Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

November 25, 2014

The adventures and stories of Anu Kumar

If you love history, stories of adventure, murder, mysteries and curiosities then you will love these books by Anu Kumar.

I’ve had the good fortune to publish stories by Anu Kumar in two anthologies of stories from India and Australia. ‘Big Fish‘ in Alien Shores and ‘Two Women’ in Only Connect.

 

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Anu Kumar is presently studying for a masters in creative writing at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.  She also has a degree in history from Delhi University and has specialised in human resources management at the XLRI School of Business. She writes for children as well as for older readers, and her short stories have appeared in various magazines and anthologies.  Her stories have been twice awarded by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association,  and also short-listed by  The Little Magazine. It Takes a Murder  is her third novel for older readers after Letters for Paul (Mapin 2006) and The Dollmakers’ Island (Gyaana, 2010). She lives in Maryland in the US with her husband and daughter.

Anu’s new book, How Did the Harappans Say Hello? And 16 Other Mysteries of History

published by Red Turtle and available at South Asia Books and Amazon for Kindle

Sneak preview Harappans2

I have a copy of this book  and can tell you that it’s full of fascinating researched history told in the form of engaging stories that children from all over the world will find absorbing. I also have Anu’s The Chola Adventure (Puffin) which takes young readers on many adventures. While these books are difficult to obtain in Australia, some are available as e-books – which are recommended for Australian readers. For those who prefer books in print they are available and I recommend South Asia Books for printed copies. Use the link above for a preview of this book.

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A new book for older readers was released in 2013 Inspector Angre and the Pizza Delivery Boy (Kindle Edition) is a work of crime fiction set in Mumbai, and featuring Inspector Angre. Preview of this book on Kindle and on itunes.

Inspector-Angre-Cover

Check out Anu Kumar’s other books for older readers, including: It Takes a Murder, Letters for Paul, The Doll Maker’s Island, In Search of Raja and Other Stories.

A range of Anu’s books and Reviews

Stories at Anu Kumar’s Blog

And her equally marvellous books for children such as the Atisa Series

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atisa_seven_wonders

 

 

Though postage is expensive to have books sent to Australia, I highly recommend Anu Kumar’s books and South Asia Books for their five star customer service.  Atisa and the Time Machine Adventures with Hieun Tsang , Thanks, Ken.

 MythQuest Series at Amazon – though I haven’t had a chance to read this series yet, it looks terrific. I would love to hear from others who have read Anu’s books.

Images copyright Anu Kumar, please seek permission before using.
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January 4, 2013

Viewpoint, It Takes a Murder and Australian Women Writers’ Challenge 2013

Viewpoint Review

Alien Shores has also been reviewed by Mario La Marca in the current issue of Viewpoint the prestigious journal for Young Adult readers, writers and publishers, as well as High School teachers and librarians.

Anu Kumar It takes a Murder

It Takes a Murder by Anu Kumar, cover courtesy Amazon.com

It Takes a Murder

Anu Kumar whose story ‘Big Fish’ appears in Alien Shores has a new novel out:

Anu Kumar’s novel “It Takes a Murder” is now in widespread American distribution… In Kindle format
http://www.amazon.com/It-Takes-a-Murder-ebook/dp/B00AG1GQLU

And you can buy the paperback from Biblio and other sources….

 

Australian Women Writers Challenge 2013

Marisa Wikramanayake has “signed up for the Australian Women Writers Challenge for 2013 to read, review and promote Australian female authors. If you can recommend a few titles (even your own) that would be great…”

Drop in on the Australian Women Writers Challenge and suggest a book for review, or take the challenge to read and review yourself.

Marisa Wikramanayake writes that: the authors “must be Australian and female. The genres I read are literary fiction, crime fiction, non-fiction and occasionally science fiction and fantasy”.

http://marisa.com.au/the-australian-women-writers-challenge-2013/?fb_source=pubv1

December 20, 2012

Compliments of the Season, as Sunil Badami reviews “Alien Shores”

Meenakshi and I bring you the latest review of  Alien Shores by Sunil Badami published in Mascara Literary Review.

 Sunil’s review is particularly knowledgeable and culturally sensitive for which we thank him.

