The Chills at Will Podcast podcast

Episode 156 with Dr. Namrata Poddar, Extremely Well-Read Literary Critic, Professor, and Crafter of the Unique and Beautiful and Profound Border Less

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Episode 156 Notes and Links to Namrata Poddar’s Work 


    On Episode 156 of The Chills at Will Podcast, Pete welcomes Namrata Poddar, and the two discuss, among other things, Namrata’s multilingual upbringing in Mumbai and abroad, her early reading, her early reading and writers who inspired her with their decolonial and other writing, her “living with her characters” for many years for her wonderful debut novel, how she would label/distinguish the novel, and salient themes of misogyny, home and its shifting definition, class division, and diaspora.


     Namrata writes fiction and nonfiction, serves as Interviews Editor for Kweli, and teaches literature and writing at UCLA. Her work has appeared in several publications including Poets & Writers, Literary Hub, Longreads, The Kenyon Review, and The Best Asian Short Stories. Her debut novel, Border Less, was a finalist for Feminist Press’s Louise Meriwether Prize.

Buy Border Less


Namrata Poddar's Website


2022 LA Times Article: “Namrata Poddar’s debut novel traverses borders — and conventional storytelling”


At about 7:10, Namrata discusses the title’s significance and her positioning “borderless” as two words


At about 7:40, Pete shouts out an original usage of language in Namrata’s book


At about 8:10, Namrata responds to Pete’s questions about her relationship with languages and the written word in her childhood


At about 13:40, Pete asks Namrata about how her ancestral lands of Rajahstan and the Tar Desert


At about 15:30, Pete uses the famous Toni Morrison quote in asking Namrata about representation and its connection to her own book; Namrata expands upon her early assigned reading and the “divorce” between colonized readings and the English she heard in her daily life


At about 18:10, Namrata lists writers who inspired her in her younger days; she cites both writers with colonial and non-colonial foci, including her “first brush…with the world of literature” in America’s Children by Rushdie


At about 25:35, The two discuss Frantz Fanon and him as part of the tradition/”legacy” that has inspired Namrata


At about 27:25, Namrata lists and describes some of the many countless writers who thrill and inspire her, including Natalie Diaz and Melissa Febos, and Imani Perry


At about 30:10, The two discuss Sandra Cisneros’ skill and standout stories


At about 31:15, Namrata reflects on the title’s myriad meanings for her book Border Less 


At about 34:20, Pete notes the clever book structure and asks Namrata to talk about how she labels her book and why; she notes ideas of “fragments” coming from many non-Western traditions, and how her epigraph from Edouard Glisaant relates


At about 40:25, Pete wonders about the story 9/12 and talks about the alchemy of what makes it a great story/chapter; he asks Namrata what she thinks the story “accomplishes” and she connects the chapter to other parts of the book


At about 43:30, The two discuss the dynamics of the dynamic first story, and Pete


At about 44:50, The two discuss the “Ladies Special” chapter and Pete notes Mumbai serving as a character on its own, and Namrata discusses the myriad significance of som many parts of the story 


At about 50:10, Pete notes some salient themes, including financial issues and class divisions, from the book, and Pete highlights   


At about 55:00, The two discuss ideas of stability and independence, and Pete shares a simple but powerful quote from the book


At about 56:00, Namrata expands on the hyphens that mark those in the Indian Diaspora and differing views of, and experiences with, a return to India


At about 59:45, Pete discusses ideas of connectedness and ancestral ties 


At about 1:00:30, Namrata outlines the paradox that is set up with families that are scattered “yet find family in each other,” as well as the evolving definition of “family”


At about 1:03:10, The two discuss the significance of the haveli that has been in Día’s family for generations 


At about 1:04:00, Namrata responds to Pete’s questions about continuity in the book and writing

a book that is a family saga that spreads out over many decades and multiple generations


At about 1:07:40, Namrata and Pete discuss Ricki, Día, and other strong female characters who buck the traditional gender roles and Ricki’s father’s nostalgic writing

At about 1:10, Namrata gives her rationale for ending the book with a chapter that she uses

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   Please tune in for Episode 157 with Ilana Masad. Ilana is a queer Israeli-American writer of fiction, nonfiction, and criticism; her work has appeared in The New Yorker, New York Times, LA Times, and many more; she is the author of the critically-acclaimed and awarded novel All My Mother’s Lovers

   The episode will air on December 20.

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