Upcoming Event

Reimagining the Epics with Karthika Nair and Nina MacLaughlin

Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata

Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung

In Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata, Karthika Naïr retells the Mahabharata through the embodied voices of women and marginal characters, so often conquered and destroyed throughout history. Through shifting poetic forms, ranging from pantoums to Petrarchan sonnets, Naïr choreographs the cadences of stray voices. And with a passionate empathy through a chorus of bold voices, she tells of nameless soldiers, their despairing spouses and lovers, a canny empress, an all-powerful god, and a gender-shifting outcast warrior. Until the Lions reveals the most intimate threads of desire, greed, and sacrifice in this foundational epic.

French-Indian, poet-dance producer/curator, Karthika Naïr is the author of several books, including The Honey Hunter, illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet and published in English, French, German and Bangla. Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata won the 2015 Tata Literature Live! Award for Book of the Year (Fiction). Her latest book is the collaborative Over and Under Ground in Mumbai & Paris, a travelogue in verse, written with Mumbai-based poet Sampurna Chattarji, and illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet and Roshni Vyam.


Seductresses and she-monsters, nymphs and demi-goddesses, populate the famous myths of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. But what happens when the story of the chase comes in the voice of the woman fleeing her rape? When the beloved coolly returns the seducer’s gaze? When tales of monstrous transfiguration are sung by those transformed? In voices both mythic and modern, Wake, Siren revisits each account of love, loss, rape, revenge, and change. It lays bare the violence that undergirds and lurks in the heart of Ovid’s narratives, stories that helped build and perpetuate the distorted portrayal of women across centuries of art and literature.

Drawing on the rhythms of epic poetry and alt rock, of everyday speech and folk song, of fireside whisperings and therapy sessions, Nina MacLaughlin, the acclaimed author of Hammer Head, recovers what is lost when the stories of women are told and translated by men. She breathes new life into these fraught and well-loved myths.

Nina MacLaughlin is the author of the acclaimed memoir Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter. Formerly an editor at The Boston Phoenix, she is a books columnist for The Boston Globe and has written for publications including The Paris Review Daily, The Believer, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, Bookslut, The Daily Beast, Cosmopolitan, and The Huffington Post. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.