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Kiran Bhat (21 April 1990) is an Indian-American novelist, short-story writer, educator, and traveler. A polyglot of twelve languages, and a person of experience in 134 countries. Bhat's writings and post-national literary projects are some of the most promising of a writer.
Kiran Bhat was born an only child in Jonesboro, Georgia. Bhat's father and mother are both doctors. His father hails from Kasaragod, while his mother hails from Coorg. Bhat's family traveled often in his childhood and adolescent years to Mysore and Bangalore which made Bhat grew up with a strong appreciation for Kannadiga culture and the Kannada language, as well as with a desire to learn about other cultures beyond the one he was born and raised in. He spent some formative time in Mysore, New York, and Madrid, which made him realise he wanted to be a global citizen. As a result, from 2010 onwards, Bhat dedicated himself to a life of travel. He took a job teaching English for Open English, and spent the next decade travelling the world.
Bhat's life proved most unique between 2010 and 2020. Within this decade, he traveled to 134 countries, lived in 19 corners of the world, and grew to speak 12 languages. From his Kannada-language autobiography Tirugaatha we get to know, he started from Madrid, where he studied abroad, and then he traveled to Latin America, after finding work of teaching English. He spent a year in Latin America, a year in Eastern Asia between South-eastern Asia, and Eastern Africa, and then a year in the Middle East. Afterwards, he started to settle in countries for longer periods of time. Bhat also took this time to dedicate himself to his writing, working primarily on his novel we of the forsaken world...
In the years between 2010 and 2020, Kiran Bhat has called Atlanta, Mysore, New York, Madrid, Lisbon, Florianopolis, Cusco, Tokyo, Delhi, Malindi, Istanbul, Jogjakarta, Bangalore, Shanghai, Moscow, Paris, Mumbai, Cairo, and Melbourne home. Due to Bhat's nomadic lifestyle, it is hard to tell where he will truly settle or end up, but according to interviews, it is easy to trace the influence these various cities have had on his life. For example, Bhat claims in interviews that we of the forsaken world... was heavily influenced by his stays in Brazil, Peru, Kenya, and Indonesia. In relation to his line of thinking and philosophy, Bhat considers Mysore, Mumbai, Atlanta, New York, and Madrid to be the places in the world which have formed him the most.
In the early 2010s, Bhat published middling stories and articles. Bhat, as a writer in the late 2010s released a torrent of small book projects, all written in different languages. How long Bhat studied each of these languages, and how much outside help he contracted remains unclear. As of now, Bhat has written full books in English, Kannada, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin, and he has written short stories, essays, and poems in English, Kannada, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, Hindi, Turkish, Egyptian Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese and Bahasa Indonesian.
Bhat's first foray into foreign language writing was with his mother tongue Kannada. He wrote and compiled a set of travel writings composing an autobiography of his adult life. As Bhat notes in his essays regarding his native place of Mysore, Bhat did not grow up with a good command of the Kannada-language, and had to make extensive trips to Mysore and Bangalore in order to improve his language. Tirugaatha is structured numerically from Bhat's birth until 2019, with each chapter delineating an experience from Bhat's life as a traveler in a certain part of the world. Only countries or cities which had a marked development on Bhat's mentality or understanding of the world are covered. The book has started to be introduced to certain libraries or schools in Karnataka, on the assumption that learning of a person of Kannadiga origin who has traveled and chosen to see the world differently could have value to other Kannada-language children.
In Spanish, Kiran Bhat decided to write his most personal and intimate collection of writing yet. In twenty-nine poems, Bhat compressed each year of his life into a poem, and titled each poem for the year on which it was meant to represent.
As Bhat notes in the introduction to the book, Bhat chose to write in a language that he was uncomfortable in and yet fluent in because he did not want to be emotionally affected by whatever he wrote. The poems details the experiences of his childhood and documents the various influences in his life which made him into the global citizen he became.
Bhat also chose to write quite an experimental book of poetry in Mandarin. Bhat states in his introduction that he was inspired to write these poems during his time living in Shanghai. He made a trip to Tianjin at one point, and found lines of poetry coming to him in the Mandarin language. These poems became a reflection on life, love, and on relationships. According to Bhat, the structure of the language was heavily influenced by the Bhakti style of poetry, framed in the dialectic discourse of Confucianism.
