White Water Falls © Richard Long. Photo: Rajat Jindal
(available in the UK, US, India, and worldwide)
The Whole Kahani’s anthology was published one year ago in June 2016.
Love Across A Broken Map has had great reviews, some of them wonderfully detailed, and the ‘The Whole Kahani’ collective has been invited to read and hold workshops at several literary festivals.
To celebrate one year of success, Dahlia Publishing has now released an eBook edition.
If you haven’t yet read this “engaging volume that eschews stereotypical stories about the experience of the South Asian diaspora in Britain”* then now is the time to download it.
Love Across A Broken Map is available for free downloads this month:
on July 21, July 22 and July 23, 2017.
Write to me with your comments on the book, it’s always good to hear your views.
More on The Whole Kahani here: http://www.thewholekahani.com/
Reviews of the anthology:
The Short Story
Byte The Book
The Book Review India
Read a Group Interview with members of The Whole Kahani at:
*from James Holden’s review in The Short Story
Poem-A-Thon fundraiser for the Poetry Café
61 poets in an all-day non-stop poetry reading to raise funds for the Poetry Café
Saturday 22 July 2017 | 12.00pm – 10.00pm
Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX London
Join Facebook event here
To help me raise money for the Poetry Café, and read why I’m fundraising, visit my JustGiving page at
12.00 Paul McGrane | 12.10 Jennifer Wong | 12.20 Imtiaz Dharker | 12.30 Tom Vaughan | 12.40 Carmina Masoliver
12.50 Theresa Lola | 13.00 Ruby Jah | 13.10 Joelle Taylor | 13.20 Dean Atta | 13.30 Jemima Foxtrot | 13.40 Nicky Phillips | 13.50 Denise Saul | 14.00 George Szirtes | 14.10 Kavita A Jindal | 14.20 Mohib Khurram | 14.30 Ruth Smith | 14.40 Rebecca Goss | 14.50 Rishi Dastidar | 15.00 Hannah Lowe | 15.10 Stephen Keeler | 15.20 Carole Bromley | 15.30 Jess Mookherjee | 15.40 Elisabeth Sennitt Clough | 15.50 Ali Lewis | 16.00 Niall O’Sullivan | 16.10 Greta Bellamacina | 16.20 Julia Bird | 16.30 Tessa Lang | 16.40 Hannah Chutzpah | 16.50 Chrissy Williams | 17.00 Chip Grim | 17.10 Natalie Katsou | 17.20 Nadia Drews | 17.30 Tim Wells | 17.40 Maura Dooley | 17.50 Nick Makoha | 18.00 Kate Liddington | 18.10 Abegail Morley | 18.20 Jane Yeh | 18.30 Richard Scott | 18.40 Amy Deakin | 18.50 Ed Doegar | 19.00 Sogol Sur | 19.10 Isabel Bermudez | 19.20 Kostya Tsolakis | 19.30 Hylda Sims | 19.40 Mike Sims | 19.50 Carl Dhiman | 20.00 Liba Ravindran | 20.10 Margaret Haig | 20.20 Ernie Burns | 20.30 Todd Swift | 20.40 John Paul O’Neill | 20.50 Jay Bernard | 21.00 Anthony Anaxagorou | 21.10 Raymond Antrobus | 21.20 Amy Acre | 21.30 Dzifa Benson | 21.40 Selina Nwulu | 21.50 Dan Simpson | 22.00 Laurie Bolger
Reciting poetry at a Lit Fest in Mumbai, 2007.
Photo Credit: Rahul Chandawarkar
It’s not often that my writing life, fiercely compartmentalized, coincides with my real life. Yet this month it did, and I’m not sure if this serendipity is charming or alarming.
I’ve just completed a highly political novel set in India in the late 1990s: at the cusp of the twenty-first century and the dawn of the digital age.
The announcement of a snap general election last month and the local events that followed it bizarrely echoed plot-lines in my novel. How strange is this? My novel’s narrative unfolds in a different era and a different country, yet in my neck of the woods, here in Greater London, themes and events could be right out of my book. I should be struggling with writing a better synopsis and getting organised to pitch my fiction to agents instead of being completely distracted and writing a non-fiction polemic.
I contributed an essay to ‘Tactical Reading: A Snappy Guide to the Snap Election’ which was put together in a flash, pretty much, by Squint Books. My essay is on Zac Goldsmith and his Political Flip Flops. It also tackles, at length, his leaflet campaign aimed at “British Indians” in the last London Mayoral election.
Why did I do it?
I don’t write political non-fiction. I mean, I didn’t. I must learn to use the past tense on that. I’m usually happy to have discussions in private, hear all kinds of views, keep my opinions to myself, and keep my public profiles steadfastly neutral. Yet, when I was offered this opportunity to contribute, I couldn’t turn it down. It had already dawned on me that some parts of my novel were playing out in front of me. Scenarios that were fun to write in fiction and that I’d written, in draft form, years ago, were actually happening. Instead of amusing me, they were making me mad. My outrage, which took me by surprise, compelled me to write that essay.
In my novel, one of the main characters, W, stands for election as an “Independent” candidate, but she is backed by the same party that supported her in a previous election bid. That’s one obvious parallel. In the book, three general elections take place in India in the space of three years – a ‘waste of the country’s resources’ as one character bemoans. A tumultuous time-span in a novel set in the past is reflected in current times by the UK population going to the polls three times in three years (once for the EU referendum). Another theme of my book is the interconnectedness of wealth and politics. The second main character, M, is the scion of an industrial dynasty. One of the questions I play with in the novel is: What should he do with his mammoth means? What route will give him satisfaction? Will investing in politics?
At first I began writing my non-fiction piece on the fact that in Richmond Park, our local ‘Independent’ candidate remained independent for four months only. I collect election leaflets (don’t ask, and yes, I have a storage problem) and so I dug out the previous year’s missives, some addressed directly to me. These were from the London mayoral campaign in 2016, and at the time, they’d really got my goat. I was reading them again, almost disbelievingly, and my dismay at their contents made it into the essay.
It has struck me that we must all be contradictory people, having to make peace with our paradoxes. In my compartmentalized writing life I am a full-on cynic. My characters have freedom to deploy dirty tricks when they need to, especially if others do the same against them first. My characters want to win at any cost, even if it leads to tragedy. My characters start with idealism, then turn to the dark side.
In real life, and especially in the case of London, I want my local politicians to stick to some of their principles. I know they need to be pragmatic, and I realise that all politicians have to compromise to achieve certain goals, but I don’t want them to treat their constituents like they’re all feather-brained. I want, no, I demand, credibility.
‘Tactical Reading: A Snappy Guide to the Snap General Election 2017’ is available at Waterstones, independent bookshops and online. It is edited by Alexandra Payne and Todd Swift and is a ‘Squint Books’ edition published by Eyewear Publishing.
I’ve contributed an essay to this book, out just before the UK General Election 2017.
My essay is on Zac Goldsmith and on the themes of Political FlipFlops. It also comments on the leaflet campaign aimed at “British Indians” in the last London Mayoral election.
Yurt Salon – Poetry Night
Five Poets / Diverse Styles
A literary salon in partnership with The Royal Foundation of St Katharine
16 May 2017 | 6.30 – 9.30 pm
Yurt Cafe, St Katharine’s Precinct, 2 Butcher Row, London E14 8DS
Poets: Kavita A Jindal | Mona Dash | Dirk van Heck | Sophia Blackwell | Gretchen Heffernan
Tickets (just £3): https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/yurt-salon-poetry-tickets-34004080119