January 13, 2017
Tags: events, hotels, immersive travel, literary travel, travel purist, travel to Asia, travelpurist.com
April 15, 2015
Tags: All, amu Ramanathan, Annie Zaidi, Bandra, Bina Sarkar Ellias, Bombay, Deepak Rao, Harper Collins Publishing India, India, Janhavi Acharekar, Mumbai, Only Connect: short fiction, Tidal Waves Bookstore, Wanderers
Janhavi Acharekar has released her latest novel “Wanderers, All”, published by Harper Collins India. Wanderers, All will be launched on Friday 17th April, with a panel discussion on the city of Bombay.
Congratulations, Janhavi, this is tremendous news and very exciting for those of us who already enjoy reading your stories.
Do join Janhavi in conversation with Ramu Ramanathan, Deepak Rao, Bina Sarkar Ellias and Annie Zaidi
at Title Waves bookstore in Bandra
on the 17th of April at 7 pm.
An experimental novel that blurs the boundaries between historical fiction, memoir and travelogue, Wanderers, All is the story of Murlidhar Khedekar whose life plays out against the birth of a new nation in the first half of the twentieth century.
Having migrated to Bombay from a small Konkan village, a young Khedekar attempts to find a place in the vibrant Marathi theatre scene of that era. When he fails to realize his ambitions as an actor, he gradually transitions from a clerk to a wrestler and eventually, a cop in the Bombay City Police.
Providing a sharp – and often amusing – contrast to his life story is the travelogue of his great granddaughter, who sets out on a solo road trip across the Goan coastline, wandering across its beaches, parties and villages.
Seamlessly alternating between two eras, and across Portuguese and British rule in India, ‘Wanderers, All’ throws up questions of divided loyalty, belonging and ownership, of borders between humans and countries. Combining elements of theatre, travel and politics, it is a novel about the journeys we embark on – the purposeful and the aimless.
“Wanderers, All” can be purchased through Amazon at: http://goo.gl/PSCFrf
In addition, to assist you, Janhvi’s website has ‘buy now’ buttons for all her books, including the Fear Factor and Only Connect anthologies at http://www.janhavistories.com/index.html
August 2, 2014
Tags: Anita Heiss, Annie Zaidi, Anu Kumar, Bem le Hunte, Brass Monkey Books, Chandani Lokuge, Devika Brendon, Felicity Pulman, Janhavi Acharekar, Julia Mackay-Koelen, Kiran Nagarkar, Malik Sajad, Manisha Jolie Amin, Meenakshi Bharat, Neelum Saran Gour, Only Connect, Only Connect short fiction about Technology and Us, Roanna Gonsalves, Rupa, Rupa Publications, Rupa The House of Best Sellers, Sharon Rundle, Sharon Rundle Endorsement, Sophie Masson, Sujata Sankranti, Sunil Badami, Susanne Gervay, Tabish Khair, Technology, Yasmine Gooneratne
Rupa – The House of Best sellers in India
Only Connect: short fiction about Technology and Us
Congratulations to all of our authors!
Cover design and photography by Pallavi Agarwala
ONLY CONNECT!: SHORT FICTION ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AND US
FROM THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT AND AUSTRALIA
Endorsement on back cover by Tabish Khair.
“We live in a world where battles are fought in cyberspace, relationships are forged through voice-over-IP, and declarations of love are made through speedy text messages. Pertinently then, the stories in Only Connect weigh the deep impact of technology on our lives, relationships, and the ways in which we perceive each other and ourselves.
While Meenakshi Bharat’s ‘B Wid U Soon’ shows how, despite the distance between them, technology helps a couple share the birth of their baby, Janhavi Acharekar’s ‘Sneha, 25’ highlights the hoax of digital ties as a young girl is conned by a cyber-lover. The sinister face of technology is alarmingly demonstrated by Malik Sajad’s graphic tale, ‘Facebooked’, Chandani Lokugé’s ‘Trial by Media’, and Kiran Nagarkar’s ‘The Race for Arms’. Technology changes the language we speak, as dramatized in Neelum Saran Gour’s ‘A Software Sonata’. It colours our perception of lived experience, as shown by Sharon Rundle in ‘Fugue for Guinea Pigs’. And, in fact, technology even irrevocably changes the way we connect with art as Yasmine Gooneratne describes in ‘Barry Meets His Muse’.
A collection of twenty riveting stories, Only Connect traces this brave new world we have come to inherit.”
