Tuesday, December 10, 2013

In Which We Welcome our New Fiction Editor, Sayantani Dasgupta

Barely six months after my essay, Why My Mother Should Take Over the World, got published in Crab Creek Review, I was invited to join its editorial team as the fiction editor. I was delighted and honored, not only because of CCR’s fine reputation but because it would give me an opportunity to exercise my editorial muscle that had been dormant since I stepped away from the world of publishing in 2006 to pursue writing, both as a teacher and student. 

While Crab Creek Review has a history of publishing renowned writers, I am also hoping to find fresh, new voices. I am looking for stories that will stun me with their characters and conflicts, and those that will surprise me with the way they turn. One of my favorite short stories is Jhumpa Lahiri’s Mrs. Sen’s. I have read it countless times and each time I am heartbroken by Mrs. Sen’s loneliness, by her attachment to all the ordinary objects with which she surrounds herself and how they constantly remind her of home. Another favorite is Dan Chaon’s Bees where the father’s day to day existence is scarred by his son’s nightmares and the memory of a past he cannot forget. It’s a deeply haunting story and the author’s grip over its pacing and tension are its greatest strengths.

Since graduating with my MFA in 2006, I have had the privilege of meeting with a variety of writers, and talking to them about craft and process. I have learned about their daily writing practices, favorite books, and so on. I have met writers who prefer to talk only about what has been published and keep under wraps their current projects. And I have also met those who make changes to their manuscript only after discussing it at length with their writing groups. But if there is a way I can distill their collective wisdom and pass it on further, it will be to trust your instinct but not wait for the muse to strike.


Born in Calcutta and raised in New Delhi, Sayantani Dasgupta’s writing has appeared in several American and Indian journals. In her writing, Sayantani likes to explore the intersection of personal story juxtaposed with political turmoil, popular culture, and religious fundamentalism, especially in the context of South Asia, along with answering the question as to what constitutes an Indian identity in an increasingly global world. She lives in Moscow and teaches writing and South Asian literature at the University of Idaho.

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Important FYI regarding fiction submissions: There are still five days left to submit your stories (and poetry) to Crab Creek Review. Our deadline ends 15 December. Send us your best! We'll read it with care.