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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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

October 20, 2010

World Matters ~ Writers Disturbing the Peace

 

Diamond Valley Oxfam, Montsalvat and ELTHAMbookshop

With Nillumbik Shire Council

Present The 6th Annual 

World Matters 2010 Writers – Disturbing the Peace

Dates: October 27 & 30-31

Venue: Montsalvat, Hillcrest Avenue, Eltham 

An International and Regional Programme featuring: Fear Factor Terror Incognito Indo-Australian Authors’ Anthology Panel, chaired by Sharon Rundle, with excerpts of short stories from a unique Indo–Australian collaboration, edited by Sharon Rundle and Meenakshi Bharat, which includes David Malouf, Salman Rushdie, Kiran NagarkarTabish Khair, Neelum Saran Gour,  Janhavi Acharekar, Temsula AoThomas Keneally Andrew Y M Kwong, Rosie Scott,   Meera KantSujata Sankranti, Guy Scotton, Jaspreet Singh, Denise Leith, Gulzar, and Yasmine Gooneratne.

 Readings will be followed by an in-depth discussion, by authors Susanne Gervay, Devika Brendon, Jeremy Fisher and Meenakshi Bharat from Delhi of the issues raised. Book signings will follow the panel discussion and questions.

We invite you to join us.

Susanne Gervay says: please say hello to Sharon, Meenakshi and me at the Festival

Fear Factor Terror Incognito ~ Stories from India and Australia
 

 Also on the Programme: Titi Amaral and Jude Conway’s audio visual narrative of East Timor Women’s brave stories of resistance and survival from the anthology Step by Step, this is Supported by East Timor Women Australia and an Exhibition and sales of East Timor textiles in the Resident Artist’s Gallery; and Ouyang Yu, The English Class, Roger Averill, Keeping Faith, Jane Carswell Under the Huang Jia Tree: Two Journeys in China through story and memoir, transit lounge us across cultures of China, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

There is so much more to World Matters 2010 Writers – Disturbing the Peace, for bookings and the full exciting programme at magical Montsalvat

 Books and CDs will be available for sale and signing. A 10% discount for purchase of 5 books or more. Reading the books beforehand will ensure a lively and informed discussion during Q and A.

 Prepaid bookings for World Matters are essential at

ELTHAMbookshop@bigpond.com

970 Main Road, Eltham

Phone +61 3 9439 8700

 October 27

Here on Earth: A Sustainable Future with Tim Flannery $10.00

 October 30 – 31

Festival Pass: $45.00 ( Does not include Tim Flannery event) Early Bird Bookings: $35.00 (bookings by October 20th)

Students: $25.00 Each session: $7.00 (unless otherwise stated)

 October 31

6.30pm – 7.30pm Duende Concert with Joe Chindamo: $15.00

 The Meeting Pool at Montsalvat offers the World Matters audience a very special menu to sustain you through the two days.

Bookings for breakfast, lunch and dinner must be made with Andrew Proctor by October 27th at 9431 2681

catering@montsalvat.com.au.

Join us for an exciting and stimulating weekend of literary brilliance! 

Book now  for the World Matters Festival, details on the websites and programme.

Please pass the word wherever you can, here are some additional websites:

Montsalvat: a Weekend of Literary Brilliance

the Asia-Pacific Writing Partnership

World Matters ~ Writers Disturbing the Peace Full Programme (pdf)

ABC The Big Diary

 

February 3, 2010

Indian Association for the Study of Australia (IASA) Goa 2010 Conference

Beach at Goa on the Arabian Sea

Beach at Goa on the Arabian Sea January 2010

International Centre Goa, venue for the IASA Goa 2010 Conference and our accommodation during the conference.

The lush green countryside in Goa with its ubiquitous and essential palm trees, the golden sandy beaches on the Arabian Sea, the busy town of Donna Paula, a river cruise, nights lit up by fairy lights, lots of singing and dancing formed the backdrop for the IASA conference.

The warm and delightful Aruna from University of Adelaide in Goa.

The best part of the conference was meeting so many people from all states of India and Australia. I enjoyed such stimulating conversations about every topic imaginable; exchanged information and ideas; and became better acquainted with other participants in India and Australia, which was without a doubt the highlight of the five-day conference for me.

