DIVIDED by partition, war and politics, but united by creativity, brilliance and common humanity, a unique new book has brought together 20 emerging writers from across South Asia to shine a light on their diverse societies.
In 37,000 words, across 260 pages and two dozen images, these contributors paint graphic pictures of love, beauty, loss, poverty, patriarchy, disease and murder in their respective countries of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
From Kabul in the north, through Lahore and Delhi, to Hyderabad in the south, their tales in poetry and prose are compelling.
The writers include an artistic director from Lahore, an electronic engineer from Mumbai, a psychologist from Delhi, a social reformer from Jaipur, two 12th grade school students, plus many more.
The project has been pulled together by a retired British newspaper editor.
Most of the writers have, until now, only seen their work published on social media or in short order paperbacks.
Now, ASIAN VOICES is providing a professionally produced anthology of their work, for worldwide publication in February 2019.
This “family” of contributors live and work up to 5,000 miles apart, across six time zones, and their writings display the diversity of their home cities and cultures to form the unique nature of the book.
The works include letters of longing, narrative poems about grief, essays on abuse, patriarchy, rape and murder, a story about cancer and bereavement as well as countless poems of love, loss, discovery, anger, lust, peace and war.
“We don’t become by knowing… we become by doing,” says Minnie Rai, a writer and 26-year-old refugee from Kabul, who now lives in London.
“It is in the present we live and share diversity from within outwards. Through love and death we learn the language of war within us that separates us from the truth that sits beside our heart.
“When we share that truth, we become one… Asian Voices,” she adds.
Mum, wife and teacher Sobia Shakir from Karachi in Pakistan, poignantly adds: “In art lies, the soul of an artist.”
Fellow writer and interior designer Pratibha Aasat from Hyderabad in southern India says: “All our words are powerful emotions expressing varied feelings, the silent whispers of hearts, connecting every soul and thoughts, so vivid that they represent a complete lived life… to last in the memoirs forever.”
Retired newspaper and magazine editor Nic Outterside from Wolverhampton, England is the editor and publisher of ASIAN VOICES.
“I have edited many publications over the years,” says Nic, “But none has been as challenging and exciting as this.
“I am very lucky to have so many amazingly talented and beautiful people contributing to this hugely diverse project.
“Their writing alone is breath-taking, but it doesn’t stop there… they are all brimming with ideas about the book. Their excitement is palpable and their talent immense.”
Stay tuned for more news about ASIAN VOICES in the run-up to publication in both paperback and on Kindle in the week ending 17 February 2019.