The news of the explosions in New Delhi came as a great shock last Sunday morning. As I have friends and colleagues in the area it was a huge relief to hear they are all fine, even if the events have left them feeling shattered.
Professor Meenakshi Bharat, a good friend and colleague, and I have recently co-edited a book of stories by authors from Australia and India on the theme of terrorism and how it or the fear of it impacts on our daily lives.
Using a creative and apolitical approach, the fiction stories in this collection explore growing anxieties about living with the fear of terror and/or the threat of terror: what it is like and how people cope with it. Stories are set in various decades including the future. The places in which they are set are similarly diverse and include Australia, Europe, USA, Middle East and Asia, including the Indian Subcontinent; as well as allegorical or fictional places. They resonate through time and space. The stories in this collection go beyond the stereotypes and the sensationalism to the individual and the personal. Each of the authors conveys through engaging and powerful narratives the effects of the fear factor and global terrorism, more than that they offer an insight into this all-pervasive fear that is infiltrating our lives. Some of the stories are touching and poignant, others are confronting even disturbing, a few manage to weave irony and humour into the narrative – and all offer a gripping read.
We are delighted that some of our most prominent authors have contributed to the book, such as David Malouf, Tom Keneally, Rosie Scott, Susanne Gervay, Jeremy Fisher as well as some of India’s most famous authors, including Sir Salman Rushdie. Yasmine Gooneratne has written the foreword for this collection of stories.
Picador India will publish the collection at the end of this year, under the title of “Blood Will Have Blood”.
Notwithstanding the support of well-known and best-selling authors who have contributed and given permission for us to publish their stories (and the fact that the manuscript has been typeset, edited and proof-read, to reduce costs), we are finding it difficult to find an Australian publisher willing to commit to a local Australian edition. Two mainstream Australian fiction publishers are currently assessing the book manuscript and we are hoping that the high quality of the stories will convince them to publish this book.
The major difficulty seems to be the old story (if you’ll pardon the pun) of publishers’ reluctance to publish collections of short stories.
Meenakshi and I are still convinced that this book must be published in Australia and we’ll persevere but the lack of interest here in Australia is very disheartening.
In any event, the book will be available on the ‘net in due course. The stories really are well-worth reading and definitely worth the price of the book.
Support the Short Story – buy short story collections and show publishers that short stories are a perfect fit for our busy lives. I’m sure you won’t regret it.