Global Faculty in Residence
411 Laf, Room 352
B.A. English, University of Madras, Chennai, India, 2004
M.A. English Language and Literature, University of Madras, Chennai, India, 2006
Ph.D. Socio-Linquistics, Anna University, Chennai, India, 2010
Meena Kandasamy combines her love for the written word with the struggle for social justice through poetry, translation, fiction and essays. Her debut collection of poems, Touch (Peacock Books Mumbai, 2006) was themed around caste and untouchability, and her second, Ms Militancy (New Dehli, Navayana Publishers, 2010), was an explosive, feminist retelling/reclaiming of Tamil and Hindu myths. Her critically acclaimed first (anti)novel, The Gypsy Goddess (Atlantic Books, London/4th Estate HarperCollins India, 2014), smudged the line between powerful fiction and fearsome critique in narrating the 1968 massacre of forty-four landless untouchable men, women and children striking for higher wages in the village of Kilvenmani, Tanjore. It was chosen by The Independent as a debut of the year. Her second novel, When I Hit You: Or, The Portrait of the Writer As A Young Wife (Atlantic, 2017), was a work of autofiction exploring poetry, the dark heart of language, French feminist philosophy and leftist discourse to lift the veil on the silence surrounding domestic violence and marital rape in India. It was chosen as a book of the year by The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Financial Times, and The Observer. She was a fellow of the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa in 2009, and a British Council Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow at the University of Kent in 2011. She has performed her poetry in literary festivals around the world and has held residencies in Hong Kong, Berlin and New Delhi. She has written op-eds for Al Jazeera, Financial Times, Newsweek Middle-East, Himal South Asian, The Hindu, India Today, New Internationalist among other places. She holds a PhD in sociolinguistics, and has translated several books from Tamil. Her work has appeared in eighteen languages.
poetry; novel; experimental fiction; sociolinguistics; literary translation; feminism; caste; Dalit political movements; tamil; nationalism; marxism; site-specific literature; South Asian politics; contemporary Anglophone Indian writing