Sejal Shah at Mount Holyoke College

Join us on Tuesday September 29 at 4:30 PM on Zoom for a reading with Sejal Shah, author of This Is One Way to Dance

About the Book

In the linked essays that make up her debut collection, This Is One Way to Dance, Sejal Shah explores culture, language, family, and place. Throughout the collection, Shah reflects on what it means to make oneself visible and legible through writing in a country that struggles with race and maps her identity as an American, South Asian American, writer of color, and feminist. This Is One Way to Dance draws on Shah's ongoing interests in ethnicity and place: the geographic and cultural distances between people, both real and imagined. Her memoir in essays emerges as Shah wrestles with her experiences growing up and living in western New York, an area of stark racial and economic segregation, as the daughter of Gujarati immigrants from India and Kenya. These essays also trace her movement over twenty years from student to teacher and meditate on her travels and life in New England, New York City, and the Midwest, as she considers what it means to be of a place or from a place, to be foreign or familiar.

Shah invites us to consider writing as a somatic practice, a composition of digressions, repetitions--movement as transformation, incantation. Her essays--some narrative, others lyrical and poetic--explore how we are all marked by culture, gender, and race; by the limits of our bodies, by our losses and regrets, by who and what we love, by our ambivalences, and by trauma and silence. Language fractures in its attempt to be spoken. Shah asks and attempts to answer the question: How do you move in such a way that loss does not limit you? This Is One Way to Dance introduces a vital new voice to the conversation about race and belonging in America. 


About the Author

SEJAL SHAH is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in fiction. Her essays and stories have appeared in Brevity, Conjunctions, the Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, the Rumpus, and the collection Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America, among other publications. She has taught creative writing at the University of Rochester, Mount Holyoke College, and elsewhere. She lives in Rochester, New York.


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Event date: 
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm
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This Is One Way to Dance: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9780820357232
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Georgia Press - June 1st, 2020

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