Sheila Heti and Avni Doshi In Conversation


Sheila Heti joins Avni Doshi in a conversation on the ambivalence of motherhood, chaired by Sunny Singh. As life in lockdown has us re-examining our priorities, we ask if how we live, interact with each other and make sense of things as women has also drastically changed.

Is the post pandemic world more willing and open to conversations around women who feel they should not have had or do not want children? Can society free itself from the social conditioning around parenthood? Sheila and Avni help us locate the complexity, trauma and joy to be found in an ambivalence to motherhood.

Sheila Heti is the genre defying author of Motherhood. Avni Doshi wrote Booker Prize shortlisted Burnt Sugar. 

If you'd like to submit any questions for Sheila and Avni, please email them to with the event title in the subject line. 

This event will feature a performance by a WOW Sounds artist. Don't miss the incredible performance by platinum-selling front woman and bassist from Noisettes, Shingai.

This event will be BSL interpreted and captioned.

Sheila Heti and Avni Doshi In Conversation is part of WOW UK Festival 2021, a very special digital programme, featuring groundbreaking In Conversations and interactive workshops. Over three weeks we’ll explore everything from mental health to sex in lockdown, radical childcare to being everything from a grandmother to an artist in a pandemic (or both!). Find out about The WOW Foundation and its work year-round to fight gender inequality here.

For this year’s festival, we are offering audiences the chance to pay what they can for tickets from £1 upwards. If you’re able to pay a higher ticket price, your contribution will include a donation to help WOW continue its work fighting for gender equality all year-round.

About the speakers:

Sheila Heti is the author of eight books of fiction and non-fiction. Her most recent book is Motherhood, named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, Vulture (#1 of 2018), NPR, Chicago Tribune, and others. Dwight Garner writing in The New York Times called it, “earthy and philosophical and essential.” Her novel, How Should a Person Be? was named one of the twelve “New Classics of the 21st century” by Vulture. It was a New York Times Notable Book, a best book of the year in The New Yorker, and was cited by Time as "one of the most talked-about books of the year.” Other books include the novel Ticknor described by Publisher’s Weekly as “deliciously intimate and clue-riddled as a Poe story;” and the short story collection, The Middle Stories. Heti was named one of "The New Vanguard" by The New York Times book critics, a list of fifteen women writers from around the world who are shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century. In 2012, she was named one of the Most Influential People in the World by Time.

She is the founder of the Trampoline Hall lecture series, appeared in Margaux Williamson’s film Teenager Hamlet, and sporadically posts new episodes to her podcast, Podcast with Raisins. She lives in Toronto.

Avni Doshi was born in New Jersey and lives in Dubai. She has a BA in art history from Barnard College in New York and a Masters in history of art from University College London. She was awarded the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize in 2013 and a Charles Pick Fellowship in 2014. Her writing has appeared in Vogue UK, Granta and The Sunday Times. Her first novel, Burnt Sugar, was originally released in India under the title Girl in White Cotton, where it won the Sushila Devi Award and was longlisted for the Tata First Novel Prize. Upon publication in the UK, Burnt Sugar was shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize. It is being published in 23 languages. Avni is currently working on her second novel.

Sunny Singh (Chair of the event) is a London based writer, academic and activist and author of three critically acclaimed novels: Nani’s Book of Suicides, was praised as a "first novel of rare scope and power" and its Spanish translation won the inaugural Mar de Letras prize; With Krishna’s Eyes (2006) which was commended for its "profound insight" and described as "memorable”; and Hotel Arcadia (2015) described as “powerful and absorbing” and “elegantly plotted, psychologically subtle, and almost unbearably exciting.” Her first non-fiction book, Single in the City: The Independent Woman’s Handbook (2001), was a groundbreaking exploration of the lives of single women in India. Her latest non-fiction book, published by the British Film Institute, is a study of the Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan (2017). She is currently finalising a monograph on Indian cinema as well as a collection of short stories examining aspects of armed conflict over the past century. Her essays, short stories, and columns are published worldwide in key journals, anthologies and media outlets. She is the founder of the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Colour, the Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize and the Jhalak Art Residency. In her various roles, Singh is a champion for inclusion across all aspects of society, advocating an intersectional, decolonising approach to building radical global solidarities. She is also Professor of Creative Writing and Inclusion in the Arts at the London Metropolitan University.



Tickets are non-refundable.