Indian author’s new book is finding its way back home to the Himalayas

BLOG BOOK front

A STUNNING debut book of poetry and prose published two weeks ago is now finding its way back home to a small hill fort town in the Himalayas.

Don’t Look Down by first-time author Ritambhara Chowfin was penned in the town of Almora in the Himalayan foothills of northern India.

But it was edited and published in England and printed in Poland!

Now the first few copies are finding their way back to Almora’s two public libraries and the town’s English speaking journal The Uttaranchal Deep Newspaper.

Don’t Look Down was first published on 6th October in both paperback and e-book and with burgeoning worldwide sales the first press release has been read by more than 10,000 people in places as diverse as Canada, Germany, the UAE, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Netherlands and the USA, as well as hundreds more the UK and India.

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.

Ritambhara says she is overwhelmed by the “amazing and lovely reaction to my book.”

“Although Hindi is my first language, I love English and the UK,” she adds. “The whole process of writing and watching my book being published has been a total joy.

“And now the reaction from friends, family and even former teachers has taken my breath away.”

Editor and publisher Nic Outterside, who owns the publishing house Time is an Ocean says: “Working with Ritambhara has been an utter pleasure.

“I am very proud of this book, and of her. The worldwide reaction to her book has been amazing.”

Don’t Look Down is available in paperback priced at £4.99 (US $6.15) from most Amazon portals

www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Look-Down-Ritambhara-Chowfin/dp/1698038674/

www.amazon.com/Dont-Look-Down-Ritambhara-Chowfin/dp/1698038674/

A Kindle e-book edition of Don’t Look Down is also available for £1.99 (US$2.45) (174IR) from all Amazon portals

www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Look-Down-Ritambhara-Chowfin-ebook/dp/B07YVH8WS3/

www.amazon.com/dp/B07YVH8WS3/

www.amazon.in/dp/B07YVH8WS3

New book of shared humanity written in the Himalayas and edited in England

BLOG Cover

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

www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Look-Down-Ritambhara-Chowfin/dp/1698038674/

www.amazon.com/Dont-Look-Down-Ritambhara-Chowfin/dp/1698038674/

 

A Kindle e-book edition of Don’t Look Down is also available for £1.99 (US$2.45) (174IR) from all Amazon portals

www.amazon.co.uk/Dont-Look-Down-Ritambhara-Chowfin-ebook/dp/B07YVH8WS3/

www.amazon.com/dp/B07YVH8WS3/

www.amazon.in/dp/B07YVH8WS3

 

 

Now three ways to buy worldwide acclaimed Asian Voices anthology

BLOG Three Ways

DUE to huge demand there are now three different ways to buy the blockbuster Asian Voices – a unique anthology of poetry and prose by emerging writers from South Asia.

First published in February this year, the 240 page large format Asian Voices paperback met worldwide acclaim for its originality and diverse content.

A Kindle e-book edition of the book has also sold widely.

Now the book has been published in a slimmed down 100 page Director’s Cut edition.

Divided by partition, war and politics, but united by creativity, brilliance and common humanity, Asian Voices brought together 20 writers from across South Asia to shine a light on their diverse societies.

In 37,000 words these contributors paint graphic pictures of love, beauty, loss, patriarchy, disease and death in their respective countries of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

From chilly Kabul in the north, through Karachi, Delhi and Kolkata to the searing heat of Hyderabad in the south, their tales in poetry and prose are compelling.

The writers include an artist from Lahore, an 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 retired British newspaper editor Nic Outterside.

Nic explains the reason for the new Director’s Cut edition: “While the Asian Voices paperback sells well in the UK and Europe, its sheer size, weight and resultant costs meant many potential buyers in South Asia simply could not afford it, so were left with just the Kindle e-book.

“After consulting the writers I decided to create a special slimmed down edition, which has been judicially edited from 240 to just 100 pages.

“We hope to it will encourage many people to buy the Director’s Cut edition and some may then want to go on and purchase its big sister edition too.”

