A sensational debut book of poetry and prose is published worldwide this week despite its writer and editor living 5,000 miles apart.
Don’t Look Down by first-time author Ritambhara Chowfin was entirely penned in the small hill fort town of Almora, some 5,400ft above sea level in the Himalayan foothills in northern India.
It has been edited and published by award winning editor Nic Outterside in Wolverhampton in the English west Midlands.
This transcendent work forms part of a personal journey out of darkness and into light, where love and theft are in constant conflict.
Within Don’t Look Down readers will find the thoughts and poetic musings of a young Indian woman born and raised in a part of the planet visited by very few others.
The leopards growling in the forest, the black bear snuffling among the lush vegetation, an old witch casting a spell for childbirth and the tall cedars and pines swaying in the lashing rain, may be a world away from the one you inhabit.
But this young woman is exactly like anyone else, whether they live in New York, London, Cairo, Buenos Aires, Lagos or Melbourne.
She has the same fears, the same loves, the same faults, the same frailties, the same hopes, the same passions and the same emotions; and these all come tumbling out in her poetry and prose.
Like everyone else she is human, and is trying to make sense of her life and this world.
Ritambhara is a 25-year-old graduate in English Language and Literature from Amity University in Delhi. She is the eldest of three siblings and returned to her home town for the inspiration to write about the world she knows.
Don’t Look Down is her first published book.
“Although Hindi is my first language, I love English and the UK,” she says.
“I have relations in Warrington and my dream is one day to visit them.
“I reached out to Nic earlier this year as we both had dealings with a story-teller in my town and I knew him to be a brilliant editor. He agreed immediately to edit and publish my first book. And the whole process has been a joy.”
Nic, who owns the publishing house Time is an Ocean says: “Working with Ritambhara has been an utter pleasure. Her writing is so deeply filled with emotion and her use of English is stunning.
“I am very proud of this book, and of her. It is amazing what can be achieved across 5,000 miles by email, WhatsApp and Instagram,” he added.
“The added bonus is I now consider Ritambhara as a very close friend.”
Don’t Look Down is available in paperback priced at £4.99 (US $6.15) from most Amazon portals
A Kindle e-book edition of Don’t Look Down is also available for £1.99 (US$2.45) (174IR) from all Amazon portals