Co-sponsored by the Asian Studies and Asian American Studies Programs at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Jaggery: A DesiLit Arts and Literature Journal launched this week. Edited by Mary Anne Mohanraj and a vast team of talented writers, scholars, and artists, Jaggery features literature, art, reviews, and essays about South Asian culture, narratives, and histories. The inaugural issue of Jaggery features Rita Banerjee’s review of Kazim Ali’s wonderful collection of personal essays, Fasting for Ramadan. Excerpt from the review: “In this collection, Ali’s essays range from detailing his struggles with staying active and inactive during the Ramadan period, to his relationship to the exterior world and his own body, to beginning to understand the outline of his own spiritual life…What makes this collection of essays especially exciting is the way in which Ali confronts his own body and his relationship to religion and spirituality. Below the surface of the daily accounts there is a startling and uneasy confrontation with one’s own mortality, which Ali at first acknowledges quietly and then begins to own during the course of his abstinence and fasting…This “animal fear of being alarmingly present in the corporeal body” is the anxiety that lurks beneath Ali’s essays as he journeys through the worlds of hunger, abstinence, and reflection…” You can read the full review of Ali’s text here.