Book Club / South Asian Literature Centre

We’re stoked to be one of the recipients of the very first round of grants from Edified – the Energiser Grants announced 13 November 2019 – congratulations to all the other recipients who are doing impactful work you can read the announcement here. Below is our project we put forward which we’ll be piloting in 2020

Background – What’s Currently Happening?

  • Books by women account for an average of only one in four of those reviewed by mainstream media, evidenced by annual audits such as the VIDA Count (Data on South Asian / women of colour authors is not available, we hope to conduct this research) 
  • For example – In my personal research I was only able to find 4 memoirs/autobiographical texts published by female Indian Australian authors (there are 350 000 Indian Australian women).
  • In over a hundred years of the Nobel Prize for Literature, there have only been thirteen women winners.
  • Literature significantly influences culture, readership is low amongst the South Asian diaspora and part of the problem is the lack of diversity in reading materials.
  • Melbourne is one of the few UNESCO Cities of Literature for its vibrant and supposedly “diverse” literature scene. 

Purpose – Why We Exist

  • Promoting underrepresented voices of South Asian female authors
  • Increasing readership amongst the South Asian community by promoting relevant engaging books.
  • Promoting dialogue about culture, identity and women’s empowerment. 
  • Raising awareness of the unique stories, voices and issues facing South Asian women 
  • Building community, resilience and sisterhood amongst the community/diaspora
  • Increasing cultural intelligence of non South Asians through engagement and conversation
  • Advocating for inclusion of literature by female South Asian authors into schools, particularly those with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) students. 

Approach – Activities (2020)

  • Establish Centre based in Melbourne with global reach in partnership with Government, Universities and Foundations committed to diversity in literature. 
  • Raise awareness of South Asian authors through a podcast discussing books and culture with authors, hosted by young South Asian leaders. 
  • 5 x yearly event series promoting diverse authors and creating space for members of the community to discuss ideas and themes from books. 
  • Establish South Asian Girls’ Book across Australia, Canada, UK, USA and India with selected leaders spearheading chapters in 10 cities and create avenues for them to share ideas, organise regular events, build a sense of community across borders promoting intercultural awareness and sisterhood amongst the diaspora.

Join us

  • Apply to become a City Lead of the South Asian Girls’ Book Club in your city (involves committing for one year and spearheading the book club in your city by organising regular fun catch ups to discuss books). The main cities will be Melbourne, Chandigarh, Toronto, Davis and London – though if you’re confident to be a lead in another city then we’re open to consideration.
  • Donate to help establish the Centre 
  • Become a member of the book club ($25 AUD per year) 
  • Volunteer – we’re looking for 2 volunteers to be involved in event design & execution with guidance (must be Melbourne based) ~6-7 hours per week. 
  • Corporate/University Partner – support initiative through sponsorship / donation or in kind support. 

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