For the love of reading - Manjushree Thapa (53 mins)


Are you like many of us who feel trapped in this pandemic paradox where it feels like we have lots of time on our hands and yet unable to make our reading pile lighter? Then this episode is for you! Gelek speaks with writer, friend and fellow Nepali Torontonian Manjushree Thapa to get some insight into her reading projects (03:34), traveling across Colombia in the footsteps of Gabriel García Márquez (08:30), her writing process (26:11) and writing projects (35:15). They also mix in some spirited momo discourse, where Gelek tries to pitch Manjushree on his idea of co-hosting a Netflix show about these delectable Tibetan/Nepali dumplings (17:20).


Manjushree Thapa is a Nepali Canadian essayist, novelist and translator of Nepali literature into English. Her most recent novel “All of Us in Our Own Lives” is a beautiful story of strangers who shape each other’s lives in fateful ways, about Nepalis in Nepal and abroad, about human interconnectedness, about privilege, and about the ethics of international aid. Manjushree’s non-fiction books include a travelogue, a biography, and a collection of editorials and reportage on Nepal’s Maoist war and peace process, including “Forget Kathmandu.” Manjushree currently lives in Toronto, Canada with her husband, the irrepressible journalist Daniel Lak.


Episode notes

  • Reading as a way to cope with the pandemic. [02:00]

  • Manjushree’s reading projects: audiobooks, research vs pleasure. [03:34]

  • First reading project: Chinese literature. [05:25]

  • Reading Colombian writers and tracing the footsteps of Gabriel García Márquez in Colombia. [08:30]

  • What would a Manjushree Thapa-themed reading tour look like? [13:24]

  • Momo discourse! [17:20]

  • Understanding Manjushree’s love of Proust. [23:35]

  • Manjushree’s writing process; typing vs writing by hand. [26:11]

  • Current reading projects: quantum theory, memoirs, poetry... [30:00]

  • Writing own memoir, about Nepali feminism, pandemic writing setup, and more process. [35:15]

  • Eden Robinson’s Trickster series and the matter of Indigeneity. [41:26]

  • Reading tips from Manjushree, plus painting. [48:54]

Reading list

All of Us in Our Own Lives - Manjushree Thapa

Women Have No Nationality - Manjushree Thapa (Record Nepal)

I Don’t Love You, Toronto: On Books and Cities - Manjushree Thapa (The Millions)

Serve the People! - Yan Lianke

Living to Tell the Tale Reader’s Guide - Gabriel García Márquez

In Search of Lost Time Volume V The Captive & The Fugitive - Marcel Proust

Son of a Trickster - Eden Robinson

Monkey Beach - Eden Robinson

Additional links

Trembling Mountain - Kesang Tseten (2016; trailer)

Trickster's 2nd season cancelled by CBC (CBC News)

The Boyden Controversy is not about Bloodline - Robert Jago (The Walrus)

The Real Education of Little Tree - Dana Rubin (Texas Monthly)

The White Tiger (2021; Netflix)