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Warming up to a New City

“It was a Monday, and a 10:45am class,” first year student Amina Bašić recalled. She walked into her first year writing seminar class, called The Outsider, sat among unknown faces, feeling like an outsider herself.

In the News

NYUAD Arts and Humanities faculty and researchers are frequently featured in the local and international media.

Introduction: Portfolio of Writing from the Arabian Gulf
The first line in my bio is the only one that matters: that I am a writer from Abu Dhabi.
The Common | October 25, 2021

'Building Sharjah': New book shines a spotlight on the emirate's modern architecture
The book, co-edited by Sultan Al Qassemi and Todd Reisz, contains images, essays and stories that contextualise Sharjah's urban development between the 1960s and 1980s.
The National | August 9, 2021

What To Read When You Want Story Collections About Working Lives
Unnikrishnan's award-winning linked story collection about Indian (mostly) guest workers in the United Arab Emirates was rightly hailed as a new kind of immigrant narrative when it was released in 2017.
The Rumpus | September 11, 2020

Kerala's Own Petrofiction: Literary Interventions in Gulf Migration Studies
Priya Menon writes about the different dimensions of an emerging genre of 'petrofiction' in Keralan literature, in the context of emigration from Kerala to the Gulf countries.
ALA | July 31, 2020

A New Collection Upends Conventional Wisdom About Migration
This book encompasses the diversity of experience, with beautiful variations and stories that bicker back and forth.
The New York Times | September 9, 2019

Anglo-Indian musician Sarathy Korwar: 'There's no singular brown voice'
With his second studio album – a ‘modern brown record’ – the producer is challenging perceptions of Indo-jazz. But in the face of racism and tokenism, it can be exhausting.
The Guardian | July 25, 2019

Abu Dhabi's temporary people
Recorded in front of an audience for Perth Festival 2019: Writers Week.
Conversations, ABC Radio (Australia) | February 28, 2019  

Malayalis in the Gulf are finally beginning to write about the land they live in
The Gulf Malayali experience is slowly stepping out of diasporic nostalgia to document the lives, landscapes and politics in the Arab countries.
The Indian Express | February 18, 2019

Mongrel Forms: A Conversation With Deepak Unnikrishnan
When people ask me how much of the book is autobiographical, I often tell them, ‘Well, you know the story where the man turns into a suitcase? That’s my uncle.'”
The Margins, Asian American Writers' Workshop | October 31, 2018    

8 Books to Remind You that All Borders Are Fictional
Akil Kumarasamy, author of ‘Half Gods,’ on the messy power structures of imaginary geographical lines.
Electric Literature | July 19, 2018

Temporary People: A Review
In a parade of stories, all of which artfully overlap, Deepak Unnikrishnan strikes blow after blow upon the reader, as sharp as a tongue that has leapt from the mouth of an English-speaking schoolboy, wrestling its way to independence.
The Carolina Quarterly | July 2018

On temporality and the Gulf city
Jenny Gustafsson talks to Deepak Unnikrishnan as part of a two week series dedicated to storytelling in the UAE. 
Mashallah News | May 9, 2018

Reading the Migrant Experience in Deepak Unnikrishnan’s Temporary People
Unnikrishnan writes of a migrant surreal, stories that insist on reimagining the Gulf we know, critiquing the brutal realities of exploitation and power in the region. 
Ploughshares | January 15, 2018

Book Review by James Sallis
A book, perhaps, for all of us who walk with fear and incomprehension this world of others, who feel we do not belong. As who, finally, does not?
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction | September/October 2017

Deepak Unnikrishnan: We Didn’t Talk About Pain
The writer on his debut book and the surrealism of life in Abu Dhabi.
Guernica | October 30, 2017  

Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan
Unnikrishnan uses the idiom of speculative fiction to write the experience of the diaspora to which he belongs, and in doing so, creates a narrative form for this particular “third space” that is entirely and uniquely his own.
Strange Horizons | October 30, 2017

