Gaiutra will have a reading by a professional actor of "Into Dark Waters," the fourth chapter of her book Coolie Woman on October 10, 2013 at 7:30pm as part of the NJ Literary Artists Fellowship Showcase.
The reading will take place at
in the Chase Room
of the Madison Public Library
39 Keep Street
Madison, NJ 07940
Click here for directions
There is a suggested donation of $10. All tickets will be available at the door on the evening of the readings. No advanced ticket sales.
1. You are an award-winning journalist and book critic. What made you decide to become a prose writer?
I did, however, consciously decide to become a newspaper reporter. At the time, I chose it because it seemed like a way to earn a living by doing what had already become second skin: the habit of observing and describing, from the outside. I was outside mainstream American society, and I was also outside my own community in many senses. I didn't fully fit in either place. Looking back on that now, I do think it's unfortunate that I chose journalism almost as an expression of my own alienation. Some fifteen years into my career, I view journalists not so much as professional spectators, with a vocation of being on the outside of everything, but as people who bring their full humanity to bear to tell stories, both their own and those of others, from the inside of their empathy, their skepticism, their access to power and their obligation to those without power.
I remember architecture and landscapes: the wooden houses built on stilts, because the Guyanese coast is below sea level; the Hindu temple in the front yard of the house we lived in with my extended family; a broken-down blue car laid to rest in that yard, pieces of which I continued to find on subsequent trips back to Guyana for three decades; the flower garden in which my cousin and I pretended to be brides.
Our journey to the U.S. was a long one because our village was remote. We had to cross a river with no bridge across it to get to Georgetown, the capital of Guyana. The ferry ride itself was an odyssey. And when we got to the capital, we spent the night with my father's cousin to catch the early morning flight to New York. I remember two things from that night: my father's relatives gave me a can of V8 tomato juice to drink, and they gave me a comic book based on the movie Grease to flip through. Olivia Newton John and John Travolta were my prelude to America in 1981.
To learn more about Gaiutra, visit our website.
You can also find additional information on our website about the Literary Artist Fellowship program.