Ani Gjika with Shuchi Saraswat
Join the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith for an in-store event with author Ani Gjika to discuss and celebrate the release of An Unruled Body. She will be in conversation with writer and editor Shuchi Saraswat.
In a searching and powerful debut memoir, award-winning poet and literary translator Ani Gjika tells a different kind of immigrant story by writing about the ways a woman listens to her own body, intuition, and desire.
Ani Gjika was born in Albania and came of age just after the fall of Communism, a time in which everyone had a secret to keep and young women were afraid to walk down the street alone. When her family immigrates to America, Gjika finds herself far from the grandmother who helped raise her, grappling with a new language, and isolated from aging parents who are trying in their own ways to survive. Then she meets a young man whose mind leans toward writing as hers does, and Ani falls in love—at least, she thinks it's love.
Set across four countries—Albania, Thailand, India, and the United States—An Unruled Body tells the story of a young woman's journey to selfhood through the lenses of language, sexuality, and identity, and how she learned to find freedom of expression on her own terms.
Ani Gjika is the author and translator of eight books and chapbooks of poetry. Her translation of Luljeta Lleshanaku’s Negative Space won an English PEN Award and was shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize, the PEN America Award, and Best Translated Book Award. She was a 2011 Robert Pinsky Global Fellow at Boston University and a 2019 Pauline Scheer Fellow at GrubStreet’s Memoir Incubator program. Gjika’s memoir, An Unruled Body, is the winner of Restless Books’ 2021 New Immigrant Writing Prize. Having taught language and creative writing at universities in the US and abroad, Gjika currently teaches social studies, literature, and writing to English language learners at Framingham High School.
Moderator Shuchi Saraswat is a writer and editor based in Boston. For ten years, she worked as an independent bookseller in Massachusetts and during that time she founded the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith and served as a judge for the 2019 National Book Award in Translated Literature. In 2021, she judged the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Nonfiction, which was awarded to Ani Gjika for An Unruled Body. She’s now senior editor of the literary journal AGNI.