Janhavi Acharekar, Manisha Jolie Amin, Sunil Badami, Meenakshi Bharat, Devika Brendon, Susanne Gervay, Roanna Gonsalves, Yasmine Gooneratne, Anita Heiss, Bem Le Hunte, Anu Kumar, Chandani Lokugé, Julia Mackay-Koelen, Sophie Masson, Kiran Nagarkar, Felicity Pulman, Sharon Rundle, Malik Sajad, Sujata Sankranti, Neelum Saran Gourr, Annie Zaidi
Meenakshi Bharat, University of Delhi, is a writer, translator, reviewer and critic. Some of her published books are: The Ultimate Colony: The Child in Postcolonial Fiction; Rushdie the Novelist; and two volumes of Indo-Australian short fiction entitled Fear Factor: Terror Incognito and Alien Shores: Tales of Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
Sharon Rundle is Chair of the University of Technology Sydney Writers’ Alumni; has served on the Board of Directors of the NSW Writers’ Centre; and is a founding member of Asia Pacific Writers and Translators. She coedited Alien Shores and Fear Factor.
“Only Connect!” Reviews in:
My City Book Reviews, New Delhi, Saturday Nov 1, 2014
A mention of “Only Connect!” in The Hindu
Sydney Launch of “Only Connect!” was covered by Paul McKenzie at the Indian Telegraph, May 2014, Page 36.
Australian edition of Only Connect: Short fiction about Technology and Us (April, 2014) by Brass Monkey Books
Our previous anthologies are: Alien Shores
More at Roundtablewriting.com
April 22, 2014
Tags: Anita Heiss, Annie Zaidi, Anu Kumar, Brass Monkey Books, Chandani Lokuge, Devika Brendon, Felicity Pulman, Indo-Aus anthology, Janhavi Acharekar, Julia Mackay-Koelen, Kabita Dhara, Kiran Nagarkar, Malik Sajad, Manisha Jolie Amin, Meenakshi Bharat, Mridula Koshy, Neelum Saran Gour, Roanna Gonsalves, Sharon Rundle, Short stories, Sophie Masson, South Asian-Australian writing, Sujata Sankranti, Sunil Badami, Susanne Gervay, Yasmine Gooneratne
has just been released and is in book shops now!
Thank you to all our authors from Australia and the Indian subcontinent who have contributed to this exciting volume of stories that include crime, mystery, murder, deceit, missed connections, relationships, romance and humour. Truly a wide range of responses to our theme of ‘technology and us’.
Published by Brass Monkey Books and available from book shops including Dymocks Melbourne, Readings, Dymocks Erina Fair Central Coast, UTS Co op Bookshop and Lesley McKay Woollahra (who provided books for the launch), among others.
Kerry Goldsworthy reviews Only Connect in the Sydney Morning Herald, Spectrum Books, In Short Fiction page.
Salma Shah reviews Only Connect in Indian Link, June 2014.
The launch held at The Hughenden Boutique Hotel in Woollahra on March 31
It was lovely to see so many of our authors at the launch. Thanks to Felicity Pulman, Julia Mackay-Koelen, Bem Le Hunte, Manisha Jolie Amin, Devika Brendon, Susanne Gervay, Roanna Gonsalves and our publisher Kabita Dhara at Brass Monkey Books for joining us in celebrating the release of our book of stories. Many thanks to our authors from the Subcontinent who sent best wishes and promises to be at the launch in spirit if not in body.
My sincere and heartfelt thanks to Co-Editor, Meenakshi Bharat, who is the better half of our editing partnership and who longed to be with us in person but this time it was not to be. Meenakshi now has all the photos and a sound recording from the launch.
Sunil Badami, author and ABC radio presenter, bon vivant, raconteur, flaneur, did us the great honour of launching the book with a rousing and humorous speech that had us all spellbound. Sunil generously read from the stories of our contributing authors as he spoke about the significance of Only Connect. Sunil’s story ‘Leftovers’ is one of the highlights of the volume. While it may be unusual for one of the contributing authors to launch the book, we really could think of no-one better than Sunil.
After enjoying Sunil’s speech and toasting to the success of Only Connect: short fiction about Technology and Us, we continued to party and celebrate its release. I know I had a marvellous time chatting to the authors, publisher and guests.