Makarand Paranjape, who chaired and presented at the conference. He is author of "Sacred Australia" which is in the National Library of Australia. Publisher : Clouds of Magellan

Reema Sarwal co-editor of Reading Down Under: Australian Literary Studies Reader. Edited by Amit Sarwal and Reema Sarwal http://www.s3publications.com

I was extremely impressed by the diversity of the topics in the
presentations that connect India and Australia, as well as by the depth of
knowledge
of Australia and Australian literature both past and contemporary by those  who presented the best papers.


At the Inaugural Session held at the University of Goa, Professor Santosh K Sareen, President of IASA gave a welcome address, this was followed by an introduction to the conference by Professor Darvesh Gopal, General-Secretary of IASA. Dr Lachlan Strahan, the Australian Deputy High Commissioner for India addressed the audience on behalf of the Australian High Commission about these connections as well as the differences and challenges facing both India and Australia. AIC Board Member, Professor of English at the University of Queensland, author and editor of a number of books on life narrative, Australian literature and Australian Studies, Professor Gillian Whitlock, addr essed the audience on behalf of the Australia India Council (AIC) and told us of developments, plans and goals for the future. We all lamented the news that Professor Bruce Bennett was not able to attend and wish him well.

Dr Nina Caldeira gave a vote of thanks and we then moved on to the Conference Dinner at ‘A Lua’ Lawns, Meces-Goa. Before leaving for the dinner I caught up with Santosh and Darvesh, as well as Heather Neate and Asha Das from the AIC.

With Professor Darvesh Gopal, Secretary-General of IASA and Susanne Gervay, Australian author

Professor Santosh K Sareen, President of IASA

At ‘A Lua’ I surprised myself by dancing under the stars and fairy lights. The very professional person singing turned out to be the talented Dr Yanthan, one of the conference delegates who presented a paper. More very talented and professional performers were among the researchers from the North East of India, Renembo, Mridusmita and Irene. I am not talented at either singing or dancing and was reluctant to display my ineptitude but the company was very persuasive and I ended up having the time of my life, dancing to the fantastic music by the band and the impromptu performers. I discovered that young Indian men can really rock, especially those from the Punjab. I’m told that ‘Punjabi Rocks!’; though those from the North East and Delhi moved just as well to music ranging from Kenny Rodgers to Elvis to Bollywood. Even some of the more courageous professors joined in the dancing. There was no doubt that everyone on the dance floor was having the ‘time of their lives’.


Dr Zuchamo Yanthan, Mridusmita Baruah, me, Susanne and Renembo Odyno

And that was only the first day – more later about my two weeks with authors, editors, academics, friends and colleagues in India—the writing, reading, walks, talks, music, dancing, cinema, sight-seeing, dining, socialising, presenting, discussions and book launches.


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Writing Tip for Today.


Write the music you hear, whether it is in your mind, broadcast on the radio, playing on a CD, music from a film, or even singing. Music can alter one’s mood. Try writing to different styles of music, vary the tempo and beat. It is not writing about the music but the sound – what you hear, where it takes you, how it makes you feel. Write to music regularly and try reaching for the metaphysical.

January 1, 2010

Pre Order your copy of Fear Factor Terror Incognito


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Fear Factor Terror Incognito

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For Pre-orders and special offers!

You can pre-order your Picador Australia copies of

Fear Factor Terror Incognito

an Indo-Aus collection of stories at:

Abbey’s Bookshop

Fishpond

Angus & Robertson

http://www.angusrobertson.com.au/by/bharat/394265/

QBD

Collins Books Featured Book

Co-op Bookshop

From the Picador Australia (Pan Macmillan) webpage: “A unique collaboration between Australia and India, the stories represent these writers’ protests against the phenomenon of modern terror. They do not offer solutions. Instead, they lead readers along the hidden paths of an unfamiliar psychology to make their own discoveries.

A joint publication with Picador UK and Picador India, Fear Factor: Terror Incognito is essential reading for anyone interested the global phenomenon of terror.”

