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Vivek Shraya Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

She of the Mountains (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Subtweet (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

God Loves Hair (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
even this page is white (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Plays

How to Fail as a Popstar (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Picture Books

The Boy & The Bindi (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

I'm Afraid of Men (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death Threat (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
People Change (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Vivek Shraya is a Canadian visual artist, musician, and author whose work transcends several genres. While she only recently got into writing, she made her name as a musician. Vivek’s approach to her identity and art is as varied as the mediums she works in. She is currently a singer-songwriter with “Too Attached” and is also a filmmaker responsible for the movies “Ache in My Name,” “What I Love About Being Queer,” and “Holy Mother My Mother.” “Part-Time Woman,” the album she recorded with Queer Songbook Orchestra was on the Best Canadian Albums list of 2017 by CBC. Her first literary work was a poetry collection titled “Even This Page is White” that was the winner of the Publisher Triangle Award in 2017. Her debut novel was the critically acclaimed novel “She of the Mountains” that she published in 2014. She has also written critically acclaimed nonfiction works such as “I’m Afraid of Men.” Vivek is the founder of the publishing company Imprint VS. Books. Her awards include the Pride Toronto Grand Marshall and nominations for the Lambda Literary Award and Polaris Music Prize. She has also been honored by CBC Canada Reads and the Writers’ Trust of Canada. She is currently working at the University of Calgary where she is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. She also serves on the board of Tegan and Sara Foundation as a director.

Shraya had always been conscious of her sexuality given that she was gender creative and very feminine growing up. At a young age, she started adopting masculine mannerisms, learning the beliefs, mannerisms, customs, and codes associated with men. After graduating with a degree in English, she moved to Toronto where she believed she could find the anonymity she craved. As a more multicultural city, she could attend Prides without being stared at as the queer Indian man which meant a lot. It was while she was in Toronto that she wrote her first novel “God Loves Hair” and also started recording music. Vivek formed the band “Too Attached” with her brother and recorded an album. In the meantime, she was also working on the male ideal and started wearing a beard, working out and waxing her chest. She says that it was her embracing of masculinity that helped her move away from it as it was only by becoming a man that she could move beyond it. Shraya got interested in the complicated conversations about masculinity that she then chronicled in “I’m Afraid of Men” that was called cultural rocket fuel by Vanity Fair.

In every instance of her work, Vivek Shraya reckons with historical memory, bodies and how our elves and cultures are mythologized. In her debut novel “She of the Mountains” she goes back to her roots and reinvents Hindu mythology. The story tells of a young Indian person unlearning and learning about his sexuality and gender against a backdrop of social violence. The character comes to the understanding of their identity inside the gay male community but then goes on to fall for a woman. Shraya continues to define her ideas of identity through music and visual art.

Vivek Shraya’s “She of Mountains” tells two stories in one novel. The first story is a reimagining/retelling of the Hindu creation myth and focuses on the relationship between Shiva the Lord of Destruction, Parvati the mother of the universe and Ganesh the son to Parvati. Ganesh is beheaded by Lord Shiva who then replaces his head with that of a demon elephant. The second story is about the sexual evolution of a man who has fallen in love with a girl and is going against the voices in his head that tell him that he is gay and denying who he is. At its core, the twin narratives are about dysmorphia and embodiment. It is not only dysmorphia as found in psychological texts in reference to eating disorders but a dysmorphia that results in a different perception of other people. Many people in the society in which the character lives in expect sexuality to be a black or white label or badge. This causes him to transform his appearance or feel that he should to fit that mold.

Vivek Shraya’s “Subtweet” is an energetic novel about Rukmini and Neela two brown artists. It illustrates how they come together to become close friends and then fall out when a twitter feud escalates. It captures the complexities of professional jealousies, women’s friendship, what it means to be an artist of color and the unpredictable nature of the internet. It is a messy and complicated love letter to friendship, to women of color, to creativity, to artistry, and to music. Shraya writes of wonderful, flawed and multidimensional characters in a witty, sharp and smart yet in a loving and kind way. The novel is sometimes ugly with vitriol, bitterness, jealousy, and frustration yet it is also wholesome and tender and full of music and love.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Vivek Shraya

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