Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

February 7, 2012

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

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

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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: 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

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:

English: Still image from the documentary film...

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  • Map showing origin countries of refugees /asyl...

    Image via Wikipedia

November 13, 2009

FRIDAY 13 & News about Books & Writing

Friday 13th

So much has happened lately that there has been little time for recording it. The Picador India book Fear Factor Terror Incognito is out and on its way to me, which is exciting news and I can hardly wait to see it.

The Picador Australia edition is progressing and will be released in March.

This week I’ll give a Poster Presentation about Fear Factor Terror Incognito at University of Technology Sydney to discuss the Indo-Aus anthology. Sincere thanks to Rod Morrison at Picador Australia for his enthusiasm for publishing an Australian edition of this exciting and unique volume of stories. Thanks also to Louise Bourke. Jane and Jeannine at Picador Australia have been wonderful with helping me with the UTS Poster Presentation on Tuesday; and Corey has created the poster for it. It is enormously encouraging to receive this kind of support. I’m also grateful to Shruti Debi our publisher at Picador India for delivery of copies of the anthology for the presentation.

Shruti is a consummate professional, meticulous yet enthusiastic about the publishing ventures she takes on. She is a joy to work with. She is to be commended for her faith in us in taking a risk to publish this anthology as well as for her dedication in producing a prestigious and quality edition of Fear Factor Terror Incognito.

me with Shruti Debi and Meenakshi Bharat at Picador India office in Delhi, India.

Me with Shruti and Meenakshi at Picador India office in Delhi, India.

Sincere thanks to co-editor Meenakshi Bharat for suggesting this project and for sticking with me to see it through to our ultimate aim of a 50/50 collaborative volume of Indo-Aus stories published in India and Australia.

My thanks also to my dear friend Sujata who introduced me to Meenakshi when she asked me to contribute to Meenakshi’s book Desert in Bloom – Contemporary Indian Women’s Fiction in English. Sujata and I have been friends and colleagues for over ten years now.

In March, 2010, Meenakshi Bharat and author Sujata Sankranti will visit Sydney, where they will speak and read from Fear Factor Terror Incognito at several venues; including the UTS  TransForming Culture Research Centre, The NSW Writers Centre and the Sydney launch of the anthology.

The contributing authors who were, of course, central to and essential for the anthology deserve congratulations and sincere thanks, too. I am glad to say that their contractual copies of the book are on their way.

Meanwhile plans are going ahead for me and some of our authors to attend the IASA Goa 2010 Conference. I acknowledge and sincerely appreciate the support of Professor Sareen, Professor Gopal, the Australia-India Council Travel Grant to attend the conference and the Creative Industries’ Career Fund of Copyright Australia limited Cultural Fund Award. These organisations have made the visit to Goa possible. Congratulations to all the authors and academics who have been accepted for the Conference.

last week I stayed at The Hughenden with my sister and enjoyed the warm and superb hospitality of Susanne Gervay. We had the best time and I wholeheartedly recommend The Hughenden Boutique Hotel. My sister and I were pampered with delicious meals and the softest beds—my mattress felt like feather down; I had the best night’s sleep and it was difficult to leave it in the morning. The scrumptious Hughenden breakfast was well worth getting up for though.

Susanne has a photo of the three of us at The Hughenden on her blog

Susanne, Bernie and I also went to the Books: Bridges and Beyond, Room to Read Literary Event, with special guest Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief. The event was held in the Tea Room at the Queen Victoria Building and was so well attended, there was quite a crush.

Room to Read is a global not-for-profit foundation that brings books and builds libraries for children in developing countries in Asia and Africa. It is well worth supporting.

The Sydney writers’ group Company of Writers is publishing their fourth anthology of stories, titled Secret Cows in early December. The group first started in 1990 under the direction of Stephanie Dowrick and continues to meet regularly each month. It also continues to evolve with a mix of members who formed the original group and others who have since joined.

Congratulations to Jeremy Fisher on his new academic appointment as Senior Lecturer in Writing at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW. He has now resigned from the Australian Society of Authors and will be greatly missed. Jeremy spent his time as Executive Director tirelessly assisting authors, promoting authors’ rights and championing causes such as Parallel Importation of Books, among many others. His story “The Liberation Centre” published in Fear Factor Terror Incognito is memorable, haunting and timeless. Wishing you all the best, Jeremy.

Today’s Writing Tip:
It’s Friday 13th, are you the suspicious type? A Friday 13th falling a week after Hallowe’en? Surely, it must be a night for writing a gothic novel or at least a creepy story. Think of Mary Shelley creating Dr Frankenstein and his monster…think of The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Create your own Friday 13th mystery.

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