In a project of love and compassion towards the Portuguese language, Bhat authored a set of stories set in various parts of the Portuguese-speaking world. Each story appears written in a different style of Portuguese, and blurs into another story which is taking place in another part of the Lusophone world. The stories explore a vast range of ages, races, and mentalities within the cultures they are set in. Bhat's use of language is also quite unique. On one side, Bhat writes fundamentally as a foreigner in the Portuguese language, and yet attempts to mimic the ways in which people from countries ranging from Portugal, Brasil, and Cape Verde think, express, and emote in their relationship to Portuguese. This hybrid-upon-hybrid style creates an extremely singular relationship not only to Bhat's use of Portuguese language, but how he melds these intrinsically different dialects to create a relationship to the language entirely his own.
Bhat's skills as a polyglot are represented by the story collection Chakravyuha. Chakravyuha consists of twelve stories, with each one written in an entirely different language. The twelve stories are also grouped in pairs, with each story in the pair resembling another story in terms of plot, narrative voice, and overall theme, but the two paired stories being written in fundamentally different languages, resulting in the two comparative stories being almost entirely different. The story 'L'immigrant /المهاجر' (Or 'The Immigrant /The Immigrant' in French and Arabic) detail the story of an Egyptian living in France, and a French person of Egyptian origin, in Paris and Cairo, respectively, dealing with the ramifications of a date and a robbery that precedes after. The storylines are almost identical, but the use of the French and Arabic, as well as the ways that the two characters think and behave, change the storylines entirely. It is easy to assume, therefore, that if each of the six stories are read with their partner story in the same way, a similar conclusion (that a story, no matter how universal it may be, changes depending on the culture it is set in and the language it is told in) would ultimately be reached.
We of the forsaken world...
Bhat's most successful and critically received book as of now would be we of the forsaken world... The book tells the stories of four regions and the reasons for their global declares. The narration is structured as a linguistic chain comprised of sixteen first-person narrative accounts. Each of the narratives is written with a different voice and theme in mind, only indirectly relating to the greater stories being told. Lines of prose poetry connect the sixteen stories at their ends and beginnings, creating a very unique format which causes the book to have to be read. In Bhat's words, in the way 'modern communication unites this planet every second, everywhere.' we of the forsaken world... has been favorably reviewed in various literary magazines and newspapers. The British-Ghanaian writer Taiye Selasi has called it, "A fascinating, genre-defying work. Meditative, thought-provoking, Calvino-esque." Kirkus Reviews calls we of the forsaken world... 'A compelling mosaic of worldbuilding,' and Midwest Book Review as "a deftly crafted work that showcases the author's impressive literary skills, flair for originality, and exceptional knack for the kind of narrative driven storytelling that keeps and holds the readers total engagement."
Bhat has mentioned in interviews that he would like to spend the 2020s dedicating himself to a novel that takes place all over the world. Entitled Girar, he has expressed interest in setting the book in 365 places all over the world, by hopping into two archetypes heavily based on his parents. Whatever form or shape this book is going to take is yet to be fully discussed.
Early Stories (ebookit.com, 2013)
Accepting My Place (ebookit.com, 2017)
ತಿರುಗಾಟ Tirugaatha (Chiranthana Media Solutions, 2019)
autobiografia (Letrame Editorial, 2019)
客燃脑说 (Kiran Speaks, White Elephant Press, 2019)
Chakravyuha (Smashwords, 2019)
Adentro, Afora (Editora Labrador, 2020)
we of the forsaken world... (Iguana Books, 2020)
In the media
- "About. – Kiran Bhat". Retrieved 2020-05-19.
- "Interview – Kiran Bhat". In Plainspeak. 2020-03-02. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
- "NRI writer's travelogue 'Tirugata' released in city". Star of Mysore. 2019-03-22. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
- Authors, Lois Lane Investigates (2019-10-09). "The globe as fictional space: Kiran Bhat's story cycle We of the Forsaken World". Medium. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
- WE OF THE FORSAKEN WORLD... | Kirkus Reviews.
- Review, Pacific Book (2019-12-21). "We of the Forsaken World". Pacific Book Review Online Book Review Service. Retrieved 2020-05-20.
- WE OF THE FORSAKEN WORLD... | Kirkus Reviews.
- Kiran Bhat on linkedin
- Kiran Bhat on facebook
- Kiran Bhat (Author of We Of The Forsaken World...) - Goodreads
- Books by Kiran Bhat (Author of We Of The Forsaken World...)
- The globe as fictional space: Kiran Bhat’s story cycle We of the Forsaken World
- we of the forsaken world... - Kindle edition by Bhat, Kiran
- Kiran Bhat on twitter
- Author Kiran Bhat and Book: We of the Forsaken World
- Kiran Bhat on instagram