Kritika Pandey is a writer and poet. Her short story The Great Indian Tee and Snakes recently won the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. She has also won the 2020 James W Foley Memorial Award and the 2018 Harvey Swados Fiction Prize.
Pandey sat down with Abhinandan Sekhri to talk about her life, work and literary journey.
“I was responding to the contemporary sociopolitical upheavals in India,” Kritika says when asked about the inspiration for The Great Indian Tee and Snakes, while pointing out the varied receptions it got from her peers in the United States and back home in Jharkhand.
She talks about the trade-off involved in keeping the local flavour in a story while ensuring that it has a global appeal.
She stresses the importance of engaging with people holding different points of view while commenting on the “overwoke” people in the US in the context of the current political situation. She narrates her experience attending the Black Lives Matter protests against the murder of George Flyod, and discusses how the protest cultures in India and the US differ.
Kritika also talks about experiencing gender discrimination, desi families and validation, what’s next for her, and much more.
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