Kitaab, which means “book” in many Asian languages, was founded in 2005 by journalist and writer Zafar Anjum in Singapore as a space to celebrate and critique Asia+n writing in English. The revamped website was launched in July 2013 with a much stronger focus.
Kitaab aims to help you avoid information overload which is the curse of the information age. The idea behind Kitaab is to create a link-based information storehouse where the most important stories on Asian writers and writing are carefully curated, so that lovers of Asian writing do not have to look anywhere else for the assorted news and views on their favourite books and writers. All they need to do is to visit Kitaab and quench their literary thirst.
Headquartered in Singapore, Kitaab provides a writing and publishing platform to emerging and seasoned writers from the region to express themselves creatively. Learn more about our publishing and other media programmes here.
Kitaab is only a few years old and it is already being read in many parts of the world. Kitaab welcomes your feedback, support and contributions.
Kitaab is owned and managed by Kitaab International Pte. Ltd., Singapore.
Founder & Editor-in-Chief
Journalist, writer, publisher and filmmaker Zafar Anjum currently works as the Asia Online Editor at Executive Networks Media, Singapore. He has been published in India, the US, the UK, Singapore and other countries. His most recent works include Startup Capitals : Discovering the Global Hotspots of Innovation (Random House India, December 2014), Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician (Vintage Books/Random House India, 2014), The Resurgence of Satyam (Random House India, 2012), and The Singapore Decalogue: Episodes in the Life of a Foreign Talent (Red Wheelbarrow Books, 2012). He also blogs, mentors budding writers and is editor of Kitaab.org, a literary website. Zafar Anjum is represented by the Jacaranda Literary Agency.
Namrata is a published author who enjoys writing stories and think pieces on travel, relationships and gender. She is a UEA alumni and has studied travel writing at the University of Sydney.
She is also an independent editor and a book reviewer. Her writings can be found on various sites and magazines like the Asian Review of Books, Contemporary South Asia Journal of King’s College-London, Mad in Asia, The Friday Times, The Scroll, Feminism in India, The Brown Orient Journal, Inkspire Journal, Moonlight Journal, The Same, Chronic Pain India and Cafe Dissensus.
Her short stories have been a part of various anthologies and has also published two short story collections of her own. She is currently working on her debut novel. She loves travelling the length and breadth of the world and enjoys capturing the magic of life in her words. She is always in pursuit of a new country and a new story. She lives in Mumbai.
Dr Pallavi Narayan earned her PhD from the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in 2016, for her dissertation titled “Pamuk’s Istanbul: Everyday Architecture”. The dissertation focuses on the city in fiction, and incorporates urban studies, narrative theory, techniques of representation and theories of otherness to focus on cities and fiction. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English literature from the University of Delhi.
Based in Singapore, Pallavi is Acquisitions Editor with NUS Press, National University of Singapore, and has previously worked with Singapore Management University, Penguin Random House, Pan Macmillan and Routledge, Taylor & Francis Books. She has been a guest lecturer for Communications Skills at IIT Delhi, and is on the advisory board of Inquis, a Turkey-based online graduate journal of literatures in English.
Pallavi has presented her research work at national and international conferences. Her publications span academic as well as creative writing, and appears in anthologies, journals and national dailies. She performs poetry as well, and made it to the finals of a spoken word competition organised in Singapore in conjunction with the United Nations. She can teach literature and conducts the occasional writing workshop.
Rituparna Mahapatra, Editor-at-Large, Dubai
Rituparna Mahapatra is a writer and educator from Orissa, India. She taught English literature at Sambalpur University and Delhi University. Driven by her love for writing, she gave up teaching and freelanced for various publishing houses like The Telegraph, Deccan Herald, before a short stint with Encyclopedia Britannica India. A movie enthusiast, and a voracious reader, she loves nature walks in her free time and aspires to be a singer among other things. Cooking for her family and friends is an added passion. Mother of two kids, she takes utmost pride in being called ‘Mom’. Currently, she lives in Dubai with her dog and family.
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé is the author of the novel, Singular Acts of Endearment, as well as three poetry collections. The poetry books are titled: I Didn’t Know Mani Was A Conceptualist, The Arbitrary Sign, and Sanctus Sanctus Dirgha Sanctus. Publisher at Squircle Line Press, Desmond has edited over fifteen books and co-produced three audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. Trained in publishing at Stanford, with a world religions masters from Harvard and creative writing masters from Notre Dame, his honors include the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Cyclamens & Swords Poetry Prize, Notre Dame Poetry Fellowship, National Arts Council Creation Grant, NAC Gardens-by-the-Bay Residency, Singapore International Foundation Grant, Stepping Stones Nigeria Poetry Prize, and Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize, among other awards. An interdisciplinary artist, Desmond also works in clay, his ceramic works housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, UK, and USA.