As Simone Lazaroo mentions in ‘Not just another Migrant Story1, we need reviewers with “cultural sensitivity to give Asian-Australian literary writers of merit a go … we also need more critics knowledgeable of the great diversity of Asian-Australian cultures to review those writers’ work in ‘mainstream’ newspapers and magazines, not just academic journals and books. One can only hope that Asian-Australian literature will be reviewed more often in more informed ways in such newspapers and magazines, rather than according to culturally inappropriate criteria”.

Sunil’s review achieves all this and more.

You can readSunil Badami reviews Alien Shores Ed Sharon Rundle & Meenakshi Bharat at Mascara Literary Review

http://mascarareview.com/sunil-badami-reviews-alien-shores/

 

Andrew Y M Kwong (centre) with Julia Mackay-Koelen, Meenakshi Bharat, Sharon Rundle and Michelle Cahill at the Central Coast launch of 'Alien Shores'.

Andrew Y M Kwong (centre) with Julia Mackay-Koelen, Meenakshi Bharat, Sharon Rundle and Michelle Cahill at the Central Coast launch of ‘Alien Shores’.

Abdul, Linda and Sharon at Hughenden Launch

Abdul, Linda and Sharon at Hughenden Launch

 

 

Wishing you all Compliments of the Season, a very Merry Christmas, a safe and happy holiday and

a brilliant New Year in 2013!

Xmas Tree

1Lazaroo, Simone. 2008, ‘Not just another Migrant Story’, Australian Humanities Review, Issue 45. ANU Press.

November 27, 2012

Dancing to the Flute

Dancing to the Flute

Manisha Jolie Amin

Allen & Unwin 2012

The power of music to reach people is never far from the surface of Dancing to the Flute. The brilliantly conceived structure parallels the stages of the Indian raga. The rhythm and pattern follow those of the raga as the narrative unfolds. The poetic language transforms the commonplace as the reader travels along with Kalu, the protagonist.

Dancing to the Flute has the magic and pathos of myth and enchantment, yet the human condition and the transformative quality of music are always at its centre. The yearning, the secret dreams and the shared bonds of those who are deeply connected by the ties that bind them are the catalyst for the metaphysical effects of Kalu’s flute. The world of Kalu and those with whom he comes in contact,  Vaid, Guruji, Bal, Ganga ba, Malti, Martin, Ashwin and others who inhabit the villages, is keenly wrought and ever evocative.

At all times, the reader is there at the centre of Kalu’s world, engaged by his quirky irrepressible nature, moved by his grief, captivated by his inquiring mind and gift for making music. As Kalu grows older and wiser, he discovers the incandescent and a higher purpose to this extraordinary gift. Just as Guruji discovers the true gift he has in his apprentice. As Kalu’s world expands, he learns that no matter how difficult life is, there is no going back – one can only go forward.

Just as the future appears Inevitable, however, the narrative twists and turns to another possibility.

Dancing to the Flute is an original and fine literary work, Amin is undoubtedly a skilled storyteller—there are stories within stories—and I found myself irresistibly drawn in and transported to Hastinapore, Guruji’s house and land on the way to Tanakpur, Ahmedabad and other villages of Gujurat, India and on to London.

Amin’s novel is right up there with the best I’ve read this year.

Manisha Jolie Amin

a raga is the projection of the artist’s inner spirit, a manifestation of his most profound sentiments and sensibilities brought forth through tones and melodies. The musician must breathe life into each raga as he unfolds and expands it … each note pulsates with life and the raga becomes vibrant and incandescent.” Ravi Shankar.

 Reviews:

UTS

Indian Herald

Good Reads

Book Coasters

October 29, 2012

Week-end Book Review: Ships in the Field by Susanne Gervay and Anna Pignataro

Ships in the Field

Susanne Gervay and Anna Pignataro launch “Ships in the Field”.

A sensitive and intelligent review of Susanne Gervay’s picture book ‘Ships in the Field‘. It will make an excellent Christmas present for children.

Week-end Book Review by Marjorie Coughlan: Ships in the Field by Susanne Gervay and Anna Pignataro.

Alien Shores

Alien Shores, Brass Monkey Books. Short stories.

 

is going to reprint. Congratulations to all involved. Please pass the word to your book clubs, Good Reads, blogsnetworks, newsrooms, FaceBook and on your websites.

Alien Shores would also make a welcome Diwali, Christmas or end-0f-year present. Order ‘Ships in the Field’ and ‘Alien Shores’ from your  book shop or online.