From jagrancityplus:

It is an attempt to ward off fear and restore humanity by reminding the readers about mankind, unity, peace and harmony. It motivates them to uphold humanitarian values and light the fire of anti-terrorism, thereby making the planet safe for the entire human race,” Meenakshi Bharat said. The articles have been contributed by famous authors from Australia and the Indian subcontinent, including David Malouf, Salman Rushdie, Neelum Saran Gour, Tom Keneally, Rosie Scott, Jeremy Fisher, Susanne Gervay, Tabish Khair, Denise Leith, Andrew YM Kwong, Devika Brendon, Gulzar, Meera Kant, Guy Scotton, Sujata Sankranti, Kiran Nargarkar, Temsula Ao, Jaspreet Singh and Janhavi Acharekar; with a foreword by Yasmine Gooneratne. They do not offer solutions; instead they lead readers along hidden paths to make their own discoveries

And …

We made the Wall St Journal! There is news about Rushdie + a mention of the anthology in Tabish Khair’s column in MINT at:

http://www.livemint.com/2010/01/01221827/The-Bollywood-novel.html?h=B

MONTHLY LITERARY COLUMN by Tabish Khair in MINT (Mumbai) & The Wall Street Journal.

Also First City (Monthly) New Delhi

“Fear Factor Terror Incognito” review First City Monthly New Delhi

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Reserve your copy of Fear Factor Terror Incognito today by pre-ordering at any of the above bookstores online or in-store.

December 28, 2009

Rain, reflection and reviews

Compliments of the Season to you

I hope you have enjoyed the holiday season and your celebrations whether Yuletide and Solstice; Christmas and Boxing Day; Hanukkah; Ashura or combinations of the different seasonal events.

We have even had the gift of rain that has washed and replenished this parched land. Listening to the sound of rain on the roof was bliss.

Clean the women’s library, London

My Christmas and Boxing Day were peaceful and shared with friends and family, some through the magic of technology. We were fortunate enough to enjoy lovely food and thoughtful gifts. It was low-key due to the many demands on time and energy throughout the year but relaxed and cheerful. Thanks to all who sent cards, e-cards, calendars, letters and gifts which are all very much appreciated.

Another of the unexpected pleasant surprises over the holiday season has been reading the reviews of the Indo-Aus anthology “Fear Factor Terror Incognito”. For the authors and readers as well as others who may be interested, here they are:

Fear Factor Terror Incognito Reviews

Dainik Jagran

CITYPLUS

JagranCityPlus Central Delhi

December 28 2009

City buzz

Book explains fear factor of terrorism

Addressing the dread of living with unpredictable peril, constant fear and terrorism, Oxford Bookstore  and Picador India hosted last week the launch of the book ‘Fear Factor: Terror Incognito’, a cross-cultural anthology of stories by Indian and Australian authors. The book was launched by Joginder Paul, renowned Urdu writer. It was followed by a panel discussion on escalating terrorism all over the world, in which poet and academician Sukrita Paul Kumar and renowned theatre personality Renu Chopra participated, among others.

The book is edited by Meenakshi Bharat, professor of Venkateshwara College and author of many literary works. “It is an attempt to ward off fear and restore humanity by reminding the readers about mankind, unity, peace and harmony. It motivates them to uphold humanitarian values and light the fire of anti-terrorism, thereby making the planet safe for the entire human race,” Meenakshi Bharat said. The articles have been contributed by famous authors from Australia and the Indian subcontinent, including David Malouf, Salman Rushdie, Neelum Saran Gour, Tom Keneally, Rosie Scott, Jeremy Fisher, Susanne Gervay, Tabish Khair, Denise Leith, Andrew YM Kwong, Devika Brendon, Gulzar, Meera Kant, Guy Scotton, Sujata Sankranti, Kiran Nargarkar, Temsula Ao, Jaspreet Singh and Janhavi Acharekar; with a foreword by Yasmine Gooneratne. They do not offer solutions; instead they lead readers along hidden paths to make their own discoveries.

http://www.jagrancityplus.com/storydetail.aspx?cityid=10&articleid=19045&editionid=117&catgid=6