Dr. Debotri Dhar
Dr. Debotri Dhar currently teaches at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, USA. She earned a Bachelor’s degree from Delhi University, India, a Master’s in Women’s Studies, with distinction, from the University of Oxford, UK, and a Ph.D. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Rutgers University, USA . Delightfully fond of both fact and fiction, Debotri juggles academic research and teaching with lively bursts of creative writing. Her short stories have been published in literary magazines, journals and anthologies in the UK, USA, India, Canada and elsewhere. Debotri’s collection Postcards from Oxford: Stories of Women and Travel (London: Roman Books, 2013) was described by the New York Journal of Books as “elegantly written, with poise and control… As a body of work, they examine what it means for a 21st century woman to travel.” Her second novel, the Courtesans of Karim Street, was published in 2015 by Niyogi Books in New Delhi. Praised as “an extremely interesting and delightful read” with a “refreshing new take on the old” (Pioneer), a book that “meticulously documents the decline of North India’s courtesan culture over the last century” (Telegraph), that “challenges the conventional notion of the courtesans and gives us strong, intelligent female characters” (Scroll), and in several other national newspapers, the novel has been nominated for the 2015 Muse India Young Writers Award.
Monica Arora is a graduate of Lady Shri Ram College (University of Delhi). Arora has worked with Roli Books in the past and presently edits two bi-monthly magazines. She also edits both fiction and coffee-table books for Fingerprint Publishing, Prakash Books, besides editing fiction and non-fiction titles for Purple Folio, a literary agency as well as coffee table books for IIME, Jaipur.
Rheea Mukherjee received her MFA in creative writing from California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Her work has been published in in Ultra Violet, Southern Humanities Review, CHA : An Asian Literary Magazine, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, The Bombay Literary Magazine, A Gathering of Tribes, Everyday Fiction, Bengal Lights and Out Of Print Magazine. Her unpublished collection of stories, In These Cities WeDreamed, was a Semi-Finalist in the Black Lawrence Press, St Lawrence Book Award, 2011. In 2012 she co-founded Bangalore Writers Workshop, and currently co-runs Write Leela Write, a design and content laboratory in Bangalore.
Shruthi Rao writes short fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. Several of her stories have won awards – most recently the DNA-Out of Print Short Fiction Award 2014 – and have been published in literary magazines like Out of Print, Reading Hour, Open Road Review and Papercuts, among others. Her articles on travel, science and parenting have appeared in Mint Lounge, Deccan Herald, Brainwave Magazine and elsewhere. She lives in Bangalore, and enjoys the company of books, food, and her family – not necessarily in that order.
Lucas Stewart, Editor-at-Large, Myanmar
Lucas Stewart is the British Council’s Literature Advisor in Myanmar working with local writers, publishers and booksellers to develop the literary community since transition. He focuses on the Hidden Words, Hidden Worlds project that supports freedom of creativity in ethnic nationality literature through short story workshops. His reportage on Myanmar literature have been commissioned and published by Swedish Pen, English Pen, Asian Cha, Arts Professional and The Diplomat amongst others. He has advised international literary organisations such as Pen International, Index on Censorship and the British Centre for Literary Translation on the contemporary state of literature in Myanmar.
Mushtaq Bilal, Editor-at-Large, Pakistan
Mushtaq Bilal is a doctoral candidate at National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, Pakistan. His reviews, essays, translations, blogs, and interviews have appeared in South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, Postcolonial Text, Contemporary South Asia, the Annual of Urdu Studies, The News on Sunday, Dawn Books and Authors, and the European Graduate School’s website. Currently, he is working on a collection of interviews with Pakistani English fiction writers and is translating Ikramullah’s Urdu fiction into English.
Ross Adkin, Editor-at-Large, Nepal
Ross Adkin (@ross_adkin) grew up in the north of Scotland and studied South Asian history and languages at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, and Cambridge. He works as a freelance journalist in Kathmandu.
Farah Ghuznavi, Editor-at-Large, Bangladesh
Farah Ghuznavi is a writer and newspaper columnist, with a background in development work in Asia and Africa. She remains an unrepentant idealist despite the existence of empirical evidence that suggests it might be better to think otherwise. Her work has been widely-anthologised in Europe, Asia and North America. Her story “Judgement Day” was Highly Commended in the Commonwealth Competition 2010, and “Getting There” placed second in the Oxford University GEF Competition. In 2013, Farah published her first short story collection, Fragments of Riversong (Daily Star Books, Bangladesh). The book has been well-received by the global literary community. In 2012, she edited Lifelines, an anthology of Bangladeshi writing for the Indian publisher, Zubaan Books. Having completed a stint as Writer in Residence with Commonwealth Writers in 2013, Farah has written a number of essays and advice columns on writing.
13 thoughts on “About”
Greetings from Singapore.
Much appreciated if you would update my biodata.
All best wishes.
ELANGOVAN, bilingual poet, playwright-director, screenwriter, literary editor, transcreator, and pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and Tamil experimental theatre in Singapore, obtained a BA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts) and a MA (Middlesex University, UK) in Theatre Directing. He has been a freelance-journalist, teacher, television film-cameraman (then Singapore Broadcasting Corporation), Welfare Officer (closed institution for delinquents), Probation Officer and Prison Welfare Officer. He worked as an Arts Administrator with the National Arts Council from 1987 to 2000, Lecturer (Drama) at the Division of Performing Arts, LASALLE-SIA College of the Arts from 2001 to 2003, an Associate (Literary) at The Centre for the Arts, National University of Singapore in 2004, a Security Executive, from 2005 to 2006, a Drama Teacher at an international school in 2007, and Administrative Manager in 2008. He is the Artistic Director of Agni Kootthu (Theatre of Fire).
