Anjoli Roy is a creative writer, editor, and instructor in the English Department at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She recently defended her dissertation, titled “Where the Water Is,” which is a book–length collection of creative nonfiction stories. “Where the Water Is” is comprised of family narratives about growing up as an ambiguously brown Bengali and white girl in southern California, experiences of chronic illness, and the presence of ancestors in our lives despite boundaries of time and national borders. The text features a roots journey to India to recover the story of Kali Nath Roy, Anjoli’s great-grandfather, who was a freedom fighter at risk of being forgotten, and focuses on how and to what degree family narratives define us, what happens when we bury stories, and what happens when we dig them up. The collection also examines how the legacies of trauma—from colonization, imprisonment, emigration, participation in the US military, domestic violence, suicide, and racism—lodge in descendants’ psyches, in our bodies. The collection suggests that rebuilding familial connections through learning these stories may be the key to healing.
Anjoli’s creative writing has appeared in online and print literary journals and edited collections, including most recently Demeter Press’s anthology Borderlands & Crossroads: Writing the Motherland, Dămfīno, Hawaiʻi Review, Hippocampus Magazine, Kore Press’s Poem of the Week, Kweli, Middle Planet, River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, Slink Chunk Press, and Spiral Orb.
Anjoli is also a radio DJ for KTUH FM. Her Wednesday night show, called “It’s Lit with PhDJ,” features writers to love and the music their work plays best around and airs weekly from nine p.m. to midnight HST.
Anjoli is from Pasadena, California. She is a mashi to six, a godmother to one, and is the last of her parents’ three girls. She loves cats, surfing with friends or alone, and the rain that she oftentimes wakes up to in Pālolo Valley.