(India, 1960) teaches and writes about classical Indian literature and has a deep knowledge of the myths and traditional stories of India. She has a PhD in South Asian languages and literature from the University of Chicago. Sattar translated many text from Sanskrit, including Valmiki's 1996 Ramayana. More recent publications include Lost Loves: Exploring Rama's Anguish (2011) and Uttara: The Book of Answers (2016). She also writes for children: her Ramayana for Children (2017) has been published worldwide. In 2008 she co-founded Sangam House, the first and only completely financially independent writer's residency programme in India. Every year, Sangam House moves to a new location; in 2019 it is in Bangalore.(WN 2019)
Archive available for: Arshia Sattar
The Winternachten Story Festival at Theater Dakota came to its festive conclusion on Sunday afternoon. 'Stories from Afar' was a large and varied programme with stories, music and dance from and about India, Turkey and the Dutch Indies. The programme had two parts: before the intermission you chose one of three country programmes, each in a separate room. You heard music and stories of writers and local residents about their country of origin.
The India programme included an appearance by writer Arshia Sattar. She's an expert on the Ramayana and a great storyteller. Dancer Anima Jhagroe-Ruissen, pupil of Sangeet Natak Academy Awardee Guru Geetanjali Lal, performed with a music ensemble consisting of Viresh Kisoendajal (tabla), Lehra (sitar), Martijn Barendregt and Shivant Jhagroe (harmonium) en Ilyas Nadjafi (vocals).
The Turkey programme included appearances by writer Ciler Ilhan, currently famous for her story collection In Exile, and vocalist-ud player Duygu Alkan. Wieteke van Dort told the most beautiful stories about the Dutch Indies. After the break came a stunning finale for all visitors. Francis Broekhuijsen introduced performances by all the above-mentioned and more artists in the great hall of Theatre Dakota: music by Hindi pop band Shagun, the choir Turkuaz from Escamp and The Hague-based singer-songwriter Jhilani Wijsman. When you reserved tickets, you also chose the country programme that takes place before the intermission. Your ticket was of course also valid after the break.
How did they express our (near) future in words or sound? In this literary and musical performance, seven festival authors each presented a new text or poem commissioned by Winternachten, with musical contributions by Syrian-born ud player Jaber Fayad. You saw and heard Ayelet Gundar-Goshen from Israel, HemelBesem from South Africa, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi from Uganda, Arshia Sattar from India, Leni Zumas from the United States and, from The Netherlands, Auke Hulst and Aafke Romeijn. Their inspiration was the festival theme Who Wants to Live Forever? The authors performed in their mother tongue or writing language with simultaneous projection of the English and/or Dutch translations.
Writers told us about their favourite book: the book that inspires or touches them, that set their artistic, moral or intellectual compass. In short, the book they would recommend to everyone. Interview: Hassnae Bouazza.
Old myths about the origins of peoples and about the roots of cultures and conflicts continue to influence us in how we relate to the other and to the here and now. Indian mythologist Arshia Sattar, Ugandan novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and writer and poet Maarten van der Graaff discussed myths as identity arena. Political scientist and writer Wytske Versteeg lead the conversation. Poet Rodaan Al Galidi concluded the programme with a recitation of his own work.
Adam Zagajewski, eminent poet and essayist from Poland, opened Friday Night Unlimited by reading from his work. Subsequently Ramayana expert Arshia Sattar (India) and Dutch writer and philosopher Joke Hermsen spoke about the desire to live longer. Sattar translated and rewrote the ancient story cycle about the mythical struggle of Prince Rama to win back his beloved Sita from the hands of the demonic King Ravana. In her book Stilling Time, Hermsen argues for a slow future in which waiting, restfulness and bordom have their place; in her essay Melancholie van de onrust (Melancholy of Unrest), she elaborates on the blessings of melancholy, among others as source of creativity. With classical Persian music and poetry performed by Balout Khazraei. Fouad Laroui, writer and professor French language and Arabic cultures at the University of Amsterdam, hosted the conversation.