NANDANA DEV SEN: Poetry, Power, and Parenting

NANDANA DEV SEN: Poetry, Power, and Parenting

NANDANA DEV SEN: Poetry, Power, and Parenting 1920 1080 Kanika

Today’s show delves deep into motherhood, how it’s intergenerational and we are birthed from the mothers before us. Their love, their thoughts, their dreams live on in us. I am thrilled to have Nandana Dev Sen on my show.

Nandana Dev Sen is an award-winning actor, writer, and child-rights activist. Daughter of the world renowned economist and philosopher Amartya Sen and the famous Indian poet, author, and academic Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Nandana was destined to pursue a career in the arts. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University (where she won the John Harvard Scholarship and Elizabeth Agassiz Prize each year) and studying filmmaking at the USC School of Cinema-Television, she worked as a book editor, a screenwriter, a script doctor, a poetry translator, a short film maker, and just for fun, as Princess Jasmine in Disneyland.

Nandana grew up in India, England, and America, and has acted in over 20 feature films from all three continents (and in multiple languages). She is the Ambassador for Child Protection for Save the Children India. Nandana has worked closely with children and grown-ups at UNICEF, RAHI (India’s first organization for survivors of child sexual abuse), Apne Aap (ends sex-trafficking by providing education and preventing intergenerational prostitution), and Operation Smile (transforms lives of children with cranio-facial deformities), as an Ambassador and advocate for child protection. In 2019, Nandana was awarded the Last Girl Champion Award for her campaign against human trafficking and child abuse, and her tireless fight to empower marginalized girl children.

Nandana is the author of six children’s books, In My Heart (Penguin Random House, 2019), The Monkey Who Wanted to Fly (Italian: La scimmietta che voleva volare, Fetrinelli Kids, 2018), Talky Tumble of Jumble Farm (Penguin Random House, 2017), Not Yet! (Tulika Books, 2017), Kangaroo Kisses (Otter-Barry Books, 2016), and Mambi and the Forest Fire (Puffin, 2016), as well as Youthquake, a fiction series for young adults (published in The Wire, The Telegraph, and Youth Ki Awaaz). Nandana‘s first book Kangaroo Kisses was selected by 320+ UK nurseries as a “Book of Excellence”, and her interactive workshops have been loved by more than 30,000 young people, in person, across the world. She frequently writes for newspapers and journals, and has edited and co-authored a bilingual book of her translations of her mother Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s Bengali poetry, Make Up Your Mind. Her latest book, Acrobat, is a collection of her mother’s poems translated from Bengali by Nandana and is published by Archipelago Books.

Nandana lives with her husband John Makinson and daughter Meghla with homes in New York, London, and Kolkata. She loves to eat, bike, rhyme, dance, and argue.

Meet My Guest:


Mom Haul:


Brooklyn Book Festival
DATE: September 27, 2021
TIME: 7 pm
VENUE: South Street Seaport, 4 Fulton Street, NY 10038
DETAILS: Come hear Nandana speak and read her poetry at the Brooklyn Book Festival, which is New York City’s largest free literary festival, happens over 8 days, and has the credo “hip, smart and diverse.”

Nandana’s event, called “Private and Public Lives in Poetry,” is planned in-person as of now, and will be hosted by Mcnally Jackson Books. For updates, please visit and

Acrobat Book Launch in London, UK
DATE: September 30, 2021
TIME: 5 pm GMT (1 pm EST, 9:30 pm IST; virtual event).
VENUE: Virtual. You can watch it live on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the YouTube Channel for the Nehru Centre London.
DETAILS: Nandana will be in conversation with the celebrated poet Bhanu Kapil, who in 2021 was awarded the prestigious T.S Eliot Poetry Prize for her book, How to Wash a Heart. For updates, please visit

Meet & Greet in NYC
DATE: October 9, 2021
TIME: 4 – 5 pm
VENUE: WordUp Bookstore, 2113 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10032
DETAILS: Come see Nandana in person at the legendary Word Up bookstore in New York City, for an interactive reading and book signing of AcrobatYou can learn more at: