Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

April 15, 2015

“Wanderers, All” Latest release by Janhavi Acharekar

janhavi

Janhavi Acharekar Photo credit: Ashima Narain

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.

 

Wanderers, All

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.

 

Invite _wanderers all

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

 

March 15, 2014

God’s Donkey Brisbane Launch

God’s Donkey

by Peter Gale

Gods Donkey Gale Cover

The true story of Sister Mary Theodore OAM and Mithra

 was launched in Brisbane by Jennifer Byrne

Jennifer Byrne, Peter Gale and Sister Theodore's niece, Helen Mahoney at the Brisbane launch.

Jennifer Byrne, Peter Gale and Sister Theodore’s niece, Helen Mahoney at the Brisbane launch.

The speech from Qld Parliament following the launch (reproduced here with authorisation from Peter Gale).

 

Sister Mary Theodore

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.

20140124_133354

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.

August 17, 2013

Gondwanalandings

Do join us for

Gondwanalandings

Voices of the Emerging Indian Diaspora in Australia

2013 Australia India Institute Flagship Event

Gondwanalandings

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.  

July 7, 2013

POETIC CONNECTIONS: AUSTRALIA AND INDIA

A new anthology

 POETIC CONNECTIONS: AUSTRALIA AND INDIA

 edited by Tamaso Lonsdale

 includes Sunil Sharma, Aju Mukhopadhyaya

and   Jaydeep Sarangi

from India.

 It ushers a new horizon of relationship between the nations.

Poetic Connections Cover copy

publisher: cyberwit

Amazon.com Poetic Connections

 

JAYDEEP  SARANGI  IN  CONVERSATION  WITH  ROB HARLE

ROB HARLE 2 on Poetic Connections PDF

Jaydeep Sarangi is an editor, reviewer and poet-academic anchored in Kolkata, India.Widely anthologised as a poet and critic, Sarangi has read his poems and delivered lectures in more than thirty universities / institutes/centres in different shores.

Jaydeep Sarangi is with the Dept. Of  English at Jogesh Chandra ChaudhuriCollege (Calcutta University), India.

September 10, 2012

Australia-India Literatures International Forum a resounding success!

The Australia-India Literatures International Forum held at the State Library of NSW from 4 – 6 September, as promised, generated ‘lively discussions from passionate speakers’.

AILIF was officially opened by the Consul-General of India in Sydney, Mr Arun Kumar Goel and it brought together readers, writers, translators, editors, agents and publishers from Australia and the Indian subcontinent.

Mahmood Farooqui skilfully demonstrated Dastangoi, the revival of the art of telling Dastans or epic stories of adventure, magic and warfare by reciting or reading aloud. Sudesh Mishra and Vijay Mishra explored the creativity of Indians who were brought to sugar cane plantations in Fiji as indentured labour in the late nineteenth-century. Prabodh Parikh presented Art and the Writer: Rabindranath Tagore’s 2000 paintings.

Seven panels over the three days discussed motivation to write; the struggle against injustice and inequality; the importance of local languages and dialects; alienation from land, animals and tradition; storytelling as protest; the important role that writers have in telling the truth; the power of myth and legend in writing and storytelling. Mamang Dai, Inez Baranay, Subhash Jaireth, Girish Karnad, Malcolm Knox, Manisha Jolie Amin, Roanna Gonsalves, Bem Le Hunte, Michelle de Kretser, Suneeta Peres da Costa, N S Madhavan, Uday Prakash, Christopher Raja, Aashish Kaul and Kunal Sharma spoke about crossing borders, a sense of place, dislocation, the home of the imagination, place as a construct, ‘fossilised memory’, ‘rearranged identity’, ‘languages as legitimisation’ and ‘what is Indian anyway’?