All three versions of Asian Voices are available directly from Amazon

Asian Voices has been reduced from £7.99 (675 IR) to £6.99 (590 IR)

Worldwide

www.amazon.com/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan/dp/1795571217/

UK

www.amazon.co.uk/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan/dp/1795571217/

Asian Voices – The Director’s Cut is £3.99 (337 IR)

Worldwide https://www.amazon.com/Asian-Voices-Directors-Nic-Outterside/dp/1086136187/

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1086136187/

While the Kindle e-book is £2.00 (169 IR)

UK

www.amazon.co.uk/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

India

www.amazon.in/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

Rest of the World

www.amazon.com/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

 

Now three ways to buy unique anthology of South Asian poetry and prose

 

DUE to huge demand there are now three different ways to buy the blockbuster Asian Voices – a unique anthology of poetry and prose by emerging writers from South Asia.

First published in February this year, the 240 page large format Asian Voices paperback met worldwide acclaim for its originality and diverse content.

A Kindle e-book edition of the book has also sold widely.

Now the book has been published in a slimmed down 100 page Director’s Cut edition.

Divided by partition, war and politics, but united by creativity, brilliance and common humanity, Asian Voices brought together 20 writers from across South Asia to shine a light on their diverse societies.

In 37,000 words, across more than 240 pages and two dozen images, these contributors paint graphic pictures of love, beauty, loss, patriarchy, disease and death in their respective countries of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

From chilly Kabul in the north, through Karachi, Delhi and Kolkata to the searing heat of Hyderabad in the south, their tales in poetry and prose are compelling.

The writers include an artist from Lahore, an 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 retired British newspaper editor Nic Outterside.

Nic explains the reason for the new Director’s Cut edition: “While the Asian Voices paperback sells well in the UK and Europe, its sheer size, weight and resultant costs meant many potential buyers in South Asia simply could not afford it, so were left with just the Kindle e-book.

“After consulting the writers I decided to create a special slimmed down edition, which has been judicially edited from 240 to just 100 pages.

“We hope to it will encourage many people to buy the Director’s Cut edition and some may then want to go on and purchase its big sister edition too.”

All three versions of Asian Voices are available directly from Amazon

Asian Voices has been reduced from £7.99 (675 IR) to £6.99 (590 IR)

Worldwide

www.amazon.com/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan/dp/1795571217/

UK

www.amazon.co.uk/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan/dp/1795571217/

Asian Voices – The Director’s Cut is £3.99 (337 IR)

Worldwide https://www.amazon.com/Asian-Voices-Directors-Nic-Outterside/dp/1086136187/

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1086136187/

While the Kindle e-book is £2.00 (169 IR)

UK

www.amazon.co.uk/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

India

www.amazon.in/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

Rest of the World

www.amazon.com/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

 

Unique new paperback book published worldwide today

BLOG PIC 1.jpg

 A UNIQUE new book of poetry, prose and correspondence by emerging writers from South Asia is published in paperback today.

After six months of writing and production the clamour for Asian Voices was so great that its publisher fast-tracked its Kindle e-book release two weeks ahead of schedule.

And today the paperback followed suit to worldwide acclaim.

Divided by partition, war and politics, but united by creativity, brilliance and common humanity, Asian Voices has brought together 20 writers from across South Asia to shine a light on their diverse societies.

In 37,000 words, across more than 240 pages and two dozen images, these contributors paint graphic pictures of love, beauty, loss, patriarchy, disease and death in their respective countries of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

From chilly Kabul in the north, through Karachi, Delhi and Kolkata to the searing heat of Hyderabad in the south, their tales in poetry and prose are compelling.

The writers include an artist from Lahore, an 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. They are effusive in their excitement about this new book.

Nitika Das, a student from Jodhpur explains: “This book is the output of one dream shared by 20 writers.

“I believe everyone in this world is a writer, everyone has a story to tell… everyone knows how to put it into words. All we need is a pen and some blank paper.”

Fahmida Shaikh, an oceanographer from Bhiwandi believes that the diversity of the individual writers helped shape the book: “As individuals we are all so very different; different cultures, ages, nationalities and genders, but as writers we have been able to form an incredible bond that reflects the many ways that, as humans we have common needs, hopes, dreams and hearts.”

