Berlin Fellowship 2020 — Literature
*1984 in Tamil Nadu (IN)
Lives in Tamil Nadu (IN) and London (GB)
Meena Kandasamy is a poet and novelist who was born in Chennai, India. She has published two collections of poetry, Touch (2006) and Ms Militancy (2010). Her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Gypsy Goddess (2014), tells the story of the 1968 Kilvenmani massacre. Her second novel, a work of autobiographical fiction, When I Hit You: Or, The Portrait of the Writer As A Young Wife (2017) was shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018. Her latest novel, Exquisite Cadavers (2019), is a work of experimental fiction that investigates storytelling. She divides her time between London and Tamil Nadu.
During my Berlin residency, I intend to work on a novel that examines some of the connections and influences between fascism in Germany and the rising of right-wing politics in India. It is often said that we have to look at history to understand our future, and I think knowing how fascism took hold in Germany will help me to write about what is happening in India at the moment. There's repression, the erosion of worker's rights, capitalism, and a daily backlash against the few rights women have gained. So, during my residency I will be working on this novel – I've started an outline and reading list already, and I hope to make progress on it.