Our 14th residency for the year is held by Rijula who lives and works in Wellington. Her debut novel Other Town will be published later in 2019 by Picador India and her translation of Nabarun Bhattacharya’s novel Kangal Malshat is forthcoming from Seagull Books in Spring of 2020. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing and was the recipient of the 2016 Dastaan Award for her short story Notes From A Passing.
Whilst on her residency Rijula will focus on a book-length work of fiction that tells the story of a single mother and her daughter through interconnected short stories that focus on significant times and locales of the two characters’ journey. The narrative begins in late 1980’s small-town India and eventually follows mother and daughter outside India as they emigrate to New Zealand and looks at the cultural impact it has on both of them.
Rijula says, ‘this narrative will deal with Indian cultural values and it’s strictures on a single mother and her unconventional daughter, women’s right to work and the hidden emotional traumas of physical abuse on children. The daughter, who is severely subjected to physical punishments and neglect from a mother who is herself struggling against stifling gender expectations, is the consciousness through which I intend to explore female agency, trauma and the terrifying freedoms and wrenches of expatriation’.