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The Creative Writing Program welcomes writer Shastri Akella for a night of reading and conversations.

Shastri Akella's debut novel "The Sea Elephants" has been published by Flatiron Books (USA, Canada) and Penguin (India). He was a writing resident at the Fine Arts Works Center (2021) and the Oak Springs Garden Foundation (2023). He's winner of 2022 FracturedLit Flash Fiction Contest and the 2023 Best Microfiction Contest. His writing has appeared in Guernica, Fairy Tale Review, CRAFT, The Masters Review, Electric Literature, World Literature Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. He earned an MFA in creative writing and PhD. in comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He's an assistant professor of creative writing at Michigan State University.

The Sea Elephants is a queer coming-of-age novel set in 1990s India, about a young man who joins a traveling street theater troupe, seeking to outrun the dark secrets of his past. It was listed as A Most Anticipated Book in numerous publications such as GMA, Poets & Writers, BookRiot, Lambda Literary, Electric Literature, LGBTQ Reads, Debutiful, Virtuoso Magazine, San Antonio Magazine. The New York Journal of Books describes it as "Ravishingly written…There’s a Dickensian quality to Shastri Akella’s saga…The Sea Elephants is a lavish first novel. It is a must for lovers of queer fiction and lovers of India." and the Poets and Writers magazine praises it as a "poised, elegant debut…While there is a rich, stories tradition of queerness in South Asian art, culture, and mythology, queer literature is still a relatively sparse canon. This makes Akella’s novel, and his voice, all the more important.”

The author will sign books after the reading. 

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