BLOG PIC 2

Sobia Shakir Moon from Karachi, Pakistan

Sakshi Walia, an English Literature student from Amity University in New Delhi adds: “Together, I believe our words are shining a blinding light on the reality of being human, in a world of seeming chaos.”

Interior designer Pratibha Aasat from Hyderabad in 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.”

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.

“I hope all the readers get as much pleasure reading this book, as I did editing it.”

Minnie Rai, a writer and 26-year-old refugee from Kabul, who now lives in London, sums up the ethos of Asian Voices: We don’t become by knowing… we become by doing. 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.”

  • Asian Voices – an anthology of new poetry and prose from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan is available in paperback from:

Worldwide

www.amazon.com/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan/dp/1795571217/

UK

www.amazon.co.uk/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan/dp/1795571217/

The Kindle e-book is also available from all Amazon outlets, including:

UK

www.amazon.co.uk/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

India

www.amazon.in/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

Rest of the World

www.amazon.com/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

Unique new book fast-tracked for worldwide release today

blog kindle

DEMAND for a unique new book has fast-tracked its publication to today (30 January)… 12 days ahead of schedule.

After six months of writing and production the clamour for Asian Voices was so great that its publisher released it worldwide as a Kindle e-book this morning, rather than wait for the scheduled 11 February launch.

The paperback version of the book will be published next week – also well ahead of schedule.

Divided by partition, war and politics, but united by creativity, brilliance and common humanity, Asian Voices has brought together 20 emerging writers from across South Asia to shine a light on their diverse societies.

In 37,000 words, across more than 250 pages and two dozen images, these contributors paint graphic pictures of love, beauty, loss, patriarchy, disease and death in their respective countries of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

From cool Kabul in the north, through Karachi and Kolkata to the searing heat of Hyderabad in the south, their tales in poetry and prose are compelling.

The writers include an artist from Lahore, an 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.

They are effusive in their excitement about this new book.

Nitika Das, a student from Jodhpur explains: “This book is the output of one dream shared by 20 writers.

“I believe everyone in this world is a writer, everyone has a story to tell… everyone knows how to put it into words. All we need is a pen and some blank paper.”

Fahmida Shaikh, an oceanographer from Bhiwandi believes that the diversity of the individual writers helped shape the book: “As individuals we are all so very different; different cultures, ages, nationalities and genders, but as writers we have been able to form an incredible bond that reflects the many ways that, as humans we have common needs, hopes, dreams and hearts.”

Sakshi Walia, an English Literature student from Amity University in New Delhi adds: “Together, I believe our words are shining a blinding light on the reality of being human, in a world of seeming chaos.”

Pratik Arti Prakash, an electronic engineer from Mumbai sees a common theme: “You could use all the milk in the world to paint it white, still deep down the canvas is black. We learn from everyone but mostly fail to learn from ourselves.”

Agathaa Shelling, a 12th grade school student from Ahmedabad completes many sentiments:For all that has lived the ruins, it is art. The people, the poetry and the words. It’s beautiful how, the boundaries have embraced love so beautifully.”

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.”

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.

“I hope all the readers get as much pleasure reading this book, as I did editing it.”

Minnie Rai, a writer and 26-year-old refugee from Kabul, who now lives in London, sums up the ethos of Asian Voices: We don’t become by knowing… we become by doing.

“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.

Asian Voices – an anthology of new poetry and prose from India, Pakistan and Afghanistan is available from Amazon at £3 a copy (280IR).

UK

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

India

https://www.amazon.in/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

Rest of the World

https://www.amazon.com/Asian-Voices-anthology-Pakistan-Afghanistan-ebook/dp/B07N7HY1VZ/

 

New book explores love, death, religion and rape in South Asia

BLOG AV COVER

A UNIQUE new book is set to take South Asia by storm as it addresses burning issues such as love, death, rape and religion in the developing sub-continent.

Divided by partition, war and politics, but united by creativity and common humanity, Asian Voices has brought together 20 emerging writers from across the region to shine a light on their diverse societies.

In 37,000 words, across 260 pages, the contributors paint graphic pictures in poetry and prose of issues which divide and unite people in their respective countries of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The book is divided into 10 sections: Darkness, Light, Love, Loss, Heaven, Hell, Life, Death, War and Peace.

