The Usawa Literary Review

Usawa in Swahili means equality. The Usawa Literary Review is a bi-annual English language literary magazine dedicated to feminist literature and writings by and about underrepresented communities. We publish poetry, fiction, nonfiction, reviews and interviews that question hierarchies, hegemonies and naturalized biases.

There are many feminisms - we live and learn. In the face of discrimination and violence based on gender, sexuality, colour, caste, religion, class... we believe in the persuasive humility of artistic expression, and carry writing that responds to the inherent violence of inequality. Have you produced or come across writing that provokes uncomfortable questions and gets us to re-examine our silences? Please share it with us and allow us to share it with our readers.

Based out of Mumbai, India, Usawa is a part of an ongoing global movement toward a more equitable world.

Usawa was founded by Lavanya-Shanbhogue Arvind and Smita Sahay in 2018.

Team Usawa

Smita Sahay, Editor-in-Chief

Ankush Banerjee, Books Editor
Kinshuk Gupta, Associate Editor
Babitha Marina Justin, Fiction Editor
Priyanka Sacheti, Visual Narratives Curator
Sonakshi Srivastava, Translations Editor

Shankar Mony, Contributing Editor
Shadab Alam, Policy Columnist and Programs Editor
Tanmayee Thakur, Cinema Columnist
Sakshi Nadkarni, Editorial and Social Media Intern
Naavya Garg, Student Intern
Ritika Saroj, Executive Assistant

Kavya Nagraj, Webmaster
Devika Gupta Designs, Design Partner
HMI Tech, Technology Partner


SMITA SAHAY is a writer and poet based in Mumbai, India. She is served as the Associate Editor of Veils, Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women, and is a Visiting Faculty at Whistling Woods International. Write to her at


Kinshuk Gupta uses the scalpel of his pen to write about his experiences as an undergraduate medical student. He was longlisted for the People Need Change Poetry Contest (2020) organized by The Poetry Society, UK. His haiku have been nominated for the Touchstone Awards and the Red Moon Anthology. His work can be read or forthcoming in The Hindu, The Hindu BL, Times of India, The Quint, Inklette, Good River Review, Rattle, Modern Haiku, Haiku Foundation, Contemporary Haibun Online, among others. He is a blogger for Times of India and a Creative Writing Intern for Posham Pa. He edits poetry for Jaggery Lit and Mithila Review.


BABITHA MARINA JUSTIN is an academic, a poet and an artist. Her poems and short stories have appeared in Eclectica, Esthetic Apostle, Jaggery, The Paragon Press, Fulcrum, The Scriblerus, Trampset, Indian Literature, Constellations, etc. Her books are: Of Fireflies, Guns and the Hills (2015), I Cook My Own Feast (2019), salt, pepper and silverlinings: celebrating our grandmothers ( an international anthology on grandmothers, 2019), Of Canons and Trauma (2017) and Humour: Texts and Contexts (2017). Write to her at


ANKUSH BANERJEE's (he/him) debut volume of poetry, An Essence of Eternity, was published by Sahitya Akademi in 2016. He is the three time recipient of the USI Gold Medal for his essays on Military Ethics and Leadership. His poem, ‘Righteous among the Nations’ was the winner of 2019 All India Poetry Prize. His poems appear in Indian Literature, Collateral, Eclectica, Jaggery Lit, and TBLM among others, and have been anthologised in the Best Asian Poetry 2021, Yearbook of Indian Poetry 2020 & 2021, and Converse: Contemporary Poetry in English by Indians (2022). Some of his review-essays can be found at Tupelo Quarterly, Eclectica, Kitaab, and Usawa
Write to him at


Sonakshi Srivastava is a writing tutor at Ashoka University, Sonepat, India. She is one of the recipients of South Asia Speaks mentorship programme (cohort 2021), working on translating the Hindi novel, “Titli” into English under the mentorship of Arunava Sinha. She was the contributing translator columnist at “The Bilingual Window’. She was longlisted for The Stinging Fly Translation Bursary 2022, and was awarded the Katharine Bakeless Nason scholarship for the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference 2023. Her works have previously appeared in or are appearing in Usawa, Proseterity, The Monograph, Alipore Post, Hakara, potluck zine, orangepeel mag, Qissa mag, and Rhodora among others.

Twitter: SonakshiS11
Instagram: sonakshisrivastava.11


Priyanka Sacheti is a writer, poet, and photographer based in Bangalore, India. She grew up in the Sultanate of Oman and previously lived in the United Kingdom and United States. She's written about art, gender, and culture for many international news-agencies, digital platforms, and print publications. Her literary work has appeared in various journals and anthologies such as Barren, Common, Parentheses Art, Popshot, The Lunchticket, Jaggery Lit, and The Yearbook of Indian Poetry in English 2022. She's currently working on a poetry and short story collection. She can be found as @atlasofallthatisee on Instagram and @priyankasacheti on Twitter.


Chandramohan S is an Indian English Dalit poet based in Trivandrum, Kerala. His poems were shortlisted for Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize 2016. His second collection of poems titled “Letters to Namdeo Dhasal” was a runner up at M.HARISH GOVIND memorial prize instituted by POETRY CHAIN. He was instrumental in organizing literary meets of English poets of Kerala for the Ayyappa Panicker Foundation in addition to being a fellow at the international writing program(IWP) at the university of Iowa.


K Srilata was writer in residence at Sangam house, India, Yeonhui Art space, Seoul and the University of Stirling, Scotland. She teaches Literature and Creative Writing at IIT Madras. Her debut novel Table for Four (Penguin, India) was long listed in 2009 for the Man Asian literary prize. Srilata is the c0-editor of the anthologies The Rapids of a Great River: The Penguin Book of Tamil Poetry, Short Fiction from South India (OUP), All the Worlds Between: A Collaborative Poetry Project Between India and Ireland (Yoda) and Lifescapes: Interviews with Contemporary Women Writers from Tamilnadu (Women Unlimited). Her book The Other Half of the Coconut: Women Writing Self-Respect History was re-issued as an e-book by Zubaan in 2020. She has five poetry collections, the latest of which, The Unmistakable Presence of Absent Humans was published by Poetrywala, Mumbai in 2019. Her translations include Vatsala’s novels Once there was a Girl (Writers Workshop) and The Scent of Happiness (Ratna Books, 2021). A multi-genre anthology on the disability experience is forthcoming from Amazon/Westland later this year.