How Novelist Deepak Unnikrishnan Post-Modernized the United Arab Emirates
The Abu Dhabi-based writer uses feats of imagination to bring voices to country’s many inhabitants.
The Culture Trip | October 28, 2017

New Public Programme Deciphers UAE through Food, Sport and Music
Food becomes less a series of ingredients and recipes, and more a tool for exploring an unfamiliar city.
The National | September 10, 2017

Gulf States
Temporary People isn't a cri de coeur: it is an intimate portrait of the private lives behind the headlines and statistics that often constitute the average person's knowledge of the UAE in the West.
Times Literary Supplement | June 14, 2017

Tragedy in Transit
A first novel explores the lives of Asian migrant workers.
Open Magazine | May 26, 2017

“Temporary People” by Deepak Unnikrishnan
Unnikrishnan’s language is manic, and wild, and wonderful.
Asian Review of Books | May 9, 2017

The Stories about Abu Dhabi that are Rarely Told
The U.A.E. is so often reduced to a glitzy two-dimensional backdrop. A new book tells more complicated stories.
The New Yorker | April 12, 2017

Migrant Vernaculars: Deepak Unnikrishnan’s “Temporary People”
Temporary People probes the cultural anomie of the pravasi, but out of that anomie new cultural forms emerge — hybrid myths of origin and self that are born from the vernaculars of migrancy.
The Los Angeles Review of Books | April 12, 2017

Stories of Fragmented Lives in the Emirates
Deepak Unnikrishnan’s novel-in-stories narrates a series of metamorphoses. Guest workers dissolve into passports, a man begins “moonlighting as a mid-sized hotel” and a sultan harvests a fresh crop of laborers.
The New York Times Book Review | March 24, 2017

Lantian Xie on Deepak Unnikrishnan: Itinerant fictions concretize an artist’s identity
It is sci-fi, abracadabra, folk, rebellion, quotidian, brutal, adoring, violent, shape-shifting and surreal, and glides from screenplay to interview to song to ground-beneath-feet. Most overwhelmingly, it is a book filled with children who know the places in which they were raised much more than they will ever know the homelands that live in the nostalgia of their parents. 
Art Asia Pacific | March/April 2017

Book Review of Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan
Deepak Unnikrishnan’s Temporary People is a riveting debut collection of twenty-eight short stories written in a mélange of stylistic registers. Fiction, Unnikrishnan writes, has “barely addressed the so-called guest workers of the (Arabian) Gulf.”
World Literature Today | March 2017

Temporary People depicts the lives of guest workers in the UAE
Before his storytelling has even begun, Unnikrishnan is already slyly, inventively playing with language(s).    
The Christian Science Monitor | March 14, 2017

Unnikrishnan’s ‘Temporary People’ captures the plight of workers in the UAE
There is nothing comfortable about Unnikrishnan’s Temporary People, but it is challenging, thought-provoking, and timely.    
The Washington Post | March 13, 2017

There Is No Second Generation: Deepak Unnikrishnan’s ‘Temporary People’
Deepak Unnikrishnan’s Temporary People reveals the psychic landscapes of people who have spent decades building the physical landscape of the Gulf.
The Wire
 | March 13, 2017

The man who became a suitcase. The ‘fone’ that let people talk forever. The migrant who tried to fly
We’ve read about Indian workers in the Gulf before but never in this magical-realist form.
Scroll, India | March 5, 2017

How the UAE became the inspiration for Deepak Unnikrishnan’s prize-winning book
Prize-winning author Deepak Unnikrishnan grew up in Abu Dhabi before finding another country to call ‘home’. He tells us how the city became his inspiration and why the topics of migrants and identity are integral to work.
The National | October 6, 2016

Announcing the Winner of Restless Books New Immigrant Writing Prize
Congratulations to Deepak Unnikrishnan, author of "Temporary People."
LITHUB | May 10, 2016

How does one explore the notion of homeliness in a place like Dubai that is in constant flux?
Ibraaz | February 25, 2016