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Hot Off The Press

On these pages information is given of new, up and coming titles that we think you might find interesting. If you hear of any others or would like to write a review on any of these, get in touch.


We would like to let you know about a festival of Indian writing the British Council is holding in partnership with London Book Fair, in London and across the UK, from 18-24 April 2009. Do put these dates in your diary if you are in the UK in late April, and join us for what promises to be a unique celebration of cultural relations between India and the UK.

45 Indian writers will take part in a series of seminars in London Book Fair from 20-22 April, and in public events with partners such as the British Library and Foyles bookshops, in London and across the UK, from 18-24 April. This is part of the British Council’s long-term partnership with London Book Fair, to develop a cultural programme in support of LBF’s market focus country or region. In 2008, this was the Arab World; in 2009 we are concentrating on India; and in 2010 the spotlight will be on South Africa.

The two attachments tell you more about Indian and UK writers who are taking part, partners we are working with, and the programme we have developed for 2009. Our programme includes writing in 15 different Indian languages, including prize-winning Indian writers alongside others you will probably not already know, as their work is yet to be translated.

Please do pass this information to your colleagues who may also be interested. For up to date information on the programme, please consult:

Feb 2007....The Bird's Journey to Mount Qaf

'The Birds' Journey to Mount Qaf' by Hooda Shawa Qaddumi is based on the twelfth century tale 'The Conference of the Birds' by the Sufi poet Farid ud din Attar. It is also beautifully illustrated with colour plates of original Persian ceramic tiles by Vanessa Hodgkinson. This book is beautifully presented in a deep blue jacket with glossy pages and immediately appeals as an expensive treasured gift, although it is competitively priced at only £18. After reading a brief description I was intrigued to see the book proper.... and it did not disappoint. It is a stunning collection of colour photographs and reflective poems of the journey of thirty birds to find a King. Each poem is appealing in its simplicity and culminates in a tale that is as relevant today as it was in the twelfth century. Qaddumi has managed to make this collection appealing to both adults and children alike with its rhyming stanzas and ease of reading. It is a beautifully executed book that was a pleasure to review. 'The Birds' Journey to Mount Qaf' will be available from Saqi Books (see from February 2007.


Mango Shake

Mango Shake edited by Debjani Chatterjee, is a sparkling showcase. Stories by young British Asian men: alive with the pulse of urban culture; true to the complexities of family life. Plus tales of magic and myth from the beaches of Guyana.

A diversity of new talent: timely and charming, these lively stories include:
∑ ‘Ole Man’s Luck’ – a lovely, timeless tale of a young girl, hibiscus flowers and fishermen from a shoreline where South America meets the Caribbean
∑ ‘Brimful of Hope’ – an atmospheric story in which family loyalties are questioned when the birth of a new baby coincides with the death of Manu’s father and his mother’s return to India
∑ ‘Handsworth Songs’ – a sharply observed tale of boy-meets-girl against a backdrop of the sights and sounds and rhythms of inner-city Birmingham
∑ ‘Simran Kaur’ – this zesty story builds up to a fiery Diwali: Aunty Neeta – with her impressive forearms – gets a job as a bus driver, becomes a local TV celebrity and upsets her big sulking baby of a husband in the process
Editor DEBJANI CHATTERJEE is one of Britain’s best-known Asian writers, ‘a poet full of wit and charm’ (Andrew Motion). She grew up in India, Japan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Egypt and Morocco and now lives in Sheffield. Debjani chairs the National Association of Writers in Education and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow. Award-winning anthologies she has edited include Barbed Lines and The Redbeck Anthology of British South Asian Poetry. Sheffield Hallam University awarded her an honorary doctorate for services to literature.
About the contributors:
HARPREET SINGH was born in London and grew up in Birmingham. He is currently working on a series of novels that bounce around the lives of a few Punjabis in England from the 1960s to the present day.
BOBBY NAYYAR was born in Handsworth in 1979. He studied French and Italian at Trinity College, Cambridge, and then Comparative Literature at the University of Chicago. He has worked in Europe and the Far East. He trained at Faber and Faber and currently works at Little Brown.

Launch of 'Mango Shake'

Pictured above is the launch of MANGO SHAKE on 14th July 2006 in Birmingham's Orange Studio. MANGO SHAKE published by Tindal Street Press is an anthology of South Asian writers. The photo is of the Editor, Debjani Chatterjee with three of the authors of MANGO SHAKE at the Orange Studio: Zorina Ishmail-Bibby, Bobby Nayyar and Anish Desai.