Susheila Nasta MBE
Susheila Nasta is the Editor of Wasafiri, the internationally distinguished literary magazine, which she founded in 1984 at a time when there were few publications which featured the work of writers from African, Caribbean, South Asian and Black British diasporic backgrounds. The magazine has evolved to become one of Britain’s key literary magazines to focus on contemporary international writing which crosses the borders of traditional literary canons and national identities.
Susheila is also a well-known critic, literary activist and broadcaster, and is currently Professor of Modern Literature at the Open University. Prior to joining the Open University in 1999, she taught at a number of academic institutions in the UK, including the Universities of London and Cambridge. She has also held several research and teaching fellowships overseas.
Born in the UK, Susheila was educated in India, the Netherlands, Germany and Britain. She has published and lectured widely in the field of contemporary twentieth-century literature (particularly on Caribbean literature) women’s writing and the fiction of the black and South Asian diasporas. She has acted as judge for a number of literary awards and was a member for many years of the advisory committee for the Commonwealth Writers Prize. Her publications include: Home Truths: Fictions of the South Asian Diaspora in Britain (2002) and an edited collection of interviews originally published in Wasafiri to mark the twentieth anniversary of the magazine, Writing Across Worlds (2004).
Renowned for championing the work of Sam Selvon in the 1980s and 1990s, Susheila has become a leading authority on his work and is literary executor of his estate. She is author of a critical introduction to the Penguin Classics edition of Sam Selvon’s Lonely Londoners and is currently consulting on film and stage adaptations of the book. She has authored and edited books on a number of other subjects including black writing and is currently working on a study of the Caribbean writer, Jamaica Kincaid, entitled Writing A Life as well as a group biography of Asian Bloomsbury. Two new books, India in Britain: South Asian Networks and Connections, 1858-1950 and Asian Britain: A Photographic History are forthcoming. In addition, she directed, in collaboration with the University of Oxford and the University of London, a major interdisciplinary research project, funded by the Arts Humanities Research Council between 2007-2010. Entitled Making Britain: South Asian Visions of Home and Abroad 1870-1950, it focused on the contributions that South Asians made to the formation of Britain. Since 2011 she has been leading ‘Beyond the Frame: Indian-British Connections’, a follow on project which has been designed for public engagement. It has involved touring an exhibition of early South Asian Britain to seven cities in India. She was awarded an MBE for her contributions to Black and Asian Literature in 2011.