To celebrate my rather good news of a publisher for novel two I thought I’ll do a make-over for my tired looking blog. Welcome to ‘Tartan & Turmeric’ a real merger of Scottish and Indian updates on this blog. I feel enriched by the two cultures that I share and often switch from one country to the other in all my writing and status updates on FB and Twitter, so why not on the blog too?
Summer is only a week away and I look forward to bright long days of sunshine. I must confess the weather makes one less inclined to sit inside and read a book so that is my excuse for still being on page 436 of Sarita Mandanna’s ‘Tiger Hills ‘ that I referred to in my last blog. I’ll give a fuller comment on the book once I have finished reading it. She was in the longlist for the Man Asian Literary Prize last year.
Awarding Philip Roth the Man Booker Prize 2011 was controversial with Carmen Callil walking out of the judging panel.The choice of books can be so subjective just like any work of art.
I do hope you like my new spiced up blog.
The back entrance or entrance to Earls Court 2 where we plebs were given our badges and allowed to enter the Fair. Great buzz and a huge venue.London, the tube travel, the crowds and the pace of life in the smouldering heat (yes, it was sunny all 3 days!!)was an experience as it was the first time for me in London as a non-tourist.
Highlights for me were :
1. Meeting YWO friend and author Waheed and his lovely wife.We have been emailing and Facebooking our YWO experience, so good to see him in the flesh. Also meeting Farhana of The Asian Writers online mag and Ashanti a fab journo, and a firebrand of energy.
2. India Market focus, what a great opportunity to hear Vikram Seth, Anita Nair, Girish Karnad, Anandamurthy and Javed Akhtar.Sizzling events with India at its best.Were the big publishers interested in bringing Indian authors to the UK’s notice? Or were they keen on selling British authors to the burgeoning Indian market? It depended on who you spoke to,both sides were hoping to get the best out of the event.See the article in Bookseller today and draw your own conclusion. Boris Johnson’s keynote speech was as expected, political barbs, humour, a classicist approach to the Fair. I learnt that ‘Cheese ‘ was an Indian word! I knew all the others like pyjamas, chintz, bungalow, juggernaut and jodhpurs were of Indian origin, but this was a new one.
3. A seminar event was with young BME wannabe writers, publishers, students and emerging creative people desperate to be recognised by the mainstream industry. It was highlighted by Hardeep Sigh Kohli, a fellow Scot and TV personality who made us all laugh and managed to put the serious message that it was time for the industry to shed its white middle class male image and start encouraging the voices of all the sections of the British society.
What did three days of being at the event do for me- a new author? Did I get a five figure contract with The Publishers? Well… NO, but I networked, met many people, tried to get publishers to take note of new authors, saw the ebook technology making inroads and the new expresso machine that was churning out books and handing free copies of a YWO author’s book!Blackwells in Charing Cross will be adding this machine in their store so go print your own if you wish.
Was LBF worth the cost, travel and effort? Yes definitely.
The city is buzzing with ‘Aye Write’ book festival and now the exciting talk of setting up our own Scottish Writers Centre. Fantastic commitment and interest from dedicated writers and aspiring ones like me. Down South soneone came with the idea of an art gallery in an empty shop , maybe we could have our Writers Centre in one(well, my suggestion anyway).
From a friend Allan who learnt from the Oatcake appreciation Society : ‘ I have now found a theory on the oatcake site that oatcakes were introduced by soldiers returning from India. The idea is that they were impressed by ther flat breads(chapattis) they came across, but that the ingredients for some reason didn’t lend themselves to the British climate, so they changed the recipe, It was also found to be useful for miners to roll up and take in their pockets. Sounds similar to the development of the cornish pastie arounf the needs of the tin miners.’
Wow! Wish this the ‘Year of the Homecoming’ Scotland had highlighted a lot more of the connection between India and Scotland in all kinds of ways.