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Chandreyee Lahiri’s “Dumba Chora” Selected For BBF’s 11th All-city Read

Press Release

The Boston Book Festival (BBF) is pleased to announce its selection for the 2021 One City One Story (1C1S)“Dumba Chora” by Chandreyee Lahiri. 1C1S was created to foster community among the city’s residents through a shared reading experience by freely distributing a work of short fiction around Greater Boston during the weeks leading up to the annual Boston Book Festival. Readers are invited to participate in a town hall-style discussion of the story with its author at the Festival, which this year will take place on October 16 in Copley Square and October 23 in Nubian Square. 


“It is our honor to present ‘Dumba Chora’ as the featured story for our 2021 city-wide read,” said executive director Norah Piehl. “Although the ï¿¼piece’s rich setting in the Sundarbans mangrove forest on the Bay of Bengal is geographically specific, the story touches on universal themes like the relationship between marriage and loss, the constant search for belonging and interpersonal connection. The story showcases values of culture, class and environmentalism that will connect to readers across the city on a personal level.” 


“Dumba Chora" is a story of family, trust, love and loss by Chandreyee Lahiri, a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) specialist for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Reviewers describe the piece as "a tight story told with beautiful prose” with a “strong, intimate sense of place.”  


Lahiri’s work as a storyteller has been featured in programs such as Stories from the Stage and Suitcase Stories. Her work also received an honorable mention from the annual flash fiction writing contest Boston in 100 Words. Lahiri was born in Kolkata, India but she spent her childhood in Africa and various parts of the Middle East. She graduated from Loretto College at Calcutta University and received a graduate degree from the University of Cincinnati. She is an avid writer and engages in flash fiction writing groups and participates in public storytelling.  


“I am truly excited to have been selected as this year’s One City One Story featured author,” said Lahiri.  â€œAs an immigrant who has lived in various regions of India, Africa, the Middle East and now, the United States, I have often thought about my place in society and about bridging gaps to make new connections. My story explores these themes in the unique setting of the Sundarbans, which are besieged by challenges and host untold stories of triumph as well as tragedy. â€˜Dumba Chora’ opens a small window into this world while delving into the confusion of changing societal norms in Bengali culture as well as universal themes of fear, loss and love. I am thrilled and proud to share the far-away horizons of my origin with the people of Boston, which has been my home for decades." 


Each year, the BBF calls for submissions from local, established authors, which are individually reviewed by a reading panel comprised of media figures and journal editors. Once the selections are narrowed down, the stories are then evaluated by an additional committee to deliberate topical relevance and appeal. This year, the BBF received 60 story submissions.  


Distribution of the story will begin in early September, with the stories available for free in English and Spanish at ï¿¼all Boston Public Library branches, as well as at other area libraries and partner booksellers. Additionally, the BBF will be distributing printed copies of “Dumba Chora” at area events, such as farmers’ markets in and around Boston. Additional translations will also be available online, including, for the first time, a translation of the story in Bengali, the common language of Bengal, where the story is set. The program culminates with a discussion of the story with its author at the Boston Book Festival on a later announced date. More information about 1C1S and an up-to-date listing of distribution locations and events can be found here  


The 2021 edition of the BBF will take place between October 16 and 23, offering events throughout the week and two weekend festivals. This year’s schedule along with presenters will be announced later this summer and will feature presenters covering a diversity of topics spanning today’s most pressing issues, including racial justice, post-pandemic lessons, science, politics, technology, climate change and activism.  


BBF is thankful for its 2021 sponsors, including the Eric and Jane Nord Family Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Plymouth Rock Foundation, the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation, Arbella Insurance Foundation, the Cabot Family Charitable Trust, the Fuller Foundation, Greenough Brand Storytellers, Lesley University, Other Press, Mass Humanities, Mystery Writers of America–New England, Western Governors University, Emerson College, Boston Cultural Council, WBUR, The Boston Globe, GBH, and McPherson & Company. 


More information about the Boston Book Festival can be found here.   


About Boston Book Festival  

The Boston Book Festival celebrates the power of words to stimulate, educate, agitate, unite, delight, and inspire by holding year-round events culminating in an annual, free festival that promotes a culture of reading and ideas and enhances the vibrancy of the city of Boston. The 2021 festival will span a full week, kicking off October 16 throughout Boston’s Copley Square and culminating October 23 at venues in Nubian Square, Roxbury. http://www.bostonbookfest.org/ 

(Lahiri is a mother, Geographic Information Specialist, Waltham resident, and a proud immigrant who has lived in multiple regions like India, Africa, the Middle East, and for the last 25 years, the United States. Lahiri’s work has been featured in Stories from the Stage, Suitcase Stories and Boston in 100 words. )

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