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August 2, 2014

Only Connect: Short fiction about Technology and Us, Rupa Publications India Edition

Rupa – The House of Best sellers in India

releases

Only Connect: short fiction about Technology and Us

Congratulations to all of our authors!

 Cover courtesy Rupa
Cover design and photography by Pallavi Agarwala

 

ONLY CONNECT!: SHORT FICTION ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AND US

FROM THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT AND AUSTRALIA

 

by Editors: Meenakshi Bharat & Sharon Rundle

SHARON and Meenakshi in Khazuraho 4(2)

Endorsement on back cover by Tabish Khair.

“We live in a world where battles are fought in cyberspace, relationships are forged through voice-over-IP, and declarations of love are made through speedy text messages. Pertinently then, the stories in Only Connect weigh the deep impact of technology on our lives, relationships, and the ways in which we perceive each other and ourselves.

While Meenakshi Bharat’s ‘B Wid U Soon’ shows how, despite the distance between them, technology helps a couple share the birth of their baby, Janhavi Acharekar’s ‘Sneha, 25’ highlights the hoax of digital ties as a young girl is conned by a cyber-lover. The sinister face of technology is alarmingly demonstrated by Malik Sajad’s graphic tale, ‘Facebooked’, Chandani Lokugé’s ‘Trial by Media’, and Kiran Nagarkar’s ‘The Race for Arms’. Technology changes the language we speak, as dramatized in Neelum Saran Gour’s ‘A Software Sonata’. It colours our perception of lived experience, as shown by Sharon Rundle in ‘Fugue for Guinea Pigs’. And, in fact, technology even irrevocably changes the way we connect with art as Yasmine Gooneratne describes in ‘Barry Meets His Muse’. 

A collection of twenty riveting stories, Only Connect traces this brave new world we have come to inherit.”

Janhavi Acharekar, Manisha Jolie Amin, Sunil Badami, Meenakshi Bharat, Devika Brendon, Susanne Gervay, Roanna Gonsalves, Yasmine Gooneratne, Anita Heiss, Bem Le Hunte, Anu Kumar, Chandani Lokugé, Julia Mackay-Koelen, Sophie Masson, Kiran Nagarkar, Felicity Pulman, Sharon Rundle, Malik Sajad, Sujata Sankranti, Neelum Saran Gourr, Annie Zaidi

Meenakshi Bharat, University of Delhi, is a writer, translator, reviewer and critic. Some of her published books are: The Ultimate Colony: The Child in Postcolonial Fiction; Rushdie the Novelist; and two volumes of Indo-Australian short fiction entitled Fear Factor: Terror Incognito and Alien Shores: Tales of Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

Sharon Rundle is Chair of the University of Technology Sydney Writers’ Alumni; has served on the Board of Directors of the NSW Writers’ Centre; and is a founding member of Asia Pacific Writers and Translators. She coedited Alien Shores and Fear Factor.

http://www.rupapublications.co.in/books/only-connect-short-fiction-about-technology-and-us-indian-subcontinent-and-australia

“Only Connect!” Reviews in:

My City Book Reviews, New Delhi, Saturday Nov 1, 2014

OnlyConnectReviewHT

Indian Link

Sydney Morning Herald

Journal of Postcolonial Writing

UTS Newsroom review of Only Connect,

Sunday Guardian Indian Edition

Telegraph India

Two Circles

Between The Lines Book Review

A mention of “Only Connect!” in The Hindu 

and Business Standard

Sydney Launch of “Only Connect!” was covered by Paul McKenzie at the Indian Telegraph, May 2014, Page 36.

Australian edition of Only Connect: Short fiction about Technology and Us  (April, 2014) by Brass Monkey Books

AuthorsOnlyConnectlaunch_thumb.jpg

 Our previous anthologies are: Alien Shores

Alien Shores launch with slide show.

and Fear Factor Terror Incognito

http://roundtablewriting.com/FFREVIEWS.htm

More at Roundtablewriting.com

member-icon-sml.jpg

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

December 22, 2013

Compliments of the Season

Wishing everyone a Merry Yuletide and a safe and happy holiday.

