Keynote Speaker (2016)

SAMRAT UPADHYAY is the author of Arresting God in Kathmandu, a Whiting Award winner; The Royal Ghosts, which won the Asian American Literary Award; The Guru of Love, a New York Times Notable Book and a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the Year; and Buddha’s Orphans, a novel. His work has been translated into several languages. He has written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and has appeared on BBC Radio and National Public Radio. A recipient of an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship in 2015, Upadhyay is the Martha C. Kraft Professor of Humanities at Indiana University. His most recent novel, The City Son, was shortlisted for the PEN Open Book Award. Dr. Upadhyay received his PhD in English from UH Mānoa in 1999

Photo by Daniel Pickett Photography
Courtesy of Indiana University

Keynote Abstract

Celebrating Gratitude: An Ode to the Forces that Make a Writer

Many forces come together to create a writer. In my keynote speech, I will chart my international trajectory, from Nepal to Ohio to Nepal to Hawaiʻi to Indiana, and the influences that have guided and sustained my artistic endeavors. With a focus on gratitude, my presentation will touch upon my liberal arts education, the role of teachers, as well as the importance of my time at the University of Hawaiʻi in launching my literary career. The history of Nepal, my country of origin, will be a crucial aspect in this expression of gratitude. I will explore how the personal and the political have come together to shape my literary oeuvre.