Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

June 16, 2012

‘Alien Shores’ launched

Huge thanks to all who participated in our successful launch of Alien Shores.

We managed not one but four launches for Alien Shores: Tales of Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

Edited by Meenakshi Bharat and Sharon Rundle this volume features stories from Australia and the Indian subcontinent by Linda Jaivin, Arnold Zable, Amitav Ghosh, Susanne Gervay, Jamil Ahmad, Sophie Masson, Deepa Agarwal, Michelle Cahill, Joginder Paul, Ali Alizadeh, Tabish Khair, Abdul Karim Hekmat, Anu Kumar, Andrew Y M Kwong, Bijoya Sawian, Julia Mackay-Koelen, Sujata Sankranti, Sharon Rundle and Meenakshi Bharat; with a foreword by Rosie Scott.

The collection of stories is a transnational publication to bring stories from India to Australia and from Australia to India. In our brief to the authors, Meenakshi and I asked that the stories be fictional, original and not play the blame game; but reveal the deeper complexities of the lives of refugees and asylum seekers from many different perspectives. The authors responded to our brief by imaginatively showing the effect on people in their daily lives. These diverse, creative and imaginative stories cover some surprising territory. Each story is different and unique. This means that we have included stories that portray refugees in a less kindly light, stories with no happy endings, stories that are deeply moving and stories that inspire with their courage and hope, warmth and humour.

In Sydney, Alien Shores was launched on May 20 by Mr Amit Dasgupta, Consul-General of India, Sydney, at a stellar event sponsored by the Hughenden Hotel. Finding a person to launch a book is never a problem. The real achievement lies in having someone who has not only read the book but one who brings a unique understanding to it.

In releasing Alien Shores, the Consul-General of India, Sydney, Mr Amit Dasgupta addressed the audience in a way that showed compassion and understanding. He acknowledged the gravity of a world with a moving mosaic of refugees. He spoke of the need for us to show humanity and of how easily any one of us could be thrust into similar situations.  The Consul-General spoke with warmth, generosity and humour.

Photo of the Consul-General of India taken by Raihana Hekmat

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Roanna Gonsalves, our MC, made sure that the launch was beautifully paced. Editors Meenakshi Bharat and Sharon Rundle spoke about discovering the theme and collaborating to bring these stories from Australia and the Indian subcontinent together in a transnational collection. Linda Jaivin, Andrew Y M Kwong, Abdul Hekmat, Michelle Cahill, Susanne Gervay and Rosie Scott, who have given such support for Alien Shores, came along and read from their stories; and afterwards happily signed books at our tea party. Authors in the audience included David Malouf, Devika Brendon, Patti Miller, Libby Sommer, Mabel Lee, Jacquie Everitt, as well as film and theatre producers Ana Tiwari, Neel Banerjee and Devaki Monani from SBS Hindi Radio.

 Readings Bookstore hosted the launch of Alien Shores in Melbourne on May 21.

Julian Burnside QC gave a moving and eloquent speech to launch ‘Alien Shores’. Arnold Zable read briefly from his story in ‘The Dust of Life’, followed by author and poet Ali Alizadeh who spoke about the unique perspective of his story before treating the audience to a short reading from ‘The Ogre’.  Sharon and Meenakshi revealed more about publishing the collection of stories. Publisher Kabita Dhara, spoke about Brass Monkey Books and Alien Shores. Authors Jen McVeity, Hazel Edwards, Meredith Costain, Paul Collins, Rose Inserra, illustrator Marjory Gardner joined us to celebrate the release of Alien shores.

After toasting Alien Shores with a glass of bubbly, Meenakshi and I moved on to Lygon Street to a birthday dinner for Paul Collins with Susanne Gervay, Jen McVeity, Hazel Edwards, Meredith Costain, Rose Inserra, illustrator Marjory Gardner and Edwin Wandha where we consumed some delish pasta and a few more bubbles.

Gosford Library Services held a Preview Launch on May 18 at their Erina Library on the NSW Central Coast.

        

Guest of Honour, Deb O’Neill, Federal MP, gave an impassioned speech about the theme of the book. Her deep understanding and recognition of the purpose of the book and the individual stories within, as she launched the volume had the audience spellbound. Andrew Y M Kwong, Michelle Cahill, Julia Mackay-Koelen attended the launch. Editors Sharon Rundle and Meenakshi Bharat talked about the value of reading the stories by authors from India and Australia in Alien Shores. John Caska, acted as MC to introduce the guest speakers.

