Raising South Asian Voices

Cynthia Dettman:  Author

About

 

Writing about life in Tamilnadu, South India, seems to feed my soul.  As a TCK (“Third Culture Kid”) who spent 15/17 of her earliest years in India, I’m 2/3 American and perhaps 1/3 Indian in my memories, dreams, and sensibilities.   I’m very excited about my novel-in-progress, in spite of it’s grim topics.  India is an extremely complicated country, both modern and cruelly traditional. My hope is that the story will land in the hands of Indian readers and help to support and inspire those who are living both the pain of oppressions and the joys of advocacy and change. And my book is also a universal story of a young person finding her voice and courage against difficult odds.

My family arrived in Madurai, South India, when I was a 10-month old baby.  We returned to the US 17 years later when I was ready for college- with only two years of “furlough” in between.  After moving to the US, I worked as a legal aid attorney in rural Appalachia representing disabled coal miners and battered women. In the early 1980s I settled in Oregon. I received my MSW degree so I could work with low-income women in a college setting. I was then blessed with a job coordinating a women’s program at a community college, where I spent 16 years helping women transition from domestic violence, poverty, addiction, and incarceration to college and career success.

Getting older has called me to reflection and creation.  I discovered the joys and difficulties of good fiction writing about 15 years ago and it feeds my soul.  It’s also challenging!  Coming up with a well-paced plot- developing believable and likable characters- writing with beautiful language and visual poetry- and dealing with cross-cultural realities- have all kept me engaged, learning constantly, and delighting in the human soul.  I hope that this book and this blog will help encourage women and LGBT folks in India.  I also hope to help foster Indian writers to develop their English writing skills and get their stories out to a broader world.