Sujatha Fernandes is a writer and academic at the University of Sydney. She is the author of several academic monographs, including most recently Curated Stories: The Uses and Misuses of Storytelling (Oxford). Her literary work includes a memoir on a global hip hop life, Close to the Edge (Verso), and a forthcoming collection of essays entitled The Cuban Hustle (Duke). Her essays and short stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Nation, The New Ohio Review, The Maine Review, and Aster(ix), among other places. She is currently completing a collection of interlinked short stories entitled Shadow People and is working on a novel about Goan migrants in coastal Karnataka during the colonial wars of the eighteenth century.
All essays by Sujatha Fernandes
by Jeanine Cummins
Published January, 2020
Act of Grace
by Anna Krien
Published October, 2019
The Great White Social Justice Novel
Why does the publishing industry elevate white writers over #ownvoices writers when it comes to the experiences of communities of colour? It happens because books like American Dirt and Act of Grace fit comfortably with mainstream stereotypes, they don’t challenge white and Western readers to think and see First Nations people and people of colour in their depth and complexity. It happens because the sensationalist depiction of brutal violence and trauma in the Great White Novel sells. Both American Dirt and Act of Grace have plenty of stomach-turning scenes of gratuitous violence, rapes, and beatings. At a time when there is global concern about the plight facing refugees, migrant children being caged and separated from parents, the horrors of offshore detention and border walls, the publishing industry has peddled us these exploitative and cartoonish depictions that produce an easy empathy rather than forcing readers to reckon with their own positionality in structures of power, and the deeper problems that require action.
by Suneeta Peres da Costa
Published March, 2018
Orphans of Empire: Saudade by Suneeta Peres da Costa
Towards the end of the novella Saudade, as the now teenage protagonist Maria-Cristina, the daughter of Goan immigrants in Angola, sits facing the Mozambican family servant Caetano on the eve of Angolan independence, she realizes that they are both ‘orphans of Empire’. The author, Suneeta Peres da Costa, has given us an evocative language for understanding the liminality of these two characters. They are both orphans or soon-to-be orphans, and also abandoned as Portuguese colonial rule crumbles in the 1970s.