Block title

Work Samples


Opening pages of novel-in-progress, Sangam

A tale of a ghazal that connects three men across generations, whose lives begin to echo one another to feed a complete tale of how music drives our minds and our hearts. In medieval India, the poet Khusro arrives at the ruins of a ransacked temple where, stricken by thoughts of his fantasy lover, he begins penning new ghazal lyrics. In 1948, young lawyer Jayant hears these lyrics from a courtesan who captures his soul. But he is stuck with a job and family that puts him at a moral crossroads against his newly independent nation. In present day America, aspiring disc jockeys Amar and Erfan find a recording of the ghazal. Amar juggles his hopes for success and stardom, complicated by his rivalry with Erfan, and his affections for his sister, Dalia. In telling the story of an adapted and remixed song, the novel seeks to mimic the structure through echoed tropes and story beats across time. Genres/Keywords: Bildungsroman, historical, triptych, music Comp titles: The Hours (Michael Cunningham), Compass (Mathias Enard), Invisible Cities (Italo Calvino), Londonstani (Gautam Malkani) Current Draft : 5
PDF icon SangamOpeningPages.pdf


Short story solicited for Barrelhouse Magazine's Desi Special Issue, June 2019

See also conversation with Feroz Rather:

PDF icon RaidonMadrasPubDraft.pdf


About Aditya

Baltimore City - Station North A&E District

Aditya Desai's stories and essays have been featured in Tropics of Meta, Barrelhouse Magazine, B O D Y, The Rumpus, The Millions, The Margins, District Lit, The Kartika Review, The Aerogram,  and other publications. He teaches writing in Baltimore, and is currently shopping his first novel.

Bombay, Oregon - Novel Manuscript

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. 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: Americanah (Chimamanda Adichie), The Dew Breaker (Edwidge Danticat) Current Draft: I am currently in drafting stages of this novel.

Terminus - Novel Excerpt

 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

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:

Woman with Power Is Woman Unchecked: Reading Narratives of Indian Women - Essay

Essay surveying Indian literature and popular narratives, everything from the Mahabharata to Bollywood and literary points in between, considering what agency they give women (both as the creators and characters of works) and how that has engendered severe misogyny in the culture at large. Published by The Millions, April 2017:

Connect with Aditya


Aditya's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.