On today’s episode, we’re looking at the objects that define people and their place in time. In our first story, we go back to the 1960s, to Eastern Kentucky, to an odd little house in the country with no right angles. Jacinda Townsend reads “Rhombus,” a chapter from her forthcoming novel. Then, we climb into a white Chevy Nova and head to Astoria. It’s 1979, and a grandmother has traveled from Bombay to New York to watch her grandchildren for the summer. Or are they keeping an eye on her? Neela Vaswani reads “Five Objects in Queens.”
Jacinda Townsend grew up in Southcentral Kentucky. She left at the age of sixteen, when she went to Harvard, where she took her first creative writing class. While at Duke Law School she cross-registered in the English department, where she took her next few formative writing workshops, and in 1999, went to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Since receiving her M.F.A. she has been a Fulbright fellow to Côte d’Ivoire, a Carol Houck Smith fiction fellow at the University of Wisconsin, and a Hurston-Wright Award finalist. She has published short fiction in literary magazines such as African Voices, Carve Magazine, The Maryland Review, Obsidian II, Passages North, Phoebe, and Xavier Review, and her work has been anthologized in such publications as Surreal South and Telling Stories: Fiction by Kentucky Feminists. Her nonfiction has been published in two different series of Chicken Soup for the Soul. She teaches at Indiana University and lives in Bloomington with her two young children. Her first novel, Saint Monkey, is forthcoming in 2014 from W.W. Norton.
Neela Vaswani is author of the short story collection Where the Long Grass Bends, and a memoir, You Have Given Me a Country. She is the recipient of the American Book Award, an O. Henry Prize, the ForeWord Book of the Year gold medal, the Nautilus Book Award gold medal, and many other honors. She is also co-author, with Silas House, of the Middle Grade novel-in-letters, Same Sun Here. Her fiction and nonfiction have been widely anthologized and published in journals such as Epoch, Shenandoah, andPrairie Schooner. She has been a Visiting-Writer-in-Residence at more than 100 institutions, among them: Knox College, 92nd Street Y (Tribeca), the Jimenez-Porter House at the University of Maryland, Kentucky Women Writers Conference, the Whitney Museum in New York City, and IIIT Hyderabad, India. She has a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies, lives in New York City, and teaches at Manhattanville College’s MFA in Writing Program and Spalding University’s brief-residency MFA in Writing Program. An education activist in India and the United States, Vaswani is founder of the Storylines Project with the New York Public Library.
The tenth and final episode of Season One of Unbound airs at 7 p.m. Friday. It features Kirby Gann and Jacqueline Gorman. Join us at 89.3 or stream at WFPL.org.
Unbound is made possible in part by the Bachelors and Masters Writing Programs at Spalding University. Read more credits and thanks.