The Hay 30 – Preti TANEJA

Preti Taneja's debut novel We that are young which translates Shakespeare's King Lear to contemporary India, will be published by Galley Beggar Press in summer 2017. She is the winner of the Gatehouse Press New Fictions Prize 2014/15 for her novella Kumkum Malhotra, and the co-founder of Visual Verse, the online anthology of art and words.

Preti holds a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellowship 2017-19 at Warwick University for her academic work on Shakespeare and human rights, which considers the plays in translation to different languages and forms in current conflict and post-conflict zones. The project grew from over a decade of work as a human rights advocate: Preti has worked as a volunteer at ChildLine; with young people from diverse backgrounds across the UK to get their voices into mainstream media; reporting for international NGOs in places including Rwanda, Kenya, and on award winning fiction and documentary films including covering the plight of religious, ethnic and linguistic minorities fleeing Iraq since 2003.

In 2014, Preti was named a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker; she is interested in how culture constantly subverts mainstream narratives to form new connections that cannot be controlled. She was born in the UK to Indian parents, she now lives in Cambridge, where she also holds an honorary fellowship at Jesus College.

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The Hay 30 is made possible by the generous support of the CASE foundation.

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Hay Festival 2017

Paul Beatty talks to Preti Taneja

The Sellout

Hay Festival 2017, 

The winner of the 2016 Man Booker Prize discusses his novel. “The most badass first 100 pages of an American novel I’ve read.” New York Times

A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game.

Born in Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in his father’s racially charged psychological studies. He is told that his father’s work will lead to a memoir that will solve their financial woes. But when his father is killed in a drive-by shooting, he discovers there never was a memoir. All that’s left is a bill for a drive-through funeral.

What’s more, Dickens has literally been wiped off the map to save California from further embarrassment. Fuelled by despair, the narrator sets out to right this wrong with the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

In his trademark absurdist style, which has the uncanny ability to make readers want to both laugh and cry, The Sellout is an outrageous and outrageously entertaining indictment of our time.

Hay Festival 2017

Preti Taneja

We that are young: Imagining King Lear in India

Hay Festival 2017, 

Taneja's debut novel We That Are Young sets Shakespeare’s King Lear in contemporary India, where the clash of youth and age, the rise of the religious right wing, the repression of free speech and civil conflict in Kashmir are ongoing. She discusses the hidden history, politics and urgent contemporary relevance of Shakespeare’s plays in India. Chaired by Anil Dharker, Founder & Director of Tata Literature Live! the Mumbai LitFest