An Indian woman with wavy black hair.




Shilpi Suneja was born in India. She holds an MA in English from New York University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University, where she was awarded the Saul Bellow Prize. Her work has won a Pushcart Prize nomination and appears in Asia Literary Review, Bat City Review, Cognoscenti, Consequence, Hyphen, Kartika Review, Little Fiction, McSweeny's, and Michigan Quarterly Review, among other places. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Her novel about the long shadow of India's Partition is slated for publication in Fall 2022 from Milkweed Editions.

SESSION: The Historian and the Historical Novel: How to Research Your Novel With (or Like) a Historian

If you’re aiming to create a nuanced, thoroughly researched historical novel, you would likely benefit from consulting a historian. In this session, a historian and a novelist will team up to offer concrete ideas on how to effectively and affectively research historical novels, using the examples of South Asian historical archives. Among the issues we will discuss: how to find data, including reading surveys and maps; how to do archival research, including locating and parsing historical records; how to participate ethically in oral history projects to write fiction that is based in people’s history; and what inspiration we can draw from documented historical events. Q&A to follow.