kaya publishes books of the asian pacific diaspora


Kaya Press could not be more thrilled to announce the official publication of Kazim Ali’s innovative new novel, The Secret Room!

In Ali’s wildly inventive book, written as musical score for a string quartet, the author asks: How does one create a life of meaning in the face of loneliness and alienation from one’s own family, culture, or even sense of self? During the space of one single day, the lives of four people converge and diverge in ways they themselves may not even measure.

Sonia Chang, a violinist prepares for a concert. Rizwan Syed, a yoga teacher who gives so much to others, makes one last panicked attempt at reconciliation with his own family. Jody Merchant tries to balance a difficult and stressful work-life with a dream she abandoned long ago. Pratap Patel trudges through his life trying to ignore the pain he still feels at old losses.

The Secret Room is nothing if not memorable, and this groundbreaking book has already garnered rave reviews. Author Selah Saterstrom says that the novel “suggests not to worry about how to read it. Rather, it extends an invitation to allow the text to happen with us (and/or for us to happen with the text), and this is a Revolutionary Hermeneutics: to open to the experiences of pain and awe. Text as ambient drift we can move through (the same space where healing and magic happens).”

Kaya Press put on an unforgettable reading of The Secret Room at Skylight Books on March 15th. Ali cast his fellow readers–Abeer Hoque and Hari Alluri–along with our managing editor Neelanjana Banerjee, as the respective characters in his quartet-ed narrative. Ali, Hoque, Alluri, and Banerjee kept time with one another as they read their parts simultaneously. At times, only one character was speaking, but in other instances, all four voices were narrating together, creating a sort of literary cacophony. Watch a clip from the reading on our Instagram.


(From left to right) Kazim Ali, Abeer Hoque, and Hari Alluri sign books at Skylight Books in Los Angeles

Ali will be making several more appearances in the near future, so make sure to mark your calendars:

March 31st @ Boise State University

April 1st @ Sierra Poetry Festival (Grass Valley, CA)

April 5-7th @ Davidson College (Davidson, NC)

(For a complete list of Kazim Ali’s upcoming appearances, visit his website.)

The Secret Room is a special book; we’ve never read anything like it, and we guarantee that you haven’t either. We can’t wait for you to dive into the lyrical ambience of this novel and follow along with its every crescendo. Order your copy now!


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