5 Burning Questions with Mathangi Subramanian

As well as feature our future readers, we also wanted to check in with folks who have read for us over the last 5 years. Mathangi Subramanian read for us in 2019 – read what she has been up to below!

What have you been up to since reading with us at Writers & Words? How has the writing been going?

Writing has been hard, but I did start dabbling in dystopian fiction, which was fun. I’m not sure if it’ll ever see the light of day, but imagining a world even worse than this one is making me grateful for my day to day. I also just completed an online course on supporting parents experiencing pregnancy and infant loss, which I hoped would help me become an abortion doula, but that plan – like so many others – is now on hold indefinitely. Other than that, I have mostly been homeschooling my preschooler and eating my husband’s delicious home cooking.

What are you working on right now (writing or otherwise (nothing is a valid answer as well))?

 I’m writing a memoir about pregnancy loss, adoption, immigration, caste, and motherhood. I’m also spending a lot of time painting and crafting with my four-year-old, and now consider myself fluent in the elusive language of popsicle sticks and Elmer’s Glue. I used to be a teacher, so designing creative homeschooling lessons has also been a really rewarding outlet for me. I’m lucky my daughter doesn’t mind being a guinea pig!

What has been your favorite Quarantine Read thus far?

It’s a tie between Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich and With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo.

How would you describe the writing community where you live in just a few words?

 Diverse, dispersed, and very kind.

What would be a few words of advice you would give someone wanting to get into any writing community?

Put yourself out there. I’m building a community in a new place right now, and am constantly reaching out to authors being like, “Hi, you don’t know me, but we both write! Wanna hang out?” I’ve made some great friends that way. I’ve also been ignored, but it’s fine – I figure my approach basically filters out everyone except the kindest, so I’m sticking with my system.

Bonus question: What level of quarantine are you at? 1) relaxing with a book,  2) the dog clears her throat too loudly,  3) hot dog fries, 4) THE PRINTER IS BROKEN I DON’T NEED A PRINTER, 5) I am one with the Force and the Force is with me.

#3.5 : Milano cookies all day every day


Mathangi Subramanian is an Indian American writer and educator based in San Jose, California. Her latest novel, A People’s History of Heaven, was longlisted for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. Her middle grades novel Dear Mrs. Naidu won the South Asia Book Award. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Ms. Magazine, Zora Magazine, and Al Jazeera America, among others. She holds a doctorate in education from Columbia Teachers College and is a former Fulbright-Nehru fellow.

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