Kismuth Books is a project of Dipika Kohli. Kohli started Kismuth in 2012, with the launch of her memoir, The Elopement. (Listen to a live interview on NPR). The first time this blog appeared as a website, the tagline was, ‘Experiments in Writing from the Heart.’ That is still the driving ethos, though the interactivity portion of writing and sharing, while also making things, as we go, in ‘relational arts’ style, is what makes the Kismuth of 2020 different from 2012. What can we write, when we take the time and make the space to do so, together?’ Memoir, and essay, that Kohli had shared through various other media channels and collated at this site used to be what this site was about: a platform for the works of the author. But that’s all changed.

Through full-time work for 16 years straight dedicated exclusively to experiment, design, discovery and simply trying things, Kohli is much more interested in conversations. Perhaps in 2020 Kismuth will become what it is aiming towards: a conversation-starting spot, for those people around the world who, like Kohli, are also interested in discovering their own voice, through writing. And writing, together.


20 years of real-world newswriting, design experience

Kohli brings seasoned experience in design, photography, reporting and editing to Kismuth. She was on staff as the Environment Editor for the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, from 2004-2005. Her start in newspapers was as an Editor and Graphic Designer from 2002-2004 for the Southwest Ireland alt-weekly that was called West Cork Advertiser. Whenever she works for newspapers she’s always commended on her photography; Kohli was the food and portrait photographer for Spectator Magazine in the late 1990s in Raleigh-Durham, NC. She won grants for photo essays twice from the Japan Foundation, using the funds to document her daily bicycle rides and quiet moments in Kyoto, from 1995-1996.

Today she art directs a 16-page, 100% crowdfunded, weekly e-mag, S P A C E. This publication began in 2017 and, at the time of this writing, has designed and published 78 issues. It’s a side project of Kohli’s other creative endeavor, Design Kompany, or ‘DK’, which she founded with Akira Morita and which is currently based out of both Saigon and Phnom Penh.

Dipika Kohli, pictured on S P A C E | Kuala Lumpur, ‘Prologues.’ This is Issue #50 of the weekly zine, made by DK and collaborators in an international conversation.



Philosophy & Approach

Kohli’s written and visual work, as well as curations, juxtapose people, place, and found imagery in ‘minitheaters’ as well as digital ‘zines’ like S P A C E. She engages with media at hand, wherever she is, to build something out of what’s available in that moment, with that feeling. A bricolage artist at heart, she thus invites the new to enter any frame: when mixed, there is invitation for those who are participant to connect, reconnect, and revisit their idea of such fixed thinking as ‘this is where this is taking us’ and ‘here is what we know.’ Do we know anything, for sure? Ask the quantum physicists. Ask N. Bohr: ‘How wonderful that we have met with a paradox; now we have some hope of making progress.’ dipikakohli.com


Articles & Columns

  • Column ‘Kismuth & The Way’, Saathee Magazine, Charlotte NC 2019
  • Kanishka, published as a serial, Preetlari Magazine, Chandigarh 2016
  • ‘The Death of Childhood,’ Dying Matters, UK 2015
  • ‘The Truth of It’, published in Sisters Born, Sisters Found and the Bay Area’s Noe Valley Voice, 2014
  • ‘Understanding Regional Identity in the Face of Rapid Development,’ ThisBigCity.com 2014
  • ‘The Village Report’, Northwest Asian Weekly, Seattle 2013-2014
  • ‘Just Being Honest’, Saathee Magazine, Charlotte NC 2013-2014
  • ‘Are we allowed to be creative?’ ProcessedIdentity.com, Ottawa 2011
  • ‘Ireland in the World Cup’, as reported from Tokyo for Skibbereen’s Southern Star, 2002
  • ‘Ireland’s Oldest Man,’ feature, Cork Evening Echo, Cork 2002
  • ‘Tech Time for Universities,’ feature, J@Pan Inc, Tokyo 2002
  • Prior to 2002, Kohli’s freelance pieces had appeared in: AbroadViewIrish Times, Irish American Post, India Today Plus, J@pan Inc., Metro Eireann, The Raleigh News & Observer, Rediff.com, Sikkim Observer, Spectator Magazine, StudentTraveler, Southern Star, Tokyo Notice Board, Transitions Abroad, and her hometown of Durham NC’s Urban Hiker: Stories in First Person



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Residencies & Awards