Highlights included: gut-wrenching poems by Ali Cobby Eckermann, from her collection little bit long time, which left the audience stunned and lingered on in the mind. Alexis Wright bringing to our attention the importance of ancient lore, the voice of the Elders, temporal rather than linear stories, before reading from Carpentaria. Gogu Shyamala, Dalit feminist and Telangana activist. C S Lakshmi (Ambai), feminist and activist, who revealed her take on the world and her experiences with wit and humour. All of which helped to create a deeper understanding of the challenges regularly encountered.

C S Lakshmi (Ambai) and Gogu Shyamala in Sydney

Award winning poets Judith Beveridge, Michelle Cahill, Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih and Prabodh Parikh spoke about the poetic imagination and treated the audience to their strong and subversive poems.

The final panel session of editors, translators and publishers explained the practical hurdles of publishing books in regional languages and in finding skilled translators; as well as the responsibility of editing and publishing stories in localised variations of english in literature. Kabita Dhara, publisher at Brass Monkey Books Australia, Ivor Indyk from Giramondo Press, Mita Kapur author and CEO of Siyahi, R Sivapriya Managing Editor of Translations and Classics Penguin Books India and Sharon Rundle who has co-edited Indo-Australian books for Picador (Australia, India) and Brass Monkey Books emphasised the importance of publishing transnational writing and translations.

The State Library NSW book shop stocked books by the various speakers, including ‘Alien Shores’ and ‘Fear Factor Terror Incognito’. It was quite a thrill to see them on display there.

“Alien Shores” and “Fear Factor Terror Incognito” in the State Library NSW book shop!

Huge congratulations to the organisers, Mridula Nath Chakraborty and Anthony Uhlmann Director of the University of Western Sydney Writing and research Centre; and the State Library of NSW, for this essential and welcome initiative.

AILIF was supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-India Council and the Australia Council; Copyright Agency Ltd Cultural Fund; Australia India Institute; State Library of NSW; The Taj Foundation.

A full report is published in the current issue of The Indian Herald.

August 22, 2012

Australia India Literatures International Forum September 2012

ALIF Program 2012

Australia-India Literatures International Forum

4th-6th September 2012

State Library of New South Wales

Metcalfe Auditorium.

(entrance via Macquarie Street)

Sydney

© Image shown above Copyright owned by Wikicommons

 

Don’t miss this very special event! This exciting forum will generate lively discussions from passionate speakers. An event of such potential and ambition has not been undertaken in this region before.

The Australia-India Literatures International Forum brings together writers from the

regional literatures of India with indigenous and multicultural writers of Australia.

The Forum will take the form of seven panel sessions and three special

presentations, which are all open to the public to attend.

 

Each panel comprises Australian and Indian delegates, who will make a short presentation each, followed by audience discussion moderated by the Chair.

 

The three special sessions explore the connection of writing

with performance, art and indenture.

Tuesday 4th September

4 pm: Special Presentation:

Dastangoi.

Mahmood Farooqui

The word Dastangoi refers to the art of storytelling; it is a compound of two Persian words Dastan and goi that means to tell a story.

 

Wednesday 5th September

12 noon: Special Presentation:

Travelling languages/evolving cultures across the Pacific Ocean.

Sudesh Mishra and Vijay Mishra

In the late nineteenth-century, Indians were brought to Fiji as indentured labour to work on sugar cane plantations. This

free-flowing conversation explores the subject of indenture/girmitiya and creativity.

4:30 pm: Special Presentation:

Art and the Writer.

Prabodh Parikh:

Rabindranath Tagore’s 2000 paintings

The first non-European Nobel Laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, was also a self-taught artist who started painting at age 67.

Within 15 years, Tagore had completed over 3000 paintings, which have since become part of India’s national treasure.

Forum Panellists include: Alexis Wright, Sharan Kumar Limbale, Gogu Shyamala, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Inez Baranay, Mamang Dai, Bem le Hunte, C S Lakshmi (Ambai), Subhash Jaireth, Nicholas Jose, Girish Karnad, Malcolm Knox, Suneeta Peres da Costa, Michelle de Kretser, N S Madhavan, Uday Prakash, Manisha Jolie Amin, Roanna Gonsalves, Aashish Kaul, Chris Raja and Kunal Sharma, Kabita Dhara, Ivor Indyk, Mita Kapur, R Sivapriya and Sharon Rundle.