20131216_224204

It’s been a busy year with several highlights, including but not limited to:

  • Graham’s book in production for release in 2014;

  • Only Connect: tales of Technology and Us from Australia and the Indian subcontinent’ ,  which I co-edited with Meenakshi Bharat, due for release in 2014 – it has intrigue, suspense, romance and humour – stories from some of the best emerging and established authors on both continents;

  • Gondwanalandings at the Victorian State Library;

  • The UTS Postgraduate Conference; mindfulness-research-program-2013

  • Book launches and events – fabulous books were launched this year, some have appeared on this blog – including: Dancing to the Flute (Manisha Jolie Amin), After Love (Subhash Jaireth), Poetic Connections: Australia and India (ed Tamaso Lonsdale),  Letter to George Clooney (Debra Adelaide), A Country Too Far (Ed. Rosie Scott & Tom Keneally) and Susanne Gervay’s Gracie and Josh and  ‘I Am Jack’ translations; Meenakshi Bharat A House for Mr Biswas: Critical Perspectives;

  • Theatre events, including opening nights at ‘Rapture Blister Burn’ at The Ensemble and ‘The First Garden: Olive Pink’ at the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens; ‘Short & Sweet’ at Newtown and Nautanki Theatre.

  • The UTS Writers’ Alumni continuing to expand and our fabulous team at Writers Connect;

  • Interviewing authors, publishers and reviewers for my research. Many thanks to all who participated and contributed their views and valuable insights;

  • Catching up with friends when in Sydney—including Susanne Gervay, Wendy Ashton, Libby Sommer, Devaki Monani, Devika Brendon, Sunil Badami, Louise Porebski, Shashi Sharma, Manisha Amin, Roanna Gonsalves, (when she is in Sydney), Chris and Natasha Raja, Ali Atkinson-Philips (when they are in Sydney) and all at the South Asian-Australian Writers’ Network (SAAWN).

I’m now eagerly anticipating a Merry Yuletide with my family who I don’t see nearly often enough. After that I’m looking forward to the New Year with more book releases; conferences, cultural programmes and keynote series  (including Kerala & Delhi); and continuing my research at UTS.

Watch this blog for the call out for stories for the fourth Indo-Australian anthology sometime in 2014.

Cheers,

Sharon

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.  

March 21, 2013

First Garden: Olive M Pink at Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens

Opening Night in Sydney

The opening night of the First Garden Olive Pink was held on the Band Lawn of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney on International Women’s Day.

The play, written by Chris and Natasha Raja, was first performed in Darwin and Alice Springs.

After heavy rainfall earlier in the week in Sydney, the first night of the First Garden was balmy and the gardens looked spectacular. It provided the perfect setting for the story of Olive M Pink’s First Garden in Alice Springs. A warm welcome from the Gadigal People set the tone for the play.

Living in the Watagan Mountains opposite Yengo National Park, I am in awe of the way of the indigenous people managed this land. I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like for the first European settlers who arrived out here with little more than a pick and shovel and a few provisions. The clash of concepts of someone belonging to the land and the land belonging to someone was always going to be a disaster. This clash is made starkly evident in the First Garden. Olive Pink was more enlightened and empathic than most of her contemporaries but, even so, the misunderstandings and sensitivities come alive in the First Garden.

Natasha Raja as Olive M Pink is convincing and quite brilliant at playing this fiercely independent and resilient woman with a quirky streak, who could be both formidable and compassionate. Natasha is strongly supported by the sterling performances and interpretations by Eshua Bolton, in dual roles as Johnny Tjampitjinpa and Tasman, and by Scott Fraser in dual roles as Captain Harold Southern and  Henry Wardlaw. An inquisitive magpie unexpectedly joined the cast and almost stole the show for a few minutes.

We are lucky to have playwrights such as Chris and Natasha to bring us the stories of our past. We are also lucky to have Arrernte custodians Auntie Doris Stuart and Aunty Elaine as advisors.

 

First Garden Opening Night Soiree

It was a great pleasure to meet Chris again and to meet Natasha, Eshua, Scott, Doris and Elaine at the buzzing opening night Soiree afterwards.  A display of the botanical artwork and collections of Olive Pink, as well as some of her possessions, showed the importance of her work.  At the Soiree, hosted by the Royal Botanic Gardens in a room inside, we were served delicious refreshments as we listened to Professor David Mabberley, followed by a board member from Alice Springs Botanic Garden. A representative of the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens also spoke. The congenial atmosphere and the obvious enjoyment of all present made it a magical night in the enchanting Royal Botanic Gardens. It was great to see so many there, Manisha Amin and John, Ian Brittain, Lesley Branagan, Sunil Badami and April, Roanna Gonsalves, Devaki Monani, Devleena Ghosh, Gaye Follington and all who joined us to celebrate the Sydney opening night of The First Garden and support Chris and Natasha, Eshua and Scott and everyone involved with the production.