My heartfelt thanks to all at the Hughenden Hotel for sponsoring the launch and thanks especially to Jamie and to Ryan Power who gave so generously of their time to set it all up; and to Deidre Stein who designed the poster, invitations and champagne vouchers for our launch. All the Hughenden staff went out of their way to take care of guests who attended the launch and those who stayed at the hotel for the weekend. We all noticed and appreciated it. And last but not least thanks to Vincent’s Bar and Restaurant for providing the champagne and for welcoming our guests who booked for lunch.
SBS Hindi Kumud Merani interviews Meenakshi Bharat and Sharon Rundle about Only Connect: Short Fiction about Technology and Us.
For more information, please see the Brass Monkey Books Press Release:
March 15, 2014
Tags: Adelaide, Brisbane book launch, God's Donkey, Helen Mahoney, India, Indian Association for the Study of Australia, Jennifer Byrne, Kerala, Mithra, Peter Gale, Queensland Parliament, Sharon Rundle, Sister Mary Theodore, Sister Theodore, South Australia, University of Adelaide, Wakefield Press
by Peter Gale
The true story of Sister Mary Theodore OAM and Mithra
was launched in Brisbane by Jennifer Byrne
The speech from Qld Parliament following the launch (reproduced here with authorisation from Peter Gale).
Ms TRAD (South Brisbane-ALP) (9.07 pm): I rise to speak this evening in order to acknowledge a woman of great strengths, Sister Mary Theodore. Born on Brisbane’s south side, Sister Theodore was one of eight children in a Lebanese family. At just 17 years of age she had already chosen what path she would take in life and by the time she was 24, Sister Theodore completed her training with the church and was immediately posted to India. For over 60 years this was her home and it was where she founded Mithra, an organisation in the city of Chennai that is dedicated to educating and rehabilitating children with a disability, particularly those from the poorest sections of the community.
With all that she did, Sister Theodore had a funny way of describing her work. She would commonly refer to herself as ‘God’s donkey’. She would say, ‘That animal is me. That donkey knows how to serve. It was a donkey that carried Christ into Jerusalem. It is a simple creature but it knows when to resist and when to dig in its toes and be stubborn and fight.’
Dr Peter Gale at the University of South Australia has published a biographical account of Sister Theodore’s life and has appropriately titled it God’s Donkey. On 9 February I attended the book launch, which was presided over by Jennifer Byrne. By learning about why she chose that life-by understanding all that she did under such challenging circumstances-I am of the view that Sister Theodore’s story proved this simple point: just because you come from somewhere small like Brisbane does not mean you cannot achieve big things.
Sister Theodore strengthened Australia’s ties with some of India’s most vulnerable by creating an exchange program that brought Australian students to Mithra so they could help provide a helping hand. She strengthened these ties that bind us by proving to those children that we see them, that we care for them and that we have not forgotten about them when so many others have, and they loved her for that.
She was not Sister Theodore to them, she was ‘Mother’. It is people like her who give us heart. On 7 December 2012 she passed away after 86 years. ‘The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.’ Sister Theodore may no longer be with us, but we remember her in this book, in this world and in this place. She will forever be engrained in our past, and whether it is through the people that she helped and loved in Chennai, and particularly in Mithra, or those she inspired in South Brisbane, the work and vision of Sister Theodore will carry on into the future, and that is for certain.
God’s Donkey was also launched on 15th January 2014 at 11.00am in the Divine Mercy Auditorium, Don Alberione Center, Mithra Campus.
God’s Donkey is published by Wakefield Press and available at http://www.wakefieldpress.com.au/product.php?productid=1150&cat=0&page=&featured=Y
I was fortunate enough to be at the Indian Association for the Study of Australia Conference in Kerala, India, where Peter Gale spoke about Sister Theodore and Mithra.
I hear the book is selling well, so be sure to order your copy from Wakefield Press; or ask for it in your local bookshop.
March 8, 2014
Tags: Children's picture book, God's Donkey, Jennifer Byrne; 60 Minutes;, Meenakshi Bharat, National Book Trust, New book releases, Peter Gale, Sharon Rundle, Sister Mary Theodore, The Little Elephant Throws a Party, Wakefield Press
The first is a picture book for children by my friend and colleague Meenakshi Bharat
Published by National Book Trust: New Delhi, 2014.
was released in February at the World Book Fair.
The Little Elephant Throws a Party is a based on a fable which is given a new twist and a surprise ending when a very happy little elephant receives the best birthday present he could wish for. The illustrations by Debabrata Ghosh are a delight, created with a whimsical touch, they cannot help but bring smiles and chuckles as they depict the antics and facial expressions of the animals. A gorgeous book and a must-read for bedtime stories.
