It's the first ever, Sikh Readathon!
For those who don't know, April is Sikh Heritage Month in the US and Canada. The perfect time for a Sikh Readathon!
So what is it?
First, this readathon is inspired by the amazing BIPOC and queer book bloggers who work tirelessly to promote the stories that mainstream publishing tends to ignore. I have seen Ramadan Readathons, Queer Readathons, South Asian Reading Challenges, and more!
Sikh Readathon is inspired by that work, to celebrate and promote Sikh authors and Sikh stories.
Second, this is in partnership with Sikh Heritage Month Manitoba, which has incredible programming for Sikh Heritage Month, and has extended a helping hand to make Sikh Readathon even more amazing than I ever imagined.
Throughout the month we will be highlighting authors across genres. Each week there is a Q&A with one of our wonderful Sikh authors. There will also be a fun event in our "Community Café" each week. Many of us are still practicing social distancing, so we have events planned to bring those café vibes to you!
And if that's not enticing enough, each week there is an incredible giveaway planned! I may be biased, because I planned the giveaways, but each book from our featured author is paired with an awesome product from a Sikh owned business.
Lastly, Sikh Readathon is by us and for us. Even starting with our beautiful commissioned artwork by Ravina Toor. I hope that readers all over the world will tag their posts and stories with #SikhReadathon so that other readers looking for Sikh stories can find tons of recommendations, in a variety of genres.
Let's take a look at the program!
Week 1: Kids Lit Week!
There are so many wonderful kid's books by Sikh authors, but this year we are joined by Simran Jeet Singh, author of Fauja Singh Keeps Going! This is the first children's book about a Sikh figure published by a major publisher. Join us on April 5th at 7:30 CST on IG Live, as we talk about the book, Simran Jeet's process, and the incredible Fauja Singh who celebrated his 110th birthday this week!
In addition to the author Q&A, join us at the Community Cafe for Books and Brunch! A virtual story time for kids on April 11th at 12 pm CST on Zoom!
Week 2: Memoir Week!
While we have our shared values, there are so many unique Sikh experiences. It's through memoirs that we can better understand one another. And sometimes in discussing these shared experiences, we can better understand ourselves. I am so excited that for our Memoir week, we will be talking to Jagmeet Singh, Leader of Canada's NDP. I have heard nothing but incredible things about Jagmeet's memoir Love & Courage. Due to scheduling conflicts the Q&A will be held on April 28th on IG Live, however the giveaway will still be held during week 2!
If you are inspired by Jagmeet Singh's memoir, Love & Courage: My Story of Family, Resilience, and Overcoming the Unexpected, I hope that you will join us in the Community Café for a writing workshop on April 17th on Zoom at 12 pm CST. Together, we can write and share our own stories!
Week 3: Non-Fiction!
For our non-fiction week, we will be speaking with Hark1Karan, creator of the photobook Pind: Portrait of a Village in Rural Punjab. The Q&A will be held on April 19th on Zoom. Join us as we discuss photography, self publishing, and more with Hark1Karan.
While exploring different creative routes like photography during our non-fiction week, we will also be hosting a Jam Session at our Community Café! Join us on April 22nd on IG Live for some live music! The Lost Strings will be playing some lo-fi music for all in attendance. We welcome you to grab a cup of tea or hot chocolate and a book and just vibe. Share with us what you're reading during Sikh Readathon in the comments and connect with fellow readers!
Week 4: Poetry & Prose
While April is Sikh Heritage Month, it's also National Poetry Month in the U.S. Poetry is at the heart of Sikhi, starting with Gurbani. It's no wonder that there are so many incredible Sikh poets. I am honored that Jasmin Kaur, author of When You Ask Me Where I'm Going and her latest, If I Tell You The Truth, will be joining us for an author Q&A on April 26th on Zoom.
But that's not all! Later that week, on April 29th, we will be hosting an Open Mic Night on IG Live as part of our Community Café! Spoken word artist, Nav the Poet, will be hosting the open mic, where many Sikh poets will be sharing a piece or two from their published books. Please join us! You may discover your new favorite poet!
There are no assigned readings or scheduled book club discussions. There are so many amazing Sikh stories out there. I hope that readers will find one they connect with, in whichever genre they enjoy! My hope is that with the planned program, there is something for everyone. And to maintain some element of surprise, the giveaways will be announced each week!
Not sure what to read? You can check out my living, breathing, and quickly growing list of Sikh authors, here.
In addition to the Sikh Readathon, UKHPA has an amazing book club year round, highlighting speakers and authors related to Sikh and Punjabi history. Sarbat LGBT Sikhs also holds a monthly book club, all year round!
However you choose to participate, please use the hashtag #SikhReadathon to share your favorite Sikh authors, or what you discovered this month.
I also encourage you to check out the programming by Sikh Heritage Month Manitoba. They have incredible events lined up, and as the events will be virtual, this is an opportunity for sangat from all over the world to celebrate together.
As always, happy reading!