westminster, was given a K. Blundell Trust award from the Society of Authors and will be published by Penguin. Alice has been teaching writing since 2012, when she became writer in residence at three London secondary schools with the charity First Story. Thereafter she taught creative writing to adults in Orkney, where she lived for a year on the island of Hoy, whilst also working as a firefighter and school cook. Before her first books were published, she spent two years as an editor and journalist in Delhi, where she was completely re-educated in the process by Indian politics, literature and culture. She has lectured widely at universities across the world, and contributed articles and reviews to, among others, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New Statesman.
Anand Gopal is an award-winning journalist and assistant research professor with the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict and the Center on the Future of War at Arizona State University. He holds a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University, and specializes in ethnographically based data journalism. Gopal has reported extensively on Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq, writing for Harpers, the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science monitor, and other publications, while also producing scholarship based on his fieldwork and complex network analysis. Gopal’s book, No Good Men Among the Living, won the Ridenhour Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. His recent, pathbreaking piece, “Syria’s Last Bastion of Freedom,” introduces the world to Syria’s revolutionary councils operating outside of regime-held territories. Gopal deftly uncovers the voices of everyday Syrians pursuing of democratic self-rule, offering insight that, until now, had been overlooked beneath the rubble of civil war. Gopal’s piece for the New York Times Magazine, “The Uncounted” (co-written with Azmat Khan), won the National Magazine Award, Ed Cunningham Award for Best Magazine Reporting, and the Hillman Prize for Magazine Journalism. His article for The Atlantic, “The Hell After ISIS,” was recognized with a George Polk award.