The fifty-eight writers included in this new sourcebook have roots in India--or, less frequently, in Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Sri Lanka--but represent diverse geographical areas of the Indian Diaspora: from the South Pacific to South America, from the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius and Singapore to the cities and suburbs of London, New York, Johannesburg, and Toronto. Their lives, works, themes, and critical receptions are examined individually but with attention to two central assumptions: that people of the Indian diaspora share a diasporic consciousness generated by a complex network of historical connections, spiritual affinities, and unifying racial memories, and that this shared sensibility is manifested in the cultural productions of the Indian diasporic communities around the world. These concepts, developed by Professor Nelson in a previous study, Reworlding: The Literature of the Indian Diaspora, are here applied to a larger canvas of writers, including major international figures such as V.S. Naipaul, and Salman Rushdie and talented emerging writers.
The writers practice a variety of literary forms and represent a extraordinary diversity of ethnicities, languages, and religious traditions. The women among them contribute the perspective of gender along with the themes of ethnicity, migrancy, and post-coloniality shared with the male writers. Each entry begins with relevant biographical information on the writer, offers an interpretive summary of the major works, provides an overview of the critical reception accorded the corpus and individual productions, and concludes with detailed primary and secondary bibliographies. A brief appendix lists each writer with place of birth and places of domicile. The introduction to the volume, by Professor Nalini Natarajan, discusses several theoretical issues pertinent to Indian diasporic studies. Of value to all literary collections and scholars, this reference work will be of special interest for post-colonial and Commonwealth studies.