Purvi Shah and Lara Tupper


Terrain Tracks Purvi Shah A Thousand and One Nights Lara Tupper


Building on the continuing success of the Writers at Rutgers Reading Series, the English department launched the new Writers from Rutgers Reading Series in spring 2007. This new series will feature writers who teach or study at Rutgers and those who have taught or studied at Rutgers in the past. Purvi Shah and Lara Tupper were our first guest speakers.

Shah’s first book of poetry, Terrain Tracks, won the 2005 Many Voices Project Prize. Her poetry focuses on migration and multicultural belonging—as well as the longing they produce. Her poems conjure trains, travel, and the many forms of bodily motion that result in loss, but also in future potential; they are sensual and intellectually rich, offering a number of lenses through which to see, feel, and imagine the immigrant experience.

Born in Ahmadabad, India, Shah moved to Chicago with her family when she was two, and grew up in Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, and Virginia. She currently lives in New York, where she is the executive director of Sakhi for South Asian Women, a community-based organization that suppports survivors of domestic violence. She holds a master’s degree from the Rutgers Graduate Program of Literatures in English.

In Tupper’s debut novel, A Thousand and One Nights, protagonist Karla takes a job as an entertainer on board a cruise ship, where she meets Jack. Together they form a duo. When Karla leaves the ship to travel with him on land, singing in the United Arab Emirates and Shanghai, she feels herself more and more “at sea.” Thus, the novel’s title refers to the nights Karla and Jack spend on stage as their story—and especially hers—unfolds.

A former lounge singer, Tupper has performed at sea in the Mediterranean and Caribbean, and on land in Thailand, Japan, China, and the UAE. A graduate of Wesleyan University and Warren Wilson College, Tupper teaches in the writing and creative writing programs at Rutgers, New Brunswick. She lives in New York and is a frequent reviewer for The Believer. She has published many short stories and is currently working on a second novel, written from the point of view of Mette, Paul Gaugin’s wife.

© 2007 Future Traditions Magazine
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Department of English | Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.