Nepal Reads: Gender and Sexuality 2021
“Of course I wanted to see the world, to experience its fullness. I wanted to be a real part of it, rather than the passing shadow I so often felt like. I wanted to devour the world,” writes Saeed Jones in his memoir.
In the 2021 edition of Nepal Reads: Gender and Sexuality, taking what we learned from the previous year, we have curated a list of readings that illuminate the lived experiences of contemporary queer and BIPOC authors and poets: Saeed Jones, Ocean Vuong, Kai Cheng Thom, Samra Habib, Billy Ray Belcourt, and Maia Kobabe. Curated by researcher, critic, and educator Alston D’Silvia, the critically acclaimed memoirs, fiction and books of poetry by these authors unveil the vastness of queer experiences.
“Of course I wanted to see the world, to experience its fullness. I wanted to be a real part of it, rather than the passing shadow I so often felt like. I wanted to devour the world,” writes Saeed Jones in his memoir, How We Fight for Our Lives. The stories and poems we have picked represent new voices in global literature. They also present the particular experiences of their authors.
While the seething wounds inflicted by trauma, violent racism, imperialism, homophobia and transphobia are exposed in these stories, they are also alive with the hunger and struggle to create belonging and joy outside the bounds of a heteronormative culture.
In the texts we have picked, queerness is, among many things, non-conformity, a refusal to abide by cultural and gendered expectations. They are journeys of closing the gap between identity and experience. These are not just readings to learn about gender and sexuality, but readings that are meant to help us reflect upon our own unique positionalities in the world.
Nepal Reads is a program that seeks to foster a reading culture and create communities of readers who enjoy discourses and conversations that exercise their critical thinking skills. With the 2021 edition of Nepal Reads: Gender and Sexuality, we hope to facilitate discussions that delve into the lives and creative expressions of these authors through empathy, curiosity and questioning. We hope the discussion sessions will encourage readers to critically assess heteronormative conditioning, and challenge their notions of queerness. Most importantly, we hope our readers will experience masterful expressions of love, joy, rage, grief, and catharsis.
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