This Is One Way to Dance: Essays


Product Details

$22.95  $21.34
University of Georgia Press
Publish Date
6.5 X 8.4 X 0.6 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Sejal Shah is a writer, interdisciplinary artist, and teacher. Her debut essay collection, This Is One Way to Dance, was named an NPR Best Book of 2020 and included in over thirty most-anticipated lists including Electric Literature, Lit Hub, the Los Angeles Times, The Millions, Ms. Magazine, PEN America, Self, and others. She is the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in fiction and the author of the forthcoming story collection How to Make Your Mother Cry. Find her online at and on Twitter and Instagram at @SejalShahWrites.


You'll find that these meditative memoranda don't end when they are over but continue to work their magic, an alchemy that transubstantiates both memory and memoir. Here are the maps for here, steps stenciled on the finished dance floor, a Little Giddings rag that brings us back to where we started and there to know the place for the very first time.--Michael Martone "author of Brooding "
Sejal Shah's lyrical This Is One Way to Dance deftly explores the intricacies of identity, culture, family, and what it means to be 'American' in our increasingly diverse nation. The writing is vivid, Shah's observations are nimble and wise, and the result is a book that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.--Dinty W. Moore "author of Between Panic and Desire "
If a queer text is an unsettled one, crossing cultures, crossing genres, then this book of essays rescripts what we think we know about identity--Indian American and other. A phenomenal first book that travels decades in its excavation, Sejal Shah's This Is One Way to Dance was well worth the wait. The body in ecstatic dance is a bridge and also an estuary in this prose, equally ecstatic in its precision and its vulnerability--a collection that calls us from any depth. Shah is a master storyteller who keeps us knowing differently. This Is One Way to Dance is bold and brave. A collection for a new century.--Dawn Lundy Martin "author of Good Stock Strange Blood "
'Oh, there we are, ' I found myself thinking more than once reading Sejal Shah's beautiful memoir in essays. Each of these pieces captures what it means to be a citizen of a country that may never claim you as its own, to imagine your own brilliant fullness beyond its peripheral gaze.--Mira Jacob "author of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations "
This is a marvelously observant memoir, not only of Shah's parents' generation and their arrival in the United States, but also of her own generation's search for love, for a notion of home and belonging. While this memoir is frequently heartbreaking, it also dazzles with incandescent humor. One of the most nuanced, wise, and tender portraits of immigration I have ever read.--Kiran Desai "Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Inheritance of Loss "
This is a sensitive, poignant collection.--Kirkus Reviews
The poetic, probing debut from short story writer and essayist Shah forcefully tackles the complicated intersection of 'identity, language, movement, family, place, and race'....In this sterling collection, Shah has created a striking self-portrait.--Publishers Weekly