Mentoring and Being Mentored

South Asian Women Writers


  • Sharanpal Ruprai University of Winnipeg
  • Sheniz Janmohamed



“Mentoring and Being Mentored: South Asian Women Writers” is a discussion between two writers who are passionate about mentoring the next wave of writers. The idea for this paper started with a phone call between Sharanpal Ruprai and Sheniz Janmohamed back in summer of 2017. We were in discussions about mentorship and how often, we feel, as South Asian Women of Colour in Canadian Literature (CanLit) a lack of support. Our conversation addresses our own need for mentorship across genres and within various South Asian communities. Our late-night phone calls were scratching the surface of creating new works of art and connection but also mentorship of artistic practice. After some self-reflection and research, we realized that, the conversation format, was a form of mentorship and has a long tradition within South Asian Canadian women’s work and anti-racism work.

Author Biographies

Sharanpal Ruprai, University of Winnipeg

Sharanpal Ruprai is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Winnipeg. As an interdisciplinary humanities scholar, her research and teaching interests include: Indigenous and Critical Race Feminism, religious and cultural studies and artistic practice. Sharanpal Ruprai’s début poetry collection, Seva, was a finalist for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry by the Alberta Literary Awards. Her second collection, Pressure Cooker Love Bomb, will launch in April 2019. Sharanpal Ruprai is one of four poetry editors for Contemporary Verse 2: The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing (CV2).  

Sheniz Janmohamed

Sheniz Janmohamed (MFA) is a poet, artist educator and land artist and has performed her work in venues across the world, including the Jaipur Literature Festival, Alliance Française de Nairobi and the Aga Khan Museum. She was awarded the Lois Birkenshaw-Fleming Creative Teaching Scholarship (2015) and holds an Artist Educator Mentor certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto). She is the founder of Questions for Ancestors, a blog that encourages BIPOC writers and artists across Turtle Island to ask questions of their ancestors as provide advice for their descendants. Sheniz Janmohamed is the author of two collections of poetry: Bleeding Light (Mawenzi House, 2010) and Firesmoke (Mawenzi House, 2014) and she is currently working on her third collection of ghazals.