Nishant Batsha - "Mother Ocean Father Nation" - Kaneesha Parsard

Tuesday, April 18, 2023 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Nishant Batsha

Nishant Batsha will discuss Mother Ocean Father Nation. He will be joined in conversation by Kaneesha Parsard.

Presented in partnership with the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, the University of Chicago International Houseand the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

This event will be held in person at the Seminary Co-op Bookstore. At this time, masks are required for in-store events.


About the book: A riveting, tender debut novel, following a brother and sister whose paths diverge—one forced to leave, one left behind—in the wake of a nationalist coup in the South Pacific. On a small Pacific island, a brother and sister tune in to a breaking news radio bulletin. It is 1985, and an Indian grocer has just been attacked by nativists aligned with the recent military coup. Now, fear and shock are rippling through the island’s deeply-rooted Indian community as racial tensions rise to the brink.

About the author: Nishant Batsha is a writer of fiction and histories. He is the author of the novel Mother Ocean Father Nation (Ecco/HarperCollins), named one of the best books of 2022 by NPR. He is currently at work on A Bomb Placed Close to the Heart (Ecco/HarperCollins, February 2025), a novel set between California and New York at the dawn of World War I. He holds a PhD in history from Columbia University, as well as a master's from the University of Oxford (on a Doctorow Fellowship and ESU-SF Scholarship) and an undergraduate degree from Columbia. His academic research focused on Indian indentured labor in Trinidad and Fiji. Nishant's writing has been supported by the Headlands Center for the Arts and the Prelinger Library, as well as fellowships such as the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. He lives in Buffalo, NY with his wife and two children.

About the interlocutor: Kaneesha Parsard is an assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago. She writes about the legacies of slavery and emancipation in the Caribbean and broader Americas, with a particular interest in how gender and sexuality structure race, labor, and capital. Kaneesha is working on her first book project, An Illicit Wage, a cultural history of errant figures and repertoires that challenge the wage as the condition of freedom in the British West Indies. Her scholarship has been supported by the Mellon Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies, and is published or forthcoming in American QuarterlySmall Axe, the South Atlantic Quarterly, and Representations.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637