Kiran Kaur Saini

is a Punjabi-American writer of literary and speculative fiction, plays, and films. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Pleiades, and other literary journals.

About this image:

Turi Beach Jetty

A few years ago I was working on a movie in Indonesia. What began as a scheduled 9-day shoot in November crept into extra weeks and then extra months. Over Christmas there was a mix-up and I wound up alone on the island of Batam for several weeks, separated from friends, family, or other members of the film production. I was injured and all I could really do was sleep, eat, and sit on my balcony looking out to this jetty, watching the water move and the weather change. Trapped at Turi Beach without transportation, money, or health, everything stopped. Hours passed, then days, and as I sat looking out over the South China Sea, my mind finally ran away with me and I started writing. Since then I’ve kept this image as a talisman for the mystery and imagination that lead to story.



Writing

Selected Short Fiction:

“Lalbir’s Laugh” in Gone Lawn

Three decades had passed since Harminder Singh had heard that laugh. It was thirty years distant and it was another country, on the other side of the world, but there was no mistaking it.

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“The Augury of Bats” in Tahoma Literary Review

Sheri tells me there are bats in her closet. “They’re diving and circling around and diving again.” Sheri is four and, as far as I know, has never seen a bat.

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“A Girl Like Elsie”

I tell Mama I waitress in the Village so she don’t have to cut me out of her heart. But when I come home with bruises on my wrists and she’s rocking in her chair by the window in that quiet rhythm, I want to say to her, Mama, the john wrench my arms down to the floor and slap me upside the head while he’s getting his money’s worth tonight.

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“An Out-of-Town Businessman”

Item, the first: a recent newspaper clipping, rapidly becoming well-worn.

An out-of-town businessman has disappeared from a New York hotel.

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“The Shape of a Prayer”

She comes out of the bedroom with her eyes glazed so thick with sleep you know she cannot recognize you. She holds the wall like an ivy creeper. She is low to the ground.

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Random Words of Praise

“Saini can write.” –Don Frisch, Grand Rapids Press

“So fucking strange, but oddly relatable.” –James McEwen

“Wow! Where did THIS come from?” –Tim Ackerly

“Chillingly beautiful. I held my breath reading it.” –Sylvia Crosbie