Sohaila Ink
Writing

Nonfiction

New York Times: In January 2013, the New York Times published Sohaila's op-ed, "I Was Wounded; My Honor Wasn't." It went globally viral, and brought an unprecedented response both to Sohaila and to the New York Times. The following week, Sohaila went live on the New York Times website to talk about rape in India as well as the op-ed.

Ubuntu Education Fund: Sohaila is Senior Editor at Ubuntu. Her first task when she joined the organization was to understand its work, visit the project in South Africa, and help craft a new website and communications strategy. She works out of the External Relations Office in New York. Her work includes contributing to large and small grants and reports; regular blogs; strategizing on messaging for Ubuntu’s lavish fundraising events; journalistic essays and opinion pieces; fundraising pleas; annual reports and brochures; and anything else related to communication. She works closely with Ubuntu staff in South Africa, the US and the UK to help edit, write, and maintain organizational standards of content and style.

AIDS-Free World: As Director of Communications for AIDS-Free World, Sohaila wrote dozens of essays, statements, and press releases on issues of social justice and HIV, covering topics ranging from politically motivated rape to homophobia to treatment discrimination. Her writing appeared in media all over the world. She wrote content for the website, and chapters for an atlas on the AIDS pandemic. She traveled to the Caribbean and wrote about the plight of migrants. She co-wrote and edited documents with other staff members, and had her own blog where she commented on AIDS-related developments.

An aboriginal woman who has never left her valley, who laughs heartily at the idea that those machines in the sky actually hold people flying from place to place, who has no idea how old she is or what a city looks like. Bye Bye Mati: A Memoir in a Monsoon Landscape is about this woman, and about Sohaila's family, who live in her valley. It brings together issues of family, livelihood, land use, forest and river development, power and corruption. It tells stories about a specific place and time, stories which hold universal truths and concerns. Sohaila used this book as her core material for a course she taught undergraduates at New York University.

Sohaila researched, wrote and supervised the design of a manual entitled, The Little Book of Tips & Tricks: A Guide for South Asian Immigrant Women. It was funded by CREA, a women's organization in Delhi and New York, and will be distributed nationally in India as well as the USA, in several languages. Sohaila traveled all over the USA and interviewed women's organizations, and then wrote the manual, which includes sections on immigration issues, domestic violence, work and family, and other issues. Both CREA and Sohaila hope to expand on this work, by producing regional manuals as well as working on an interactive web site.

In her development writing, for Oxfam and other agencies, Sohaila puts a human face on poverty, communal violence, environmental degradation, and women's issues.

Her journalism and essays range from humorous travel stories to a dissection of a Manhattan court case. Her world has two centers — America and Asia — and this keeps her writing interesting.

Literary Fiction

Sohaila has published two novels. Year of the Tiger (Penguin India, 2010) is set in New York in the 1990s – a Manhattan that is rich, unmolested, full of hubris and joy.

Sohaila's literary fiction is full of eccentric people — a psychiatric inmate obsessed with orchids, an immigrant paralyzed by choices in a grocery store — and landscapes crammed with life, rain, and seasonal upheaval. The Madwoman of Jogare pits conservationists and land developers against each other, while the monsoon comes and goes, and aboriginal villagers watch their way of life mutate into a twenty-first century hodgepodge.

Her short fiction is full of the pain of change and loss, the struggle and delight of finding one's place and making connections in the world. What happens when a repressed Englishman falls in love with a repressed Hindu girl? Who mourns an unknown corpse on a beach? Why is there sudden beauty in an abandoned village?

Children's Literature

RangBibi and Langra, a colorful old woman and a crippled monkey. They travel around India, in the desert, deep in the forest, even in an urban slum. Their adventures involve children who are beset by displacement, isolation, abuse, and all the workings of a big and incomprehensible world. In four languages, and with fabulous, eye-catching illustrations, the old woman and the monkey help the children to solve their problems and have some fun along the way.

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Copyright © 2004 - 2013 Sohaila Abdulali. All rights reserved.