Here’s an engaging diversity of stories in a new anthology from Dahlia publishing, edited by Susmita Bhattacharya and Farhana Sheikh. Guaranteed to get you feeling nostalgic and hankering after all kinds of culinary delicacy. Except, perhaps, for my story, ‘A Bird on the Wing’, in which a young, Scottish-Asian woman is trapped at home looking after her ailing mother and lamenting the Bengali father who deserted them.
Reader, actress Valerie Roche. Keep an ear out for this internet radio station based on Merseyside, UK. They run a regular Poetry and Fiction hour on Thursday evenings, 7-8pm, BST.
Meet two exceptionally prescient tennis playing twins who drive their ‘long-serving’ mother almost to distraction. Their fast track careers take them from Mumbai to the London Olympics, where things take an unexpected turn. Find them, and lots of other goodies in the anthology ‘This Rome Drowns Slowly’, published by Earlyworks Press. You can get it here:
‘Utterly charming, racy and visual.’ – Ida Lichter, writer and campaigner for Muslim women’s rights.
Meet two tennis-playing nightmares, whose home town is Mumbai, but whose meteoric career takes them all round the world until they arrive at the London Olympics. Meet their poor, harassed mother, Meena, who follows them every step of the way until she can go no further. Read it for free here in this journal of delights. My story starts on page 139.
Gorgeous cover showing cashew nuts growing by Jimmy Mathew.
My short story of this name appears in a remarkable online archive hosted by the University of East Anglia in partnership with Norfolk Library Service. The story is an abridged version of ‘Where Is Chandernagore?’ which first appeared in the online literary journal ‘Kaani’. It makes reference to the WSPU organiser, Mary Phillips, but it’s really a tribute to all of the women of the North East of England who struggled so hard to get women the vote. It’s set in 1909 at the time of Churchill’s visit to Newcastle as President of the Board of Trade. There are many other stories on the site too. Worth a visit. Free read! Comments welcome.
Published by Circaidy Gregory Press, 15th June 2019, with endorsements by writer Farrukh Dhondy and Cathy Galvin, writer and founder of the Sunday Times Short Story Award and The Word Factory. ISBN 978-1-910841-51-8. Available from the publisher:
or from the highly recommended Speedy Hen Books: https://www.speedyhen.com/Product/Janet-H-Swinney/The-Map-of-Bihar–and-other-stories/24392042
or from Amazon.
A story set on the Deccan plain, about a rickshaw driver and the laws of karma. This story was a finalist in the Earlyworks Press Short Story Competition 2018, and you can find in the anthology ‘Unsafe Spaces’ published by Circaidy Gregory Press, along with the work of other finalists. Available directly from the publisher.
A story about sexual abuse and its effects, set in the North East of England. There’s a strong flavour of the Sixties in this story. Selected by Cathy Galvin, co-founder of the Sunday Times/EFG short story competition for the website of ‘The Word Factory’.
Find it here. This is a free read!!
‘The settings for these stories move from Scotland to northern England to India. They all hold the attention and some of them stand out. Internet Explorer is a really good story about a multiracial beginners’ computer class and, unlike most of the other stories, has a happy ending. Veil is a powerfully imaginative story, narrated by a work of art of a nude female; it’s displayed at a council office and the reactions it evokes reveal some of the unhealthy attitudes of our times. The title story is mainly about an arranged Indian marriage but the map in question has little to do with geography; it’s a blackly humorous, somewhat shocking story. Private Passions is set in a building in a Scottish town where an Indian couple run a shop on the ground floor and couples in various states of unhappiness occupy the upper floors. The link between the shop and the sudden death of an elderly racist tenant is established by the deft ending. Strong characterisation, various shades of humour and especially the skilful and unexpected endings make this an impressive debut collection.’ – Brian Maye, Irish Times
Vikram, Julie and their teenage son make their first trip to India together to visit Vikram’s family. Nobody can quite fathom the etiquette of this situation though, and when an old man turns up outside the family home and sits there endlessly, this triggers all kinds of cultural collisions and misunderstandings. Published by the Indian Review. This is a free read!!