Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Shrayan - Abha Iyengar

Abha Iyengar's novel Shrayan - an adult fantasy tale - explores an individual’s quest for acceptance in an unfamiliar and unforgiving world: Shrayan emerges from the underground, a fully formed creature, not quite human in appearance. In the dark forest where he finds himself, he is surrounded by snakes. Brought to the city and made to dance as an ajooba, he breaks free and learns dancing and martial arts. He falls in love to discover that beauty has its own price tag. The night he achieves stardom, he leaves his clamouring fans and takes to the streets, hoping to find his lost son.

In his quest for his self, Shrayan discovers aspects of his personality that he did not know existed, and also learns to come to terms with what he is and deal with the challenges that life throws up for him as he knows best. Love is difficult to find and hold, friendship has different meanings, and trying to fit into a world concept is neither possible not required, these are some of the things he learns.

Abha Iyengar is an internationally published freelance writer and poet who lives in New Delhi, India. She is a Kota Press Poetry Anthology contest winner, conducts creative writing and poetry workshops and has written several screenplays. Her poem film “Parwaaz” has won a special jury prize at the film festival at Patras, Greece and has been screened to acclaim at various international film festivals. Abhha blogs at Encounters of an Everyday Kind, where she currently hosts the new edition of the language place blog carnival: "The Other".

Abha Iyengar: Shrayan

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Chalk Circle - Intercultural Prizewinning Essays

Award-winning editor Tara L. Masih put out a call in 2007 for Intercultural Essays dealing with the subjects of “culture, race, and a sense of place.” The prizewinners are gathered for the first time in The Chalk Circle - a ground-breaking anthology that explores many facets of culture not previously found under one cover. The powerful, honest, thoughtful voices—Native American, African American, Asian, European, Jewish, White—speak daringly on topics not often discussed in the open, on subjects such as racism, anti-Semitism, war, self-identity, gender, societal expectations.

The Chalk Cirlce received the Skipping Stones Honor Award that recognizes outstanding authentic books and teaching resources (more here: Skipping Stones)

"The Chalk Circle is intelligently and thoughtfully compiled, unified by a belief in writing to further our comprehension of what can (or should) define us, as individuals and as a global culture" - Tori Grant-Welhouse at Her Circle (link)

Tara L. Masih received a BA in English and a minor in sociology from C. W. Post College, and an MA in Writing and Publishing from Emerson College. She is editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, and her debut story collection, Where the Dog Star Never Glows, was a National Best Books Awards finalist.

The Chalk Circle - Intercultural Prizewinning Essays
paperback, 220 pages

Related links: books on gender + race , anthologies

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

language/place blog carnival: The Other

In these times of globalization, when everything can get quite up close and personal, 23 individuals share with us their idea of the ‘Other' in the new edition of the Language > Place blog carnival at Encountering the Other.

This edition is hosted by writer and poet Abha Iyengar who notes: "What is the ‘Other’? In its simplest sense, anyone or anything that is not ‘you’ is the ‘other’. So the alienation begins... In language and place, everything about the other attracts and repels, but its existence is evident, its pull even more so. That is why we travel, why we seek a certain novelty, why we embrace or get repelled by what we see, hear or fail to understand. We may often find ourselves more at home with the others. Welcome aboard and take the tip!"

Abha Iyengar is an internationally published freelance writer and poet from India. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, magazines and literary journals, both in print and online. She has won several literary contests and has written several screenplays. Her poem film “Parwaaz” has won a special jury prize at the film festival at Patras, Greece

Call for the next edition:
Edition #16 of > language > place will be hosted by visual artist and Florida resident Steve Wing. The feature theme is "Translation" (in all its possible forms). Contributions are invited from writers, photographers, poets, translators, and anyone with an interest in this topic. As always, we welcome a wide variety of posts. Submissons open June 1, Deadline is June 25, guidelines.

About the  >Language >Place blog carnival
To create a collaborate cyber journey that features international perspectives on language and place, in different formats, and with different languages included - that's the concept of this collaborate project. The main language is english, the carnival consists of a central page that links to all participating blog. An overview of previous editions and more background information is available at the Language Place info page.

Encountering the Other in Language/Place
edition 15 of the language/place blog carnival

related links: web projects, the human condition

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fast Times in Palestine - Pamela Olson

In Fast Times in Palestine, Pamela Olson - a small town girl from eastern Oklahoma who goes on a supposed trip to Europe after finishing a physics degree from Stanford University - chronicles her journey from aimless ex-bartender to Ramallah-based journalist and foreign press coordinator for a Palestinian presidential candidate.

"A moving, inspiring account of life in Palestine that's enormously informative yet reads like a novel." - Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace

This book, written from inside the Gaza strip and the West Bank, focuses not only on violence, terror, and social and political upheavals but also on the daily rounds of house parties, concerts, barbecues, weddings, jokes, harvests, and romantic drama that happen in between.

The first chapter of the book is online as excerpt: From the Midwest to the Middle East

Pamela Olson grew up in Oklahoma and studied physics and political science at Stanford University, class of 2002. She lived in Ramallah for two years. In January of 2006, she moved to Washington, DC and worked at a Defense Department think tank, but became disillusioned with the prospect of changing Washington from the inside, and in 2007, left DC and wrote Fast Times in Palestine.

Pamela Olson: Fast Times in Palestine

Monday, May 07, 2012

My Mother Was an Upright Piano - Tania Hershman (Tangent)

My Mother Was an Upright Piano is Tania Hershman's second collection of short stories, and follows The White Road which was commended by the judges of the 2009 Orange Award for New Writers. It includes 56 short short fictions, some of which were broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

"Tania Hershman writes with such passion and playfulness, the pain and the fear and the hope woven through her stories hits all the harder. The result is beautiful, funny and quietly devastating." - Nicola Walker, actress (Spooks, Inside Men)

For more about the book, visit the book trailer.
There also is a new expat-interview with Tania online at Christopher Allen's I Must Be Off blog: interview link.

Tania Hershman was born in London in 1970, moved to Jerusalem in 1994, and returned to the UK in August 2009. After making a living for 13 years as a science journalist, writing for publications such as Wired and NewScientist, she now focuses on short fiction.

Tania Hershman: My Mother Was an Upright Piano
ISBN: 9781906477608