Northernness and the Global South Novel: Sunjeev Sahota's <i>The Year of the Runaways</i>


  • Pashmina Murthy Kenyon College


Global South, northernness, precarity, migration, directionality


Direction can function equally as a short-hand for power-relations or hierarchies: North versus South; East versus West. But such forms of ordering are not often stable, and they change depending on place or scale. The relationship between global North and South is not always the same as that between a national north and south. Sunjeev Sahota’s The Year of the Runaways (2015) adds another layer of complexity by bringing its characters from the north of India in the global South to the north of England in the global North. The essay asks how the multiple kinds of northernness signaled in the novel transform the idea of the North from a cardinal direction to a shifting, indexical sign. In doing so, it shows how critical attention to northernness enables a reimagining of the global South.

Author Biography

Pashmina Murthy, Kenyon College

Pashmina Murthy is Associate Professor of English at Kenyon College. She works on South Asian and African literatures, postcolonial urbanisms, and literary theory. Her current book project is on disorientation and the Global South.