Work samples

  • Bombay Oregon Chapter_Baker.pdf
    “Sandesh, Smriti, & Rishi”, Chapter from Bombay, Oregon Framed with the gathering of a grieving family of working-class Gujaratis in light of the death of their mentally-ill eldest brother, this novel-in-stories follows the stories of his remaining siblings and the people they’ve intersected with — a librarian who is arrested after racial profiling, a motel owner in the deep South, a young budding chef on the spectrum, and others — as each tries to build a new life while falling prey to the socio-economic precarities of living as an immigrant in America. This chapter does not need any contextual information. With the novel, I hope to recreate the feeling of families sharing anecdotal tales over chai, while unable to reconcile the fraught lives lived behind them, for sake of enjoying the moment.

    Genres/Keywords: multigenerational family, social novel, immigrant, working-class

    Comp Titles: Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi), 99 Nights in Logar (Jamil Jan Kochai) 

About Aditya

Baltimore City - Station North A&E District
Aditya Desai is a South Asian American writer, editor, teacher, and literary programmer living in Baltimore. He's served on the mastheads of Guernica, South Asian Avant-Garde Anthology, Atticus Review, and Hyphen Magazine. He currently is the literary programmer with Maryland Humanities and has worked with the CityLit Project, Baltimore Youth Arts, and the Asian Pasifika Arts Collective. His stories and essays in literary publications and magazines including … more

Sangam (Novel), First Three Chapters

Opening three chapters of novel in progress, SANGAM For Indian American DJ Amar, music is his gateway to two things: girls and social cache. In college, he bands with Iranian Americans Erfan and Dalia to create a new sound of the brown millennial diaspora. While Erfan’s success grows and Dalia abates his affections, he’s stuck gigging across small-time clubs and weddings. As his obsession grows, he turns to his grandfather’s record of an old Sufi ghazal -- the backstory of which crosses both 13th century and post-Partition India, revealing to us the missing streams of a cultural and personal history of the subcontinent that have met at the confluence of his life.

Currently shopping novel to agents.

Genres/Keywords: Bildungsroman, historical, triptych, music

Comp titles: 99 Nights in Logar (Jamil Jan Kochai), Compass (Mathias Enard), Londonstani (Gautam Malkani)
  • Sangam_First 3 Chapters_Baker.pdf
    Opening three chapters of novel in progress, SANGAM For Indian American DJ Amar, music is his gateway to two things: girls and social cache. In college, he bands with Iranian Americans Erfan and Dalia to create a new sound of the brown millennial diaspora. While Erfan’s success grows and Dalia abates his affections, he’s stuck gigging across small-time clubs and weddings. As his obsession grows, he turns to his grandfather’s record of an old Sufi ghazal -- the backstory of which crosses both 13th century and post-Partition India, revealing to us the missing streams of a cultural and personal history of the subcontinent that have met at the confluence of his life. Genres/Keywords: Bildungsroman, historical, triptych, music Comp titles: 99 Nights in Logar (Jamil Jan Kochai), Compass (Mathias Enard), Londonstani (Gautam Malkani)

Terminus - Novel Excerpt of "Terminus"

 Excerpt published in B O D Y Magazine.

Terminus follows two characters: Ashok, an Indian immigrant grieving from the loss of his son, and Abdi, an African-American trying to reintegrate to society after release from prison for a wrongful conviction. Their lives are intertwined by the construction of a new metro line in Baltimore – for Ashok and his wife, this is a new lease on their snatched American dream; for Abdi, a growing sense of local activism to protect his community. The novel crosses the suburbs and inner-city neighborhoods, highlighting fractures of race, gentrification and daily human struggle. The ideas for this novel began before the Freddie Gray Uprisings in 2015, and in the aftermath as it’s issues have become more prominent. I am keenly interested in getting feedback at how it addresses issues of race to make sure I am writing ethically and responsibly. Genres/Keywords: social novel, criminal justice, gentrification Comp titles: Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (Deepa Annapara), Lucky Boy (Shanti Sekaran), The Leavers (Lisa Ko) Current draft: 4
  • TERMINUS.pdf

"Monkey Brains" - Creative Essay

A version of this was published in Taco Bell Quarterly, April 2022
https://tacobellquarterly.org/monkey-brains/

The Quixotic Search for South Asian Media Representation - Essay

Critical essay reviewing the Netflix series Never Have I Ever as a basis for considering questions of media representation, nostalgia, craft's impact on content, and what it means to "be seen." Published Tropics of Meta May 2020.
https://tropicsofmeta.com/2020/05/27/the-quixotic-search-for-south-asian-media-representation/

"Raid on Madras" - Short Story

Short story solicited for Barrelhouse Magazine's Desi Special Issue, June 2019
https://www.barrelhousemag.com/onlinelit/aditya-desai-raid-on-madras
See also conversation with Feroz Rather:
https://www.barrelhousemag.com/onlinelit/feroz-and-aditya
  • Raid+on+Madras_Hafsa+Ashfaqsmaller.jpg
    Art by Hafsa Ashfaq

The Cost of Doing Business - Essay

A creative essay written in response to the February 2017 shootings in Olathe, KS where a white xenophobe targeted two Indian men he believed to be Iranians, killing one. Published originally in The Rumpus, September 2017:

http://therumpus.net/2017/09/the-cost-of-doing-business/

A Swimming Pool - Short Story

Told in the second-person POV, a man reflects on his unfinished backyard pool at a time when he is becoming increasingly disconnected from his family.

Forthcoming in District Lit, 2017.
  • ASwimmingPool_AdityaDesai.pdf

A Bend In The Track - Novel Excerpt of "Terminus"

This excerpt from my novel-in-progress follows an Indian-American man still grieving the loss of his son, as a new work promotion puts new lease on his hope for the American Dream.

Published in The New Engagement, January 2017 Issue.
http://thenewengagement.com/literature/a-bend-in-the-track
  • ABendInTheTrack_AdityaDesai.pdf

Foraging - Novel Excerpt of "Terminus"

This excerpt from my novel-in-progress follows a young African-American man attempting to re-enter society after being released from prison.

Published in the Asian American Writers Workshop's The Margins, featured Fiction Friday Author, 2/5/2016.
http://aaww.org/foraging/
  • Foraging_AdityaDesai.pdf

More Jaggery - Short Story

Set in the Indian-American enclave of Edison, NJ, this story profiles a family caught in a moment of fracture. This was my first story published.

Published in The Kartika Review, Summer Issue 13, 2012.
https://issuu.com/kartikareview/docs/kartika_issue13
  • MoreJaggery_AdityaDesai.pdf