Neela Vaswani

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Neela Vaswani

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The sources of this article are…

Adapted from Aimee Zaring, The Rumpus Interview With Neela Vaswani August 11th, 2010<>Neela Vaswani <> Amazon<> Amann Khuranaa ‘‘The Times of India’’

Grammy award

Vaswani won the Grammy in 2015 in the Best Children's Album category for 'I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up For Education And Changed The World (Malala Yousafzai)'.

In the album, she had narrated the audio version of the book of the same name.


Writer and education activist Neela's father is Sindhi-Indian and her mother is Irish Catholic. NDTV

Vaswani is the author of the short story collection 'Where the Long Grass Bends' and memoir 'You Have Given Me a Country.'

Early life

Neela Vaswani’s father is a Sindhi-Indian from Hyderabad, Sindh and her mother is Irish-Catholic. By the time Vaswani was eighteen, her family had lived in thirteen homes and traveled to twenty-five countries on doctor swaps and teaching tours. Vaswani has held a number of waitressing jobs, from chicken shacks to comedy clubs, and she paid off her school loans by cocktail waitressing at a fondue bar in NYC. Her first job was at a one-hour photo booth on Long Island. She has also dressed Armani models, delivered telephone books, worked cattle round-ups and barbed wire fencing, ripped tickets at a movie theatre, been a maid, a stage manager, a secretary, a prop girl for two independent movies, and driven an ice cream truck. She is left-handed although she plays the fiddle and knits right-handed. She loves paleontology, the Indian railway system, female detectives on television, goats, bats, bad-tempered camels, her husband, and online Boggle.

Her work as an author

Neela Vaswani is author of the award-winning short story collection Where the Long Grass Bends (2004). An education activist in India and the U.S., she lives in New York and is the founder of the Storylines Project with the New York Public Library.

Vaswani has also authored a memoir, You Have Given Me a Country. She is the recipient of the American Book Award, an O. Henry Prize, the ForeWord Book of the Year gold medal, the Nautilus Book Award gold medal, an Audie Award, and many other honors. She is also co-author the Middle Grade novel-in-letters, Same Sun Here. Her fiction and nonfiction have been widely anthologized and published in journals such as Epoch, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner.

She has been a Visiting-Writer-in-Residence at more than 100 institutions, among them: Knox College, 92nd Street Y (Tribeca), the Jimenez-Porter House at the University of Maryland, Kentucky Women Writers Conference, the Whitney Museum in New York City, and IIIT Hyderabad, India. She has a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, lives in New York City, and teaches at Manhattanville College’s MFA in Writing Program and Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing Program.

You Have Given Me a Country

Her book, You Have Given Me a Country, is a blend of history, memory, myth, and Cultural Studies. The memoir blurs borders of genre and identity, exploring what it means to be bicultural in America. The book follows the paths of Vaswani’s Irish-Catholic mother and Sindhi-Indian father on their journey towards each other and the biracial child they create.

You Have Given Me a Country is an emotionally powerful exploration of blurred borders, identity, and what it means to be multicultural. Combining memoir, history, and fiction, the book follows the paths of the author's Irish-Catholic mother and Sindhi-Indian father on their journey toward each other and the biracial child they create. Neela Vaswani's second full-length work thematically echoes such books as The Color of Water, Running in the Family, or Motiba's Tatoos, but it is entirely unique in approach, voice, and story. The book reveals the self as a culmination of all that went before it, a brilliant new weave of two varied, yet ultimately universal backgrounds that spans continents, generations, languages, wars, and, at the centre of it all, family.

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