Coop Bookshop Blog review of Alien Shores by Manisha Amin

March 27, 2012

‘Bitter Greens’ have never tasted so good

 Bitter Greens

Bitter Greens,  new book just released by Kate Forsyth  is already attracting rave reviews. It is a marvellous tale and a must-read!   Kate’s latest book for adults, Bitter Greens, interweaves a retelling of the Rapunzel fairytale with the scandalous life story of the woman who first told the tale, the 17th century French writer Charlotte-Rose de la Force.

Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. She is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens …

 After Margherita’s father steals a handful of parsley, wintercress and rapunzel from the walled garden of the courtesan, Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off … unless he and his wife give away their little girl.

 Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1513 and still inspiring him at the time of his death, sixty-one years later.  Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

 Locked away in a tower, growing to womanhood, Margherita sings in the hope someone will hear her. One day, a young man does …

 Three women, three lives, three stories, braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic, and the redemptive power of love.

Bitter Greens is published by Random House Books and can be purchased here.

Inspiration behind Bitter Greens

BITTER GREENS will be published APRIL 2012

 “History and fairytale are richly entwined in this spellbinding story. Compulsively unputdownable!

Juliet Marillier, author of ‘Daughter of the Forest

 

A must read for lovers of historical fiction. Philippa Gregory watch out!”

Pamela Freeman, winner of the 2006 NSW History Prize


Booktopia Review

Many Daily Review

Australian Women Online Review

Kate Forsyth is the bestselling and award-winning author of 25 books for children and adults, translated into 10 languages.

 Since The Witches of Eileanan was named a Best First Novel by Locus Magazine, Kate has won or been nominated for many awards, including a CYBIL Award in the US. She’s also the only author to win five Aurealis awards in a single year, for her Chain of Charms series which tells of the adventures of two Romany children in the time of the English Civil War. Book 5: The Lightning Bolt was also a CBCA Notable Book.

 Her latest book for children is The Starkin’s Curse, a tale of high adventure, wild magic and true love, set in the same world as her bestselling novels The Starthorn Tree and The Wildkin’s Curse.

 Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, A Mother’s Offering to her Children. She is also studying a doctorate in fairytale re-tellings at University of Technology, Sydney.

 You can read more about her at www.kateforsyth.com.au

Brothers Grimm

December 6, 2011

Ships in the Field

by Susanne Gervay and illustrated by Anna Pignataro

Ships in the Field — whatever can it mean?

Find out when you read the latest book by Susanne Gervay, award-winning author of the popular I Am Jack series and books for Young Adult readers.  Ships in the Field is a heart-warming story with a subtle but significant sub-text that children are part of the journey of war, migration, loss and healing. Susanne writes with a light hand, warmth and humour to make this important story appealing to young readers.  Glorious evocative water colour illustrations by Anna Pignataro bring the story to life. I have had the privilege of reading a sample copy and was enchanted by the moving story and water colour illustrations. Highly recommended. Watch out for its release in February 2012.

Illustration by Anna Pignataro from Susanne Gervay's 'Ships in the Field' (c)

 Multi-award winning Susanne Gervay is recognised for her writing on social justice endorsed by Room to Read, Alannah & Madeline Foundation, Life Education. Her best-selling books include her Jack books – I Am Jack, Super Jack & Always Jack and young adult novel Butterflies.

Winner of the Crichton Award in 1998, Anna Pignataro has created over forty books for children. Shortlisted by the CBCA and YABBA, many of her books are Notables. The best-selling Always, Together and Princess and Fairy are published in eleven countries and enjoyed in seven languages. Check Anna’s website for a peek at some of her stunning illustrations.

Susanne and Anna are part of that immigrant and refugee story. Susanne’s parents were post-war Hungarian refugees who migrated to Australia. Anna’s parents were post-war Italian refugees who migrated to Australia.

 Ships in the Field

ISBN: 9781921665233

Publication date: February 2012

Extent: 32 pages

Format: Portrait hardback

Price: AUD$26.95

Category: Picture book

Age guide: 7+

Enquiries:

Ford Street Publishing Pty Ltd

2 Ford Street, Clifton Hill, VIC 3068, Australia Phone: +61 (3) 9481 1120 Fax: +61 (3) 9481 1123

Email: info@fordstreetpublishing.com Web: www.fordstreetpublishing.com

September 10, 2011

In the Shadow of Legends Launch

Sujata Sankrantis novel In the Shadow of Legends

was launched in grand style

at the Levee Hall, Krishna Vilasam Palace Fort, Thiruvananthapuram-23, 

on Saturday, 20 August 2011

Dr. R. P. Raja welcomed the guests at the launch of In the Shadow of Legends.