The Telegraph

Calcutta India

Friday, December 25 , 2009

Paperback Pickings

Walk on the Wild Side

Fear Factor: Terror Incognito (Picador, Rs 295) edited by Meenakshi Bharat and Sharon Rundle brings together stories from two different lands to explore the theme of terrorism. This anthology of short stories also serves another latent purpose. It is a collaborative effort to understand whether the artist responds to these violent times any differently than the layman. The answer, the editors argue, is in the affirmative. An artist — whether an author, a painter or poet, located in India or abroad — often attempts to examine the complex factors that have led men and women to inflict terrible retributions on society. Fear Factor includes contributions by Salman Rushdie (“For Kashmir, for Paradise” taken from Shalimar the Clown), Kiran Nagarkar (“In search of Essar” from God’s Little Soldier) as well as a kitschy story by Gulzar in which a Muslim man, hounded by the fear of death in riot-torn Mumbai, ends up killing a fellow Muslim on a local train.

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1091225/jsp/opinion/story_11904171.jsp

http://www.telegraphindia.com/section/frontpage/index.jsp


Whisper Words by Neha Tara Mehta in New Delhi India mentions "Fear Factor Terror Incognito".

World Wide News

Whisper Words

by Neha Tara Mehta in New Delhi


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Expressbuzz

Monday, December 14, 2009 2:01 PM IST

Indian Express

‘Malayalam media keeps dignity’

Express News Service

First Published : 29 Nov 2009 02:32:29 AM IST

Last Updated :

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Malayalam media has a character of its own and it keeps a certain level of dignity amongst the vernacular media in the country, said Sujata Sankranti, writer and lecturer in English at the Delhi University. She was addressing a meet-the-press programme organised by the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club …

Sujata’s short story ‘’An Eye for an Eye’’ [published in ‘Fear Factor Terror Incognito’] is an excerpt from her forthcoming novel ‘’In the Shadow of Legends’’. Regarding the theme of her novel, Sujata said that an act of terror did not end with the act. Its consequences go beyond the act. She said that her story [in the anthology] was about the consequences of terrorism.

She also read out from her work and said that she was happy to present the story … Sujata had won first prize for her story ‘’The Wrap and the Weft’’ (sic) in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition in 1998.

Comments

Fear Factor-Terror Incognito is an important cross cultural anthology with India and Australia with respected editors Meenakshi Bharat from India and Sharon Rundle from Australia. Meenakshi and Sharon meet many challenges to get this cutting edge anthology published. It is a major achievement to be published in India, Australia and UK by Picador. The stories explore terrorism as it impacts on us all through narrative fiction and includes the wonderful writing of Sujata, Booker Prizes winners to emerging authors with new voices. It was a brave venture that crosses the oceans to unite our region in the commonality of us all, as we face this threat. I was privileged to write my story ‘Days of Thailand’ that sits besides some of the world’s great Indian and Australian authors. Susanne Gervay www.sgervay.com

http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=%E2%80%98Malayalam+media+keeps+dignity%E2%80%99&artid=JiTNt5yu9Bw=

DELHI EVENTS

“Fear Factor: Terror Incognito” a collection of stories, book launch & discussion

http://bit.ly/7r6ktS

When:

12/10/2009 6:30pm-8pm India Standard Time
(12/11/2009 12am local)

Event Details : Oxford Bookstore, New Delhi in association with Picador India is hosting the launch of ‘Fear Factor: Terror Incognito’, a collection of stories to instil humanity, wisdom and ward off fear, written by famous writers like Gulzar, Salman Rushdie, Thomas Keneally to name a few.  Edited by Meenakshi Bharat, Professor of Venkateshwara College, New Delhi and Sharon Rundle, author, the book will be release by eminent Urdu writer Joginder Paul, followed by a panel discussion with famous poet and academician Sukrita Paul Kumar and renowned theatre personality Renu Chopra.

About the book: ‘Fear Factor: Terror Incognito’ is a collection of stories meant as a call for humanity and sanity in response to the fear mongering that goes on today. And, actually, it’s a very firmly light and cheeky collection with a great perspective and sense of humour.

http://www.delhievents.com/2009/12/factor-terror-incognito-collection-of.html

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Today’s Writing Tip

Now that the tension and excitement leading up to the festivities is over and we have a brief respite before ringing in the New Year, it’s time to reflect and draft a piece of writing to work on through the year. Then you’ll have a story, poem, play or article ready to submit by next September for the 2010 Festive Season.

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