Vayu Naidu


Sita’s Ascent (Penguin, 2013), a novel, was a fictional discourse about women in exile and was nominated for the Commonwealth Book award. Vayu’s storytelling – written and oral – spans diaspora, urban, epic, folk and tribal stories inspired by multiple literary and performance traditions. Cultural binaries immersing character in challenging interior landscapes, while speaking across borders, are a feature of her writing. Her second novel, The Sari of Surya Vilas (Speaking Tiger Books, and Affirm press, both 2017), is historical fiction set in the Madras Presidency from 1857–1916. The silenced stories woven in a wedding sari are symbolic of India’s independence.

Her PhD (Leeds) and AHRC Post-Doctoral fellowship (Kent) enabled academic research and apprenticeships in intercultural storytelling validating oral traditions. She received the Humanities teaching award from the University of Kent, and donated it to tsunami survivors working with the fishing community of Tamil Nadu. Her work in category A prisons with women emerging from domestic violence and young people has strengthened her belief in the transformative capacity of the word and the arts. Vayu Naidu Intercultural Storytelling Theatre, an Arts Council England RFO, enabled new writing and international touring and participatory work with refugees at Margate.

Supporting guide dog training to assist the severely immobile while volunteering at Thrive and Chelsea Physic Garden is her passionate planet participation. She runs The Write Place writing residencies and continues as a storyteller.

A SOAS research associateship enabled research for her forthcoming novel about the impact of texts circulating in the seventeenth century across diverse belief systems, not unlike the contemporary moment.

Vayu Naidu’s historical fiction, re-imagined myths and plays have been nominated for international awards, and the Commonwealth Book Award; they are staged and broadcast by BBC Radio Drama. She was Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the Universities of West London, Royal Holloway, and Greenwich. Through her PhD in Oral Traditions she explored the distinction between spoken word, written text, and critical thinking while working across primary, secondary and Higher Education. Her work in the Bridge programme helps students to think critically and communicate clearly in writing.

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Vayu Naidu



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  • University of Greenwich, 2021–2022
  • Royal Holloway, University of London, 2019–2021
  • University of West London, 2018–2019
  • Bridge Fellow