‘Oculus’, my story about women’s rights, set in Iran and India, is now a semifinalist in this year’s competition. That puts it in the top 4%-5% of all entrants. It’s won several badges of commendation along the way, and appears on Coverfly’s Red List as among the best works on its site. I’m hoping the current political situation will enable people to see its relevance.
‘If you don’t accept him’ – your father comes to the point – ‘someone else will. He’s looking for a wife and it’s obvious he won’t have to wait for long.’ There’s some slight nuance in your father’s tone that signals menace. It suggests that overnight he’s become your opponent instead of your friend.
‘The House with Two Letter-Boxes’ arrives in audio form today. Listen to the actor Hannah Wood bring all the characters to sparkling life. Arts Council funded. First ever audiobook produced by Fly on the Wall Press. Thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for her initiative. @fly_press.
To mark 150 years of Durham Miners’ Gala, the film of ‘Black Boy Winning’, with Susan Jameson and James Bolam as the narrators, goes live on the Durham Miners’ Gala website. Set in a pit village in the North East of England, the story focuses on the lives of a coal miner, Ned, and his young son, Joe. Both long for freedom: Ned from his life underground, and Joe, from his father’s anger. The chances of either of them fulfilling their dream seem remote. Until events take a drastic turn… Watch here. (Illustration courtesy Norman Cornish estate):
Massive thanks to ‘The Hyderabad Review’ for daring to run with this story about struggle, love and racism in the UK. Good to reach another part of the Indian reading public.
Here’s what the Editor-in-Chief had to say about the story: ‘When I started reading, the very first thought of a foreigner writing on Indian subjects interested me. As the story went on it really intrigued me to know whats coming. I could visualize everything in front of my eyes and I was able to connect with the character, “Prem” and imagine the western world in the 60s and the racial discrimination. A great story!’
I’m hoping ‘Foxtrot in Fulham’ will be the centre-piece in my next collection, but meantime, you can read it here for free!
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.
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:
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: