22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Tishani Doshi

Portrait Tishani Doshi
© Ulrich Schreiber

Tishani Doshi was born in 1975 in Madras, India. After finishing school she studied Communications and Business Administration in North Carolina, and Creative Writing in Baltimore. She returned to her hometown to work as a journalist and published articles and interviews in various British and Indian papers. At the same time, Doshi began studying to be a dancer. She is a member of an ensemble which, under the direction of the legendary choreographer Chandralekha, has developed new forms of dance, and performs both in India and abroad.

Doshi published her first poems in anthologies and magazines like »The Times Literary Supplement«, »The Southern Poetry Review«, »Wasafiri« and »Reactions«. In 2001 she received the British Eric Gregory Award, and in 2005 her poem »The Day We Went to the Sea« won the All-India Poetry Competition. Her début »Countries of the Body« (2006) was awarded the British Forward Poetry Prize as the Best First Collection. The poems contained in the book – which is dedicated to her dance teacher – are intensively preoccupied with the human body. »Dance has affected my writing in a very profound way, because dance demanded far more discipline than I ever demanded of myself as a writer. It forced tautness into the work, the removal of extra flab, forced laziness out, forced me to take it seriously.« Physicality arises frequently in her texts, especially in extreme situations such as birth, sexual relations, death and the exercise of violence. The social aspects of the body are also a subject for reflection whenever gender and gender roles or social interactions – whether in romantic relationships or within families – are considered. Her poetic texts are meditative and rich in imagery, and the balanced rhythms convey a melancholy tone: »Poetry comes from a place of melancholy for me. It comes from pain, something negative.«

In 2010 her début novel »The Pleasure Seekers« was published, on which she had worked for 6 years and in which she shows the influence of writers like Salman Rushdie and Rohinton Mistry. The story is about a couple with very different backgrounds (which may be a reference to the author’s Welsh mother and Indian father). Their sensational marriage in 1960s India becomes the heart of a family saga covering three generations, and a story of growing together and belonging together, of becoming estranged from one another and growing close again, written with ease and charm in sensual and lively prose. Tishani Doshi lives in Indian Chennai (Madras).