BIOGRAPHY

Los Angeles-based writer Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla was born in Mombasa, Kenya. At 13 years old, he published his first article in the national magazine VIVA and has since written for various publications including Instinct, Genre, Angeleno, Detour, Details and IndulgeMagazine.com

Dhalla is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel, Ode to Lata, hailed by The Los Angeles Times as "an accomplishment" and The Library Journal as "brilliant." An excerpt from Ode to Lata was featured in the anthology, Contours of the Heart (Rutgers), which went on to win the 18th Annual American Book Award. The novel created milestones as the first South Asian gay novel ever to be reviewed by The Los Angeles Times Book Review and to be excerpted by Genre Magazine. It was also the first account of the South Asian gay experience from an author from the African continent. The cultural and academic impact of Dhalla's debut novel was further recognized when it was presented at the Between The Lines Festival at MIT (Boston) in 2004, and added to college syllabuses around the country.

Dhalla went on to adapt and produce the novel into the feature film, The Ode starring Sachin Bhatt, Wilson Cruz and Sakina Jaffrey. The Ode premiered at the Oufest Film Festival on July 17th, 2008 to a sold-out audience. It was called "a beautiful portrait of the American experience for many first and second-generation Indian-Americans" (CineQueer, July 18th, 2008) and a film with performances that are "memorable" and filled with "cinematic intensity" (Planet Homo, July 19th, 2008). The UCLA Asia Institute praised it as a film that inspired "after-film contemplation" and boasting performances that are "noteworthy" (Asia Pacific Arts, August 8th, 2008).

A passionate activist, Dhalla co-founded the South Asian program for the Asian Pacific AIDS Intervention Team (APAIT) which provides prevention, health and social services, community leadership and advocacy to over 10,000 individuals in Southern California. He is also one of the founding members of SATRANG, a support group for LGBT and "questioning" South Asians in Los Angeles.

In June 2007, Dhalla was listed as one of the Top 21 Tastemakers and "Most Important Movers and Shakers" in America by Genre Magazine. In August 2007, Dhalla was listed as one of the "Top 25 People Who Make Us Melt - Angelenos Who Redefine What's Hot" by Frontiers Magazine. In March 2008, Dhalla was included in Anokhi Magazine's "Sexy & Successful 2008" roster. Dhalla joined the prestigious Humanitas Prize organization in 2009 as a Reader for excellence in TV and Film scripts for the 35th Humanitas Prize.

On August 29th, 2009 Dhalla was showcased at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York with the headlining event, An Evening with Ghalib Shiraz Dhalla. He had the opportunity to celebrate his body of work by mapping the journey of his semi-autobiographical novel, Ode to Lata to screen and discuss his much-anticipated second novel, The Two Krishnas. The event was thrown by Engendered, an arts and human rights organization aimed at creating awareness around gender and sexuality.