 Panel Chairs: Peter Minter, Christopher Cyrill, Vijay Mishra, Paul Sharrad,  Mita Kapur, Pam Newton, Ivor Indyk, Michael Wilding and R Sivapriya.

 Speakers:  Mridula Nath Chakraborty, Anthony Uhlmann Director Writing & Society Research Centre, University of Western Sydney

 

For full program and information on the participating writers,

see our website: http://www.uws.edu.au/india

To purchase tickets to attend any of the Australia-India Literatures

International Forum public events, please go to:

http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/events/events_talks/index.html

or contact the State Library of NSW Bookings line: (02) 9273 1770

or Email: bookings@sl.nsw.gov.au

I look forward to seeing you there,

Sharon

January 4, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

Some friends have had an exciting start to 2012!

Meenakshi, Co-editor of  Alien Shores and Fear Factor Terror Incognito, spotted two young tigers on 23 December during a family holiday at Bandhavgarh in the National Park, Madhya Pradesh, INDIA.

Meenakshi’s photo of one of two young tigers that she spotted.

Alan Scarratt in the UK tells me that his son, Ryan, is in the Norwegian Arctic with Mark Wood who is preparing for his North Pole/South Pole solo attempt and sent a couple of youtube videos. the videos are by Ryan Scarratt and Mark Wood. Mark is the one currently on his way solo to the South and North Poles.

Mark’s company is called “Snowball Expeditions” .  Alan says: “Their website is great and has videos of Ryan playing volleyball with a bunch of kids and their teachers in Tibet. There is also a picture of him walking towards Everest on the homepage. The two of them together with a couple of others periodically guide would-be adventurers to Everest base camp.”

I’ve seen the slide-show on the  Snowball Expeditions home page and the photos are spectacular!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1TXYrAFZD_A&feature=email

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoJK1TNFL-w&feature=email

Michelle Cahill has enjoyed a Writers’ Retreat in Scotland as a Hawthornden Castle Fellow.

While our fabulous Ambassador for Australian literature, Anita Heiss celebrated New Year in New York.

I’m enjoying a much quieter time – for a few days at least – but a few exciting events are coming up, including tickets to Love Never Dies at the Sydney Capitol Theatre with my lovely daughter, an Australia Day lunch at Darling Harbour with good friend Susanne Gervay and a visit by my niece from New Zealand. A trip to the Central Coast to catch up with friends and to spend some time by the sea will cap off a great start to the New Year.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, prosperous and prolific New Year!

Much Peace & Love,

Sharon

September 30, 2011

Australian Writers Guild award winning script.

Huge congratulations to Roanna Gonsalves and her collaborators, Damien Millar, Raimondo Cortese, Görkem Acaroğlu, and the company of actors. Their script for the play Yet to Ascertain the Nature of the Crime, which was produced by Melbourne Workers Theatre and performed in Melbourne in November 2010, won a prestigious Australian Writers Guild award for best script in the Community and Youth Theatre category. Award Winners were announced at a glittering ceremony on Friday September 23, 2011

Roanna Gonsalves

Yet to Ascertain the Nature of the Crime was mainly constructed using the actual words of many Indian students who were attacked in Melbourne, education agents, counsellors, other Indian Australians, even a couple of young men who hold white supremacist views. Using humour, music and a bit of Bollywood dancing, the play presents a nuanced view of the attacks, and provides a space in which the actual words of the victims can be heard. The play had audiences laughing loudly as well as sobbing throughout the performance, and was a sell-out last year.