 Gloucester Writers’ Festival launched Alien Shores during their warm and friendly lunch time event.

The festival featured writers Michael Wilding, Lisa Heidke, Lisa Walker and Susanne Gervay who was keynote speaker. Andrew Y M Kwong and Sharon Rundle read from their stories. Sharon spoke about the genesis of the book and Susanne gripped the audience with her story of her refugee background.

 

 Alien Shorespresents nineteen remarkable stories from acclaimed writers based in Australia and the Indian Subcontinent, which ruminate on the lives of refugees and asylum seekers all over the world. Powerful, poignant and sometimes funny, they tell the tales of brave people who, at great peril to their own safety, seek out a new life in a new land.

Alien Shores is available in all good book stores, including the Coop Bookshop, Berkelouw Paddington, Abbeys, Dymocks, Gleebooks, QBD.

 Alien Shores is published by Brass Monkey Books an imprint of Hunter Publishers.

 brassmonkey@hunterpublishers.com.au

 for any enquiries

 

ALIEN SHORES IS AVAILABLE FROM MAY 2012 FROM UNITED BOOK DISTRIBUTORS

 

 Brass Monkey Books Australia

Editors: Meenakshi Bharat and Sharon Rundle (Eds)

Publish Date: May 2012

ISBN-13:9780980863932

ISBN-10:0980863937

Origin:Australia

Imprint:Hunter Publishers

Publisher:U.Q.P.

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February 7, 2012

“Alien Shores”, the stories that Geoffrey Rush is calling for.

English: Geoffrey Rush at the 2011 Cannes film...

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Alien Shores – Tales of refugees and asylum seekers from Australia and the Indian subcontinent

edited by Sharon Rundle and Meenakshi Bharat.

Geoffrey Rush, in his speech as Australian of the Year 2012, put out a call to the writers of Australia, saying that he wanted to see the “stories of people wanting to come here at great peril to their lives, with such extraordinary bravery”, adding that: “we’re not finding that human scale in the story and I think it’d be good if we did.

Alien Shores is exactly what Geoffrey Rush is calling for. A book ahead of its time, it has stories about refugees and asylum seekers from Linda Jaivin, Arnold Zable, Amitav Ghosh, Sophie Masson, Jamil Ahmad, Ali Alizadeh, Sujata Sankranti, Abdul Karim Hekmat, Anu Kumar, Susanne Gervay, Deepa Agarwal, Michelle Cahill, Tabish Khair, Joginder Paul, Andrew Y M Kwong, Bijoya Sawian, JuliaMackay-Koelen, Sharon Rundle and Meenakshi Bharat.

Rosie Scott in her foreword, writes: ‘It is the writer’s act of imagination which is the basis of all good fiction, the kind of fiction that opens new worlds to the reader. The power of literature to move people, allow us to see into one another’s hearts, to foster compassion and understanding and inspire political action works in a way that almost nothing else does. This anthology “Alien Shores” edited by Sharon Rundle and Meenakshi Bharat, following on from the success of their first anthology “Fear Factor Terror Incognito” does just that. In this unique collaboration between Indian and Australian writers these stories describe the experiences of refugees in powerful and poignant detail.

Meenakshi Bharat, Rosie Scott and Sharon Rundle

 Co-editor Meenakshi Bharat will be visiting Sydney from New Delhi for the launch of Alien Shores at the Hughenden Hotel in Woollahra on May 20, 2012. Many of our authors also plan to join us for the launch.

Contact: Sharon.P.Rundle@alumni.uts.edu.au for details.

Meenakshi is also speaking at Sydney University ‘Scenes of Reading: Is Australian Literature a World Literature?’ symposium (26th May) and at Wollongong University on 23rd May and the UTS Centre for New Writing.

Alien Shores, Eds. Meenakshi Bharat and Sharon Rundle

published Brass Monkey Books (May 2012)

ISBN: 9780980863932.

RRP: $24.95

http://www.penguin.com.au/browse/by-publisher/uqp

Alien Shores will be available from the Penguin Books website and all good book shops, so you can order your copy now or copies can be ordered from United Book Distributors (UBD)

Phone: (03) 9811 2555 Fax: (03) 9811 2403 Email: orders@unitedbookdistributors.com.au

English: Still image from the documentary film...

Image via Wikipedia

  • Map showing origin countries of refugees /asyl...

    Image via Wikipedia

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.

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