Sameer Pandaya and Mateo Askaripour

This best of features two guests whose debut novels focus in on racial issues in the workplace with Askaripour’s novel, Black Buck, set in the sales industry and Pandya’s Members Only homing in on academia. Both guests speak to their inspirations, drawing from life experience, and the nuance and complexities (and also the importance) of tackling racial issues in fiction.


Mateo Askaripour’s work aims to empower people of color to seize opportunities for advancement, no matter the obstacle. He was a 2018 Rhode Island Writers Colony writer-in-residence, and his writing has appeared in Entrepreneur, Lit Hub, Catapult, The Rumpus, Medium, and elsewhere. His debut novel is Black Buck. Sameer Pandya is the author of the story collection The Blind Writer, which was long listed for the PEN/Open Book Award. His fiction, commentary, and cultural criticism has appeared in the Atlantic, Salon, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and Narrative Magazine. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Members Only is his first novel.

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