He has published three collections of poetry: Vizhichannalkalin Pinnalirunthu (Behind Windows of Eyes), 1979, Mounavatham (Silent Annihilation), 1984, and Transcreations (a bilingual collection), 1988, and 11 collections of plays, DOGS and Other Plays, 1996, TALAQ (Divorce), 1999, BUANG SUAY and Other Plays, 2001, FLUSH – recipient of the Singapore Internationale Award, 2002, MINES, 2003, OODAADI (Medium) – recipient of the Singapore Internationale Award, 2003, O$P$ (OweMoneyPayMoney), 2004, 1915 – recipient of the Singapore Internationale Award, 2005, SMEGMA, 2006, P (Shit), 2007, and I, BOSE, 2009.
His works have been anthologized in The Poetry of Singapore (1985) and The Fiction of Singapore (1990) in the Anthology of ASEAN Literatures series, and ASEANO – An anthology of poems from Southeast Asia (1995), Philippines, Voices of Singapore (1989), Words For The 25th (1990), Singapore: Places, Poems, Paintings (1993), Journeys: Words, Home and Nation (1995), Rhythms-A Singaporean Millennial Anthology of Poetry (2000), The S.E.A. Write Anthology of ASEAN Short Stories & Poems (2008), and SAMPARK – Indian edition on Singapore literature (2008).
He was one of the literary editors of: SINGA – the journal of literature and the arts in Singapore, from 1990 to 1993 and 1997 to 1998, The Fiction of Singapore, Words For The 25th and Voices 4 (1995). He has represented Singapore in the 2nd Asian Poetry Festival, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1989, 3rd & 4th Southeast Asian Writers’ Conferences in Singapore, 1987 and Philippines, 1990, 3rd World Poetry Reading, Malaysia, 1990, and 1st ASEAN Writers’ Conference / Workshop, Malaysia, 1992, and was a member of the first multilingual literary delegation’s trip to China in Apr 1999 organised by The Centre For The Arts & The Association of Singapore Writers (Chinese). He represented Singapore in the Singapore Writers Festivals in 1988, 1993 and 2005, and the Ubud International Writers Festival, Bali, Indonesia in Oct 2005.
He has also conducted poetry and playwriting workshops and mentored for the Creative Arts Programme series from 1991-93/98/99/04, organised by the Gifted Education Unit of the Ministry of Education and The Centre for The Arts, National University of Singapore. His bilingual poem Hairline was displayed in the MRT: Poems on the Move series by the National Arts Council in Jan 1999.
He wrote the story, screenplay and dialogues for the 13-week teledrama SOOR (High) based on true drug-abuse case-studies in Singapore and it was telecasted on Vasantham Central of the Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS) in 2003. DOGS was staged by the Hearts & Eyes Theatre at the Standard Bank National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa, Jul 1996. DOGS was given a staged reading in the Typhoon III Festival at the Soho Theatre, London in Jun 2004, a rehearsed reading at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in Oct 2004 and staged in the doublebill ‘Typhoon Live’ at the Oval House Theatre (Off West End), London from 9 to 13 Oct 2007 by the Yellow Earth Theatre – UK’s flagship award-winning East Asian theatre company based in London. P (SHIT) was staged by Teater Ekamatra, a leading Malay theatre group in Singapore, Mar 2006.
Since 1991, he has written, adapted, transcreated and directed numerous plays for Agni Kootthu (Theatre of Fire), a prominent bilingual exploratory theatre group in Singapore. His major unpublished plays include Becak (Trishaw) Puli (Tiger), Sangre (Blood), Mirugam II (Animal II), Buddha’s Handgrenade, OH! and Alamak! His works have been staged in Australia, UK, South Africa, Spain and India. He has also participated as a Dramaturg: MOSAIC Youth Theatre of Detroit, USA, Dec 2000, UNESCO International Theatre Festival, Sinaia, Romania, Jul 2001, and at the FIESTA! International Experimental Theatre Festival, Dec 2001, Caracas, Venezuela.
Known to be controversial, irreverent and provocative, his works explore the untouched realities in Singapore. He believes that art should conscientise, confront and question accepted societal stereotypes of vision, perception, feeling and judgement to examine reality as a historical and social process.
Elangovan is listed on tamilnation.org as one of the renowned individuals in their list of 100 Tamils of the 20th Century – Tamils who had made significant contributions to the world. He is listed as No.8 on the language and literature category among other prominent Tamil intellectuals.
He received the 1997 SEA (South-East Asia) Write Award, Southeast Asia’s premier literary prize, in Bangkok, Thailand for his bilingual contribution to literature (poetry) and theatre in Singapore.
Elangovan’s books are available at: http://www.selectbooks.com.sg/ & http://www.earshot.com.sg
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