Unbound: 2,000 Years of Indian Women’s Writing
Edited by Annie Zaidi
9789383064168 | PB | pp. 357 | 2016 | Aleph Book Company
Unbound is a carefully curated collection of the most significant writing of Indian women authors in the last 2000 years. It encompasses writing on various aspects of life.
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Unbound is a collection of some of the most significant writing by Indian women over the past two thousand years. Divided into eleven sections, it encompasses writing on various aspects of life: spirituality, love, marriage, children, food, work, social and individual identity, battles, myths and fables, travel, and death. While many of the pieces are commentaries on the struggle that women undergo to overcome obstacles—social and political—all of them showcase the remarkable creative ability of their creators. The term ‘women’s writing’ has often been used to limit and stereotype the work of women writers. But it also has a larger and more constructive meaning, and that is the sense in which it has been used to inform and describe the context of the book. As Annie Zaidi explains in her introduction: ‘Women bring to their writing the truth of their bodies, and an enquiry into the different ways in which gender inequity shapes human experience.’
Selected from hundreds of novels, memoirs, essays, short story collections and volumes of poetry that were either written in English or that have been translated into English, the pieces in this collection include the most distinctive and powerful voices from every era. There are verses from the Therigatha, written by Buddhist nuns (circa 300 BCE), and writing by poet-saints like Andal, Avvaiyar, Lal Ded, Mirabai; modern classics by writers
like Ajeet Cour, Amrita Pritam, Arundhati Roy, Attia Hosian, Bama, Bulbul Sharma, Irawati Karve, Ismat Chughtai, Kamala Das, Krishna Sobti, Mahasweta Devi, Manju Kapur, Mannu Bhandari, Mrinal Pande, Nayantara Sahgal, Pinki Virani, Qurratulain Hyder, Rashid Jahan, Romila Thapar, Sarojini Naidu, Saudamini Devi, Shivani; and powerful new voices from our time like Arundhathi Subramaniam, Nilanjana Roy, Nivedita Menon.
Profound, exhilarating, haunting, angry and meditative, Unbound is a collection that will shatter stereotypes about women’s writing in India.
Aleph Book Company
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About the Author
Annie Zaidi is a freelance journalist and scriptwriter based in Mumbai, India, and was named by Elle magazine as one of the emerging South Asian writers ‘whose writing … will enrich South Asian literature’. Her first novel, Prelude to a Riot was published in 2019. Other books include Known Turf: Bantering with Bandits and Other True Tales, a collection of essays based on her experiences as a reporter, which was shortlisted for the Crossword Book Award in 2010, and Love Stories # 1 to 14, a collection of short fiction published in 2012. She also edited the anthology Unbound: 2,000 Years of Indian Women’s Writing, published in 2015.
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