Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

December 20, 2012

Compliments of the Season, as Sunil Badami reviews “Alien Shores”

Meenakshi and I bring you the latest review of  Alien Shores by Sunil Badami published in Mascara Literary Review.

 Sunil’s review is particularly knowledgeable and culturally sensitive for which we thank him.

As Simone Lazaroo mentions in ‘Not just another Migrant Story1, we need reviewers with “cultural sensitivity to give Asian-Australian literary writers of merit a go … we also need more critics knowledgeable of the great diversity of Asian-Australian cultures to review those writers’ work in ‘mainstream’ newspapers and magazines, not just academic journals and books. One can only hope that Asian-Australian literature will be reviewed more often in more informed ways in such newspapers and magazines, rather than according to culturally inappropriate criteria”.

Sunil’s review achieves all this and more.

You can readSunil Badami reviews Alien Shores Ed Sharon Rundle & Meenakshi Bharat at Mascara Literary Review

http://mascarareview.com/sunil-badami-reviews-alien-shores/

 

Andrew Y M Kwong (centre) with Julia Mackay-Koelen, Meenakshi Bharat, Sharon Rundle and Michelle Cahill at the Central Coast launch of 'Alien Shores'.

Andrew Y M Kwong (centre) with Julia Mackay-Koelen, Meenakshi Bharat, Sharon Rundle and Michelle Cahill at the Central Coast launch of ‘Alien Shores’.

Abdul, Linda and Sharon at Hughenden Launch

Abdul, Linda and Sharon at Hughenden Launch

 

 

Wishing you all Compliments of the Season, a very Merry Christmas, a safe and happy holiday and

a brilliant New Year in 2013!

Xmas Tree

1Lazaroo, Simone. 2008, ‘Not just another Migrant Story’, Australian Humanities Review, Issue 45. ANU Press.

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.

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.

February 7, 2012

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

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

Image via Wikipedia

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

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

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.

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

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