We Write Because We Must: Natashia Deon and Namrata Poddar Interviewed by Madhushree Ghosh

Two novelists discuss writing empowered women and against colonial expectations.

By: Madhushree Ghosh
FROM: Bomb

The women writers of color are producing spectacular work lately, almost as if the world—pandemic included—cannot control us anymore. Earlier this year, R. O. Kwon published the much anticipated list of 2022 women writers of color showing just how many of us are writing—and still writing. As I work toward the release of my own memoir, I am mesmerized by the brilliance of their work, but mostly, amazed at the camaraderie, support, and mutual cheering-on that’s pure, sincere, and exciting. The Lee and Low Diversity survey from 2019 notes that in America, only seven percent of published writers are South Asian, Asian or Native Hawaiian, and only five percent are Black, Afro-American, or Caribbean. Over seventy-five percent of published authors are white. That’s why we need to celebrate these two women of color whose journeys are so spectacular and most definitely worth our attention.

Natashia Deón’s The Perishing (Counterpoint) focuses on an immortal Black woman in 1930s Los Angeles who attempts to uncover lost memories about who she was and continues to be. It’s a richly researched deeply probed exploration of love and justice. Namrata Poddar’s Border Less (7.13 Books) centers Dia Mittal, an airline call center attendant who travels from India to America. The story is told in fragments and explores the power struggles, she encounters mediated by race, class, gender, nationality, age, or place. It’s a precise representation of postcolonial intersectional feminist debut writing, winning much deserved praise. Both books share a celebration of women, freedom, feminism, and sheer plain joy of words that we celebrated with this extremely hopeful and animated conversation.

Madhushree Ghosh

Natashia, The Perishing is such a Los Angeles (rather, an old Los Angeles) book. Talk to us about your writing process and the research it took to get this right.

Natashia Deón

The Perishing began with a dream. I had dreamt that I was in old Los Angeles, and I could tell from the architecture that it was probably the mid- to late-1800s. In the dream, I was in love and was loved. The dream became a nightmare, and I woke crying at around three in the morning and began researching details in the dream to know if what I experienced there was even possible. It was. So, there began the journey. I then visited library archives and read over one hundred books and news articles and diaries and letters from the 1930s to be able to write the novel. I placed a limited biography on my website to help others see the path. Read Rest of Interview Here

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