And it is within these sections that the diverse Asian Voices can be heard.

With an infant mortality rate of 4.4% in India and 6.1% in Pakistan (the UK rate is 0.28%) and an adult death rate of 31% and 21% respectively (UK rate 10.3%) – an even higher rate in war-torn Afghanistan – it is hardly surprising that the issue of death features strongly.

Mortality is dealt with sensitively by the Asian Voices writers in at least three sections of the book.

This extract on coping with grief by Lahore based writer Shahreen Iftikhar is an example:

“They say, there are five stages of grief;

I got stuck in denial, with no reasons to heal.

Is this what life is; scribbles on an empty sheet?

Making no sense, just filling the voids of our being?

I said to myself: ‘To Hell with all this grieving and the misery.

It’s time for me to let go of all the tragedies.’

All I had to do was believe.

That is all it took for me to heal.”

 

All countries in South Asia live under different degrees of social patriarchy and this is reflected in the treatment of women.

Rape is the third most common crime against women in India.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau 2013 annual report, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. Out of these, 24,470 (98%) were committed by someone known to the victim. And many more rapes go unreported.

Similarly, physical abuse, house-arrest imprisonment and even bride-burning (now illegal) also go largely unreported.

One of the Asian Voices writers, Janvi from Jaipur has already made a name for herself in calling out for social reform.

This extract speaks volumes:

And then one day we decide to raise our voice 

But again, this society shut us by claiming it as useless noise.

The politicians and the media cry that they worship women and cow!

Is this a way of worshipping? But How?

As our wails grow louder and louder about the demons residing in our own town 

They paint henna on our hands and send us off to an unknown place, looking like a clown.

Wondering that this was not the life that we were destined to live, we decide to put an end

And here you go, creating loads of new monsters and making it Trend.

We are sacrificing ourselves from centuries just so that you know

And here you go, treating us again like the trash that you throw. 

We’ve had enough, being the sacrificed Goddess 

Next time we’ll turn this country into a bloody mess.

 

Religion also resonates within the pages of the book.

India is home to at least nine recognised religions, and while Islam dominates in Pakistan, there are also significant minorities of Christians, Hindus and Ahmadi, and even more diversity in Afghanistan.

So the sections on Life, Heaven and Hell deal with each writer’s views of spirituality and faith.

This piece by 16-year-old Shaheeba from Sibsagar touches many pulses:

How could she survive further?

When her life resided in this heart rate.

Though not here, but in Heaven

They merged to a single soul

Whenever their love tale was evoked

It started raining

Dripping all with pure love.

This flooded the river of love

Which immersed both the fragments of the hamlet

With the virtue of love.

There was love everywhere

Flowing in the winds of hamlet

Residing in the lifeless soil

Felt in the arms of the mother

And in the oneness with God.

Some souls are united in Heaven.

Some stories are plenary despite being partial.

 

The one thing which binds all the writers together is the eternal subject of Love.

For centuries the Indian sub-continent has given birth to some of the world’s greatest love poets. And they continue to emerge as we enter 2019.

This poem by Agathaa Shelling of Ahmedabad, explores that deepest of all human emotions:

You’re the sanctified sacrament in the shrine of love. I’ll devour you and I’ll become pious forever.

Yes, I’m an atheist and there’s only one religion that I practise. That’s love. And there’s only one deity from whom I receive my hymn… it’s you.

And if this is not love. I don’t know what it is. A little bit of fall in your summer. A little bit of rains in your spring. Sunshine in your winters. And a chilly gust of wind in scorching heat.

“There was once a king of verses. Power were his words. Mightier than any sword. And then there was a queen of metaphors. Deep were her rhymes. Deeper than any ocean.

He weaved a tiara out of his words and she sharpened his sword out of hers.

And that’s how they announced their love, with poetry.”

 

Minnie Rai, a writer and 26-year-old refugee from Kabul, who now lives in London, sums up the ethos of Asian Voices: “We don’t become by knowing… we become by doing.

“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.

 

  • Asian Voices will be published in both paperback and Kindle e-book in February.