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DEEPAK UNNIKRISHNAN – The Indian Origin ‘Restless Book Prize’ Winner- 2016

Deepak Unnikrishnan

BY UITV Restless Books is pleased to announce the inaugural winner of “Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing”, which each will award $10,000 and publication to a first time and first generation American author. Deepak Unnikrishnan, wins this year’s prize for his novel, Temporary people, which is book of immigrant workers of United Arab Emirates.

Read on for Author’s introduction and excerpt and judges citation:

Deepak Unnikrishnan is writer and taleteller from Abu Dhabi. During he childhood days, he lived the east coast and in the Midwest, reciting and mining his myths in Teanech –Jersey, Brooklyn – NY, Chicago’s North and South Sides. He has studied and taught at the School of Art Institute of Chicago and presently teaches at the New York University, Abu Dhabi.

Deepak Unnikishnan, winner of the 2014 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, is a writer from Abu Dhabi. His first set of short stories, Coffee Stains in a Camel’s Teacup, was published by Vijitha Yapa Publications (Colombo, Sri Lanka). His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Drunken Boat , Himal Southasian, Bound Off, The State Vol IV: Dubai, the art project Autopoiesis, and in the anthology Breaking the Bow: Speculative Fiction Inspired by the Ramayana (Zubaan Books, India). He has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where on scholarship he completed the manuscript for his first work of fiction set in the Gulf, from which these stories are excerpted.

Deepak Unnikrishnan on Writing “Temperory People”

His life began in America as a migrant of fortune. He had left Abu Dhabi for US for attend college. He was 20 back then. For his parents, who were Indian Migrants and temporary workers who lived in the UAE, my departure was inevitable. For the readers, the UAE does not grant citizenship for its foreign labor force or their children. He fully expected US embassy to reject his visa application because his father was broke. Yet in the Embassy, he wasn’t interviwed, but was asked to come next week to collect his passport.

In New Jersey, he received his BA and also worked as a library assistant, gardener and mover. In NY, he worked for a TV station. And then he moved on a scholarship to pursue his MFA at the Art Institute, he held three jobs to cover rent and food.

For the struggle that has gone into writing this book, he was struggling to find a steady income, devastated out of status and he house-sat and watched other people’s dogs, by simultaneously polishing he manuscript of his first baby which got him an award “Temporary people”