Jenny Bhatt is a writer, literary translator, and reviewer. She is the host of the Desi Books podcast and teaches creative writing at Writing Workshops Dallas. Her debut short story collection, Each of Us Killers: Stories, launched with 7.13 Books in September 2020. Her literary translation from Gujarati to English, Ratno Dholi: The Best Stories of Dhumketu, launched in October 2020 with HarperCollins India.
Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming at various venues in the US, UK, and India, including The Atlantic, The Washington Post, NPR, BBC Culture, Los Angeles Review of Books, Literary Hub, Longreads, The Millions, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Poets & Writers, Kenyon Review, Scroll.in, and others. Her fiction has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and the 2017 Best American Short Stories. She was a finalist for the 2017 Best of the Net Anthology. One of her stories is included in The Best American Mystery and Suspense Stories 2021.
Having lived and worked her way around India, England, Germany, Scotland, and various parts of the US, she now lives in a suburb of Dallas, Texas.
DESI (NOUN; PRONOUNCED ‘DEISI’ OR ‘DÉSI’)
This applies to a person of South Asian descent who lives anywhere in the world. The official definition of South Asia contains the following countries: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and the Maldives. And, of course, their globally-scattered diaspora. The word is also often used as a qualifying adjective or adverb: “desi writer” or “desi cooking”.
To learn more about the whys and wherefores of this podcast, please listen to or read the podcast trailer and episode 1. For more about the etymology of the word “desi”, please listen to or read episode 2. To see how many countries and listeners we reach, please watch this 40-second video.
WHAT THE DESI BOOKS PODCAST OFFERS
In addition to a literary news roundup of new and notable books, stories, essays, poems, awards, submission calls, events, giveaways, etc., the Desi Books podcast invites desi writers to read from their books, discuss their own books and their desi favorites, chat about the writing craft, explore issues related to the literary biz, and more.
There are six segments that air on a rotating basis. There are also some bookish collaboration projects with other media venues.
1) #DesiBoost: A 10-15 minutes segment where a writer, poet, or translator shares their three favorite reads (short stories, poems, essays, interviews, etc.) by desi (South Asian) writers.
2) #DesiCraftChat: A 20-30 minutes segment to discuss aspects of writing craft, e.g. the short story form, the lyric essay, literary translation, graphic fiction, and more.
3) #DesiLitBiz: A 20-30 minutes segment to discuss business and behind-the-scenes publishing aspects specific to desi (South Asian) literature.
4) #DesiReads: A 10-15 minutes segment where a writer, poet, or translator reads an excerpt from their latest work.
5) #FiveDesiFaves: A 10-15 minutes segment where a writer, poet, or translator shares their five favorite books by desi (South Asian) writers.
6) #DesiBooksGiveaway: This is currently on hiatus. In collaboration with the writer, we will give away ONE copy of a recent book via social media. The typical duration for the giveaway will be ONE MONTH from the episode airing, which will include an author Q&A and a brief excerpt reading.