Roanna dedicated the award to the Indian students who were killed, namely Nitin Garg and Tosha Thakkar, and all Indian students who have experienced physical and verbal attacks in Australia. Yet to Ascertain the Nature of the Crime has been invited to perform at Mumbai’s renowned Kala Ghoda festival in 2012. They are looking for sponsors to help them get to Mumbai.

Roanna is a graduate of the UTS Writing program, is currently doing a PhD at UNSW, and is also working on a television documentary with director Ana Tiwary of indiVisual films about Indian students in Australia, a play for Bell Shakespeare’s Mind’s Eye Initiative with director Susanna Dowling, and a novel set in India.

Roanna is also an advocate for a better representation of cultural diversity in the arts in Australia, and recently had an academic journal article published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the European Association of Studies on Australia. The article is entitled Multiculturalism and Mainstage Australian Theatre, and examines ways in which multiculturalism is governed on the Australian stage, and possible ways in which it may move towards becoming a better mirror of contemporary Australian society.”

 Canterbury-Bankstown Express article

YouTube trailer

The Australian Review of Yet to Ascertain the Nature of the Crime

Roanna is also featured in the Spring issue of UTS Writers Alumni Writers Connect.

Please also see Roanna’s radio documentary Doosra,the Life and Times of an Indian student in Australia which was broadcast on ABC Radio National in February and Curry Muncher, a short story, published in Eureka Street.

August 3, 2011

Vishvarūpa

Vishvarupa cover

Reading Vishvarūpa is like opening a jewel-box of many faceted gems. From the shimmering ‘Rainy Days’ of melaleucas and gumnuts to the sharply observed ‘Ode to Mumbai’; from Aphrodite and Narcissus to Hanuman and Vayu; from an ‘Alchemy of leaves’ to ‘Kissing Hamlet’ the poetry is sensory “The air’s thick with jasmine, agapanthus lingering like incense in the still eveing(Triptych of Wings), sometimes sensual “The moon’s crescent tangled my hair, my breasts were bare, our timing synchronised” (‘Pārvatī in Darlinghurst) and always satisfying.

“Can there be any Australian poet who has entered with such lyrical depth into the intermingling voices of Australia and India?” Chris Wallace-Crabbe.

Michelle Cahill’s verse is controlled with a deep vein of feeling running beneath the measured lines … her poetry rises on a ‘burning ladder of language’”. Keki N Daruwalla.

The perfect book for a journey or a winter’s night at home.

Vishvarūpa, poems by Michelle Cahill,

Michelle Cahill

can be ordered from 5Islands Press

For a sequence of her poems Michelle Cahill received the Val Vallis Award.

Michelle is editor of Mascara Literary Review.

July 3, 2011

ChilOut – Children in detention

News from ChilOut is that the government has just announced the release of 62% of the children into community-based detention. The government is to be congratulated on their more humane stance but that still leaves more than 300 children in locked detention. While I am glad to hear that many children are now in community-based detention, the children not yet released are important too.

I truly feel both the government and the opposition have been losing their way completely with all the hysteria about refugees and asylum seekers. Having been overseas recently (Africa, India and Europe) and having family living overseas, I’ve seen how they cope with far greater numbers there, I am so ashamed at the way we treat refugees here. Surely the hysteria here is partly fuelled by the fact that refugees are locked away so people don’t get to see or meet them and so it is so much easier to portray them as some kind of aliens. Good on Dr Michael Dudley, Rosie Scott, Ngareta Rossell, ChilOut and others for putting so much time and effort into doing something against the odds.

If you feel you can support them please check this out

“Here is not for children” Rosie Scott_10x10_010711

Rosie Scott is one of our award winning and treasured Australian authors and gives her own time and money to supporting refugees and trying to raise the level of consciousness and debate through advocacy, direct action and her writing. She is one of the Australian authors who contributed to ‘Fear Factor Terror Incognito”, a collection of stories from India and Australia published by Picador Australia and Picador India, which I co-edited with Meenakshi Bharat.

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