The South Asia Center and the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs present Nishant Batsha and a Conversation on Mother Ocean Father Nation, a riveting, tender debut novel, following a brother and sister whose paths diverge-one forced to leave, one left behind-in the wake of a nationalist coup in the South Pacific. The conversation will be moderated by Chanelle Benz from SU’s Creative Writing M.F.A. Program.
On a small Pacific island, a brother and sister tune in to a breaking news radio bulletin. It is 1985, and an Indian grocer has just been attacked by nativists aligned with the recent military coup. Now, fear and shock are rippling through the island’s deeply-rooted Indian community as racial tensions rise to the brink. Bhumi hears this news from her locked-down dorm room in the capital city. She is the ambitious, intellectual standout of the family-the one destined for success. But when her friendship with the daughter of a prominent government official becomes a liability, she must flee her unstable home for California. Jaipal feels like the unnoticed, unremarkable sibling, always left to fend for himself. He is stuck working in the family store, avoiding their father’s wrath, with nothing but his hidden desires to distract him. Desperate for money and connection, he seizes a sudden opportunity to take his life into his own hands for the first time. But his decision leaves him at the mercy of an increasingly volatile country. Spanning from the lush terrain of the South Pacific to the golden hills of San Francisco, Mother Ocean Father Nation is an entrancing debut about how one family, at the mercy of a nation broken by legacies of power and oppression, forges a path to find a home once again.
Nishant Batsha is the author of the novel Mother Ocean Father Nation (Ecco/Harper Collins), a 2022 NPR Books We Love pick. A writer of fiction and histories, he holds a doctorate in history from Columbia University. His academic research focuses on Indian indentured labor in Trinidad and Fiji. His writing has received support through a Soros Fellowship for New Americans. He works as a Digital Engineer and Communications Manager for Words Without Borders and lives in Buffalo, New York.
This event was first published on September 12, 2022 and last updated on September 30, 2022.
- Social Science and Public Policy
- Open to
- Undergraduate Students
- Juanita Horan
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