In-Person: Priyanka Kumar with Daniel Slager and The Raptor Center at Open Book

Open Book
1011 Washington Avenue South
Performance Hall, Second Floor
Minneapolis, MN 55415
United States

Join Priyanka Kumar and Milkweed Editions’ Publisher and CEO Daniel Slager for a discussion about the genesis of Kumar’s collection of essays, Conversations with Birds, followed by a reading featuring special guest birds, facilitated by The Raptor Center.

Join us at 5:30 PM at Milkweed Books, located on the first floor of Open Book for light refreshments and a chance to chat with Priyanka in the gorgeous, newly re-opened bookstore!

This event is free and open to the public, please register here.

Learn more about Conversations with Birds here.

About Conversations with Birds
“Birds are my almanac. They tune me into the seasons, and into myself.”

So begins this lively collection of essays by acclaimed filmmaker and novelist Priyanka Kumar. Growing up at the feet of the Himalayas in northern India, Kumar took for granted her immersion in a lush natural world. After moving to North America as a teenager, she found herself increasingly distanced from more than human life and discouraged by the civilization she saw contributing to its destruction. It was only in her twenties, living in Los Angeles and working on films, that she began to rediscover her place in the landscape—and in the cosmos—by way of watching birds.

About the speakers
Priyanka Kumar is the author of Conversations with Birds. Her essays and criticism appear in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Huffington Post, and High Country News. She is a recipient of the Aldo & Estella Leopold Writing Residency, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Award, a New Mexico/New Visions Governor’s Award, a Canada Council for the Arts Grant, an Ontario Arts Council Literary Award, and an Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Fellowship. A graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts and an alumna of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Kumar wrote, directed and produced the feature documentary The Song of the Little Road, starring Martin Scorsese and Ravi Shankar. Kumar has taught at the University of California Santa Cruz and the University of Southern California, and serves on the Board of Directors at the Leopold Writing Program.

Daniel Slager is the publisher & CEO of Milkweed Editions. Prior to joining Milkweed as editor-in-chief in 2005, he was an editor at Harcourt Trade Publishers in New York. Prior to joining Harcourt, he was the associate editor of Grand Street, a leading quarterly magazine of literature and fine arts. Slager is also a widely published translator from the German. Slager serves on the Boards of Directors for the Ledig House International Writers’ Colony, Motionpoems, and Open Book, as well as on the Advisory Board for Archipelago Books, an independent publishing house in New York.

About Milkweed Editions
Milkweed Editions is an independent publisher of literary fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Our mission is to identify, nurture, and publish transformative literature, and build an engaged community around it. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, our work is made possible by the generosity of readers like you. Join our cause as a sustaining member today at

About The Raptor Center
A program of the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine, The Raptor Center’s mission is to ensure the health of raptors and the world we share. We specialize in the medical care, rehabilitation, and conservation of eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons.

Praise for Conversations with Birds
“In this collection of elegant and evocative essays, a novelist reflects on the beauty and significance of birds, those animals that ‘become a portal to a more vivid, enchanted world.’”—New York Times

“Kumar wows in this sparkling exploration of her relationship with the birds that serve as her ‘almanac’ and help her tune ‘in to the seasons’ and to herself… . Kumar’s reflections are rendered in elegant prose and are rich with vivid descriptions: ‘At the brink of the water, turquoise with milky sprays, the birds pirouetted and scooted away from the vigorously choppy waves’ … These outstanding reflections will inspire and enlighten, and are perfect for readers of Diane Ackerman.”—Publishers Weekly

“In 20 vignettes and essays, Priyanka Kumar lovingly narrates how encounters with birds have molded her outlook on life, family, and nature, bridging the mountains of her childhood in India to her adult wanderings in California and New Mexico. A spark was Kumar’s chance ‘mango-colored bird’ sighting—a Western Tanager—that stirs her to ‘aliveness’ during a near-death experience; her powerful musings take off from there. Her writing is full of beauty but also tells of destruction of the interconnected ecosystems that sustain birds and people. ‘Sometimes it just takes the right bird to awaken us,’ she writes.”—Audubon

“An eloquent depiction of how birding engenders a deep love of our ecosystems and a more profound understanding of ourselves.”—Kirkus