See below for where to buy your copy of this very special beautifully illustrated picture book. Postage is free in India. For Australians, postage fee depends on the number of books ordered, so please inquire when placing your order:
Mayank Surolia, Assistant Director (NRO), National Book Trust,India
5 Institutional Area, Vasant kunj, New Delhi 110070. Tel: 011-26707873. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Peter Gale
The true story of Sister Mary Theodore OAM and Mithra.
Sister Mary Theodore established Mithra in 1977, in Chennai, India. Sister Theodore ‘commonly referred to herself as God’s donkey, doing God’s work in India’.
Mithra provides care and rehabilitation for disabled children “without distinction for religion, caste, creed, community, sex and financial or social status”.
Many of you would have seen Sister Mary Theodore (from Brisbane, Queensland) on Australian television speaking about her work with the children. She was interviewed by Jennifer Byrne who travelled to Mithra to do a 60 Minutes Report.
Peter Gale met Sister Mary Theodore in 2005. He made many more visits to Mithra witnessing how children were given back their lives and sense of dignity.
John McCarthy, Australian High Commissioner to India from 2004-2009, says that ‘Australians are in one sense the heirs of Sister Mary Theodore. The others are the children of Mithra’.
You will be moved and in awe of Sister Mary Theodore’s determination and dedication to these children.
“Many people say that doing anything in India is a challenge. To take on the challenge of starting a home and rehabilitation centre for disabled children without land and funds was something that most people would say was not possible. For Sister Mary Theodore, an Australian citizen living in India it was an even greater challenge. Sister Theodore did not speak Tamil and had no experience of buying land, starting a business, working with Government, constructing buildings, or raising the funds to build them. However, while most concluded that it was an impossible dream, Sister Mary Theodore’s response was, ‘you just do it!’
Sister Theodore received an OAM in 1991 for her work with disabled children and the Asialink Weary Dunlop Medal in 2006 for services to Asia by an Australian.
Stories and images told ‘through many different eyes and ears’ form the narrative of this unique, uplifting and absorbing tale.
Published by Wakefield Press and available at http://www.wakefieldpress.com.au/product.php?productid=1150&cat=0&page=&featured=Y
August 17, 2013
Tags: Amit Sarwal, Ana Tiwary, Australia, Australia-India Council, Critical Perspectives on Gender and Migration, Diasporic media, Dr Devaki Monani, Dr Sukhmani Khorana (Chair), film beyond Bollywood, Gondwanalandings, India, Indian Australian, Indian-Australian Literature in the Asian Century, Jasmeet Kaur Sahi, Michelle Linder., Roanna Gonsalves, September 2013, Sharon Rundle, State Library of Victoria, University of Melbourne
26 September 2013 6:00 pm to 27 September 2013 8:15 pm
University of Melbourne and State Library of Victoria
Conference Organisers: Dr Sukhmani Khorana (Chair), Roanna Gonsalves, Ana Tiwary, Dr Devaki Monani
Postgraduate Travel Funding Sponsor: Australia India Council
Gondwanalandings Event Program
On 27th September at 11:15 at the State Library of Victoria, I am very excited to be presenting on the Panel: Telling and Selling Indian Australian Stories, with Jasmeet Kaur Sahi, Amit Sarwal and Michelle Linder. Moderator is Sukhmani Khorana.
This conference is expected to play a key role in generating a framework for cultural understanding between India and Australia that capitalises on the strengths of the vibrant Indian diaspora in Australia, and addresses the following goals:
1. Mapping the history of Indian-Australians, and bringing the social-cultural as well as political issues faced by the vast array of people of Indian origin living in Australia to the discussion table.
2. Showcasing Indian-Australian artistic talent and facilitating arts policy to include more Indian-Australian voices in the mainstream.
3. Sharing research and stories that shed light on the benefits of inter-cultural dialogue, and hurdles encountered in facilitating the same.
Plenaries and panels cover critical, community and creative perspectives. The event will also cover themes related to Critical Perspectives on Gender and Migration, Indian-Australian Literature in the Asian Century and Diasporic media and film beyond Bollywood.
For more information on the symposium lead up, including background information on the project, click here.
January 26, 2013
Tags: A House for Mr Biswas, Alien Shores, Alien Shores Tales of Refugees and Asylum Seekers, Cameron Fae Bushnell; Debaditya Bhattacharya; Florence Lebaune-Demeule; Gillian Dooley; Gregory Wilson; Harish Trivedi; John Thieme; Meenakshi Bharat; Meenakshi Mukherjee; Neil ten Kortenaar; Ratna Ra, critical perspectives, Fear Factor - Terror Incognito, I, Indian literature, Meenakshi Bharat, Pencraft International, University of Delhi, V S Naipaul
Happy Australia Day!
and to friends in India, Happy Republic Day!