A Presidential Address was given by Dr. Puthusseri Ramachandran.

Prof. Hridaya Kumari Introduced Sujata’s novel which was launched by Princess Aswathi Thirunal.

Shri M. Ravi Varma Raja was Guest Speaker.

See the launch photos on Facebook link

Invitation Kshathra

Video link to interview with Sujata Sankranti

Read the reviews and interviews in the Deccan Chronicle and The Hindu review and The Hindu interview ; the Afternoon and Businessworld.

If you would like to buy a copy of this absorbing and thrilling novel, In the Shadow of Legends, outside of India, it’s available from Amazon

Highly recommended.

August 12, 2011

Violin Lessons – Arnold Zable

Violin Lessons by Arnold Zable

Arnold Zable has released his latest book Violin Lessons published by Text.  Zable is the narrator of stories of the lives of displaced people, survivors and their families, like Amal Basri rescued from the SIEV X after almost twenty-four hours in the ocean, whose moving story is told in ‘The Ancient Mariner’.   Another story, ‘The Dust of Life’ follows the lives of children orphaned by the war in Vietnam: Bui doi, the boys were called, ‘the dust of life’, but in this moment of blessed sleep they were a brotherhood united by common circumstance, living a semblance of family life in a transient haven in a warring city where the bonds of civility had been strained beyond the limits.

As the title of this poignant yet gripping collection of stories suggests, music is present in each story. In ‘The Ancient Mariner’, Amal sings; in ‘The Dust of Life’, the music flows from a bamboo flute. ‘In time, the distinction between flute and water, bamboo and breeze vanished, and all that remained was the flow of the notes—a melody that belonged to streams and rivers, outside and beyond history, beyond the scourge of contending armies, beyond the stench of camps and shantytowns housing the displaced and exiled. Beyond the madness.

You can read a review of Violin Lessons published in the Canberra Times. Arnold tells me that: ‘one thing I would add to that quote from the Canberra Times article is that the difference between ordinary and extraordinary for the story teller is often dependent on the intensity of our listening. Seemingly ordinary people often possess that extra in simple but profound ways.‘

Zable book review in the Canberra Times

Violin Lessons is hitting the bookshops now, so watch out for it or order your copy from Text Publishers.

Arnold is an award winning writer, storyteller, educator, and human rights advocate and a wonderful speaker. I met him at Eltham “World Matters” where he spoke eloquently and passionately about refugees and people who are seeking asylum during his discussion with Susan Metcalfe about her book The Pacific Solution

Arnold Zable’s many books include:

 Jewels and Ashes, (Scribe, 1991) which won five Australian literary awards

Cafe Scheherazade, (Text, 2001)

The Fig Tree, (Text, 2002)

Scraps of Heaven, (Text, 2004)

Sea of Many Returns, (Text, 2008)

Special Event for Members of the NSW Writers’ Centre

Arnold Zable will join NSW Writers’ Centre members for an in conversation event, where he will talk about his life and his work. Arnold comes to the Writers’ Centre via the Writing Australia 2011 touring program and will be in conversation with Rebecca Giggs.

The event is part of the NSW Writers’ Centre Free Member Events.

Arnold Zable and Rebecca Giggs in Conversation at the NSW Writers’ Centre Members Only night on Monday 26 September, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

An event not to be missed.

RSVP to events@nswwc.org.au with your name and member number to attend.

May 4, 2011

Southerly India Issue

The long awaited India issue of Southerly is now out!

You may have already heard but in case you haven’t, there is a special India issue of Southerly this month.

 Meenakshi Bharat and I have an essay Tackling the Topic of Terrorism  published in the India issue of Southerly, where we discuss the process of editing and publishing the anthology of stories from Australia and the Indian subcontinent, Fear Factor Terror Incognito.

The special India issue features  poetry by Temsula Ao, fiction by Michelle Cahill and Ali Alizadeh reviews books by Barry Scott and Kerry Leves.

It’s an excellent issue and a great read.

Subscription to Southerly

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