 Prof David Mabberley’s speech after seeing The First Garden

Reviews, YouTube videos, trailers and interviews.

ABC Books & Arts Daily: The life of Olive Pink

Aliceonline: Replanting Miss Pink

 Alice Springs News: Garden of Delight

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Event: First Garden

ABC: Alice Springs Trailblazer, Olive Pink remembered

SBS NITV News

First Garden Facebook Page

A series of youtube video uploaded by Chris Raja:

More youtube

When you visit the Royal Botanic Gardens you can visit the ‘permanent exhibition called Cadi Jam Ora, which is a garden display that tells the story of the Gadigal people, the traditional Aboriginal owners of the Sydney city area, and features plants that originally grew on the site of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

To get to the Botanic Gardens, walk to the Sydney Opera House and through the gates on the opposite side of the forecourt’.

If you can, visit the Alice Springs Botanical Gardens and see Olive Pink’s First Garden for yourself. http://www.opbg.com.au/

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

August 14, 2012

UWS Literary Lunch with Kiran Nagarkar

What an absolute delight to meet Kiran Nagarkar at the at UWS Literary Lunch on Tuesday 7th August, organised by Mridula Chakraborty.

Kiran Nagarkar must be one of the most under-rated Indian novelists despite his fine narratives, one of whichCuckold’ won the Sahitya Akademi Award. Kiran thinks deeply about any number of topics. He is a novelist with questions, rather than answers.

His writing is probably not as rewarded as it might be because Kiran is not an author who feels moved to fit the mould expected by many publishers. Another of the challenges that Kiran faces as an author from Mumbai is the current call for Indian authors to write in their local language, such as Marathi rather than in English. “Marathi papers and magazines and critics completely reject me because I switched to English; and in a very offensive kind of way.”

Nevertheless, I’m glad that Kiran writes in English as I admire his novels immensely. His books make the reader think and interact with narrative and author, they also have humour and a sense of the absurd.

My co-editor Meenakshi Bharat and I were fortunate enough to persuade Kiran Nagarkar to let us publish an extract from his novel ‘God’s Little Soldier’ in our collection of stories from Australia and the subcontinent ‘Fear Factor Terror Incognito’. The extract, titled ‘In Search of Essar’, revolves around a plot to carry out the fatwah on Rushdie. Unfortunately Zia, the protagonist, though he has unwavering belief in his calling is not so confident in the practical aspects. His frustration and bewilderment at his ineptitude allows for some very comical moments.

Kiran is a marvellous speaker. He was an international guest at this year’s Byron Bay Writers Festival. It was such a pleasure to hear him speak about his narratives, his perspective on the world and India, in particular, and about the ‘god of life’. He held the audience in his hands the whole time.

The relatively small number invited and the setting made this a rather special literary lunch with a chance to chat to Kiran in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Roanna Gonsalves, Devaki Monani, Ivor Indyk, Nicholas Jose,  Aashish Kaul, Shanti Napier, Ian Bedford and Susanne Gervay  were among those at the UWS literary lunch organised by Mridula Chakraborty.

Kiran’s books are difficult to get in Australia but I recommend that you try. His latest book is ‘Extras’ a sequel to ‘Ravan and Eddie’, and is set in Bollywood.

Kiran Nagarkar’s Books: Extras, Ravan and Eddie, Cuckold, God’s Little Soldier.

Story ‘In Search of Essar’ in ‘Fear Factor Terror Incognito’ published PanMacmillan Picador India 2009 & Picador Australia 2010.

For interviews with Kiran Nagarkar in print, podcast and video:

 Political intolerance limits authors: Kiran Nagarkar (youtube)

Kiran Nagarkar, best known for his seminal English novel, ‘Ravan and Eddie’, is out with a sequel called ‘The Extras’, once again starring Ravan Pawar and Eddie Coutinho. http://ibnlive.com/livetv

Books and Arts Daily ABC RN Podcast

Conversation with Kiran Nagarkar

Rediff Interview with Kiran Nagarkar

Good Reads Kiran Nagarkar

Many thanks Mridula and UWS for a memorable meeting with Kiran Nagarkar. Thanks also to Devaki Monani for taking the photos (which means she isn’t in the group photo). It was very kind of you, Devaki.

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.

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.

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