I am very excited about the announcement of the release of a book edited by my co-editor, colleague and dear friend, Dr Meenakshi Bharat.
This collection is essential reading for those studying and researching Indian literature, postcolonial literary theory and transnational fiction. While this book is of particular interest to those who enjoy his work, it is also a fascinating introduction for those who haven’t yet read V S Naipaul.
Meenakshi is Associate Professor at Sri Venkateswara College at the University of Delhi; an executive on the committee of the Indian Association for the Study of Australia; an author and editor. She has presented at conferences, seminars and symposia around the world, including Sydney University, University of Technology Sydney, Wollongong University.
A House for Mr Biswas: Critical Perspectives
This volume revisits V.S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr Biswas about 50 years after its first publication in the year 1961, and critiques what constitutes its abiding appeal. Fourteen leading scholars from across the globe posit seminal critical responses to this now nearly an iconic novel, noticing the deep focus it wields with consummate artistry on the seemingly trivial but arresting aspirations of a third-world journalist. They also revaluate issues and concerns such as the autobiographical mode of writing, the play of metaphor or metonymy, and the role of the theories of creolization vis-à-vis this text. Each of the essays looks at the novel closely and each from an inimitably distinctive point of view. Together they make for an invaluable collection of fresh insights into Biswasdom and Naipaulia.
Contributors: Cameron Fae Bushnell; Debaditya Bhattacharya; Florence Lebaune-Demeule; Gillian Dooley; Gregory Wilson; Harish Trivedi; John Thieme; Meenakshi Bharat; Meenakshi Mukherjee; Neil ten Kortenaar; Ratna Raman; Savi Munjal; Vijay Mishra; Vijay Maharaj
Meenakshi Bharat teaches in Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi. She is a writer, translator, reviewer and critic. Her special interests include children’s literature, women’s fiction and English studies — areas which she has extensively researched. She was responsible for the India section in The Cambridge Book of Children’s Literature. Apart from the various articles and reviews, her published books are: The Ultimate Colony (2003), Desert in Bloom: Indian Women Writers of Fiction in English (2004), Filming the Line of Control (2008), Rushdie the Novelist (2009), an edition of George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, two volumes of Indo-Australian short fiction entitled Fear Factor: Terror Incognito, ed from Picador (India 2009, Australia, 2010) and Alien Shores, from Brass Monkey Books (Australia, 2012). A children’s book, Little Elephant throws a Party is in the press.
ISBN: 978-93-82178-02-6 Rs. 650
Introduction: A New House for Mr Biswas
1. Looking for Mr Biswas
2. The Many Houses of Mr Naipaul
3. Plantation Culture, Naipaul and the House
4. Mr Biswas: Paragon of Creole Virtues
5. Foundational Acts: Enunciating a West Indian Literary
Tradition in Naipaul’s Mr Biswas
Cameron Fae Bushnell
6. Colonial Maladies, Postcolonial Cures
7. Interstitial Conundrums: Understanding
Liminality in A House for Mr Biswas
8. A Father Among Many Others: Re-reading
A House for Mr Biswas
9. Narrative Displacement: Constructing Mohun Biswas’s
House of Fiction
10. ‘Mr Biswas Finds a Home in the World on Paper’
Neil ten Kortenaar
11. ‘His own Portion of the Earth’: The Rhetoric of
Alienation and Separation in Naipaul’s
A House for Mr Biswas
Text and Texts
12. Looking Back in Anger: The Transformation of
Childhood Memories in two West Indian Novels
13. The House and the Road: Two Modes of
14. No House for Shama Biswas
This book is a worthwhile addition to any library. Please pass the word and ask your library acquisitions officer to add it to your library.
November 27, 2012
Tags: Allen & Unwin fiction, Arts, Dancing to the Flute, fiction. India, Good Reads, Gujurat, Manisha Jolie Amin, Novel, Raga, Ravi Shankar
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.
“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.
- The life, music and dreams of an Indian street kid (gcbooks.wordpress.com)
- DE – Raga CDs of the Months (10/12): “NATYA – the relevance of Ragas for Indian Dance & Theatre” (part 1,2) (imcradiodotnet.wordpress.com)