Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

April 22, 2014

Only Connect: Short fiction about Technology and Us

Only Connect: Short fiction about Technology and Us from Australia and the Indian Subcontinent

has just been released and is in book shops now!

oc full cover final2

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.

 

Authors Only Connect 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.

 

Sharon Sunil Kabita

Sharon with Sunil Badami and Kabita Dhara

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.

View Launch of Only Connect Short fiction about Technology and Us at the Hughenden Hotel
View Full Album

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:

Only Connect Press_Release with booksellers

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

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: