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London Event Celebrates Diaspora Creativity

Lord Bhikhu Parekh

Call for give-and-take between British, Indian literary traditions….writes K. Santhosh

Lord Bhikhu Parekh
Lord Bhikhu Parekh

A literary event held at the St. Stephen’s Hall of the House of Lords under the patronage of Lord Bhikhu Parekh and writer-editor Yogesh Patel, called for meaningful interactions between the British and Indian diasporic literary traditions.

Lord Parekh, political theorist and former professor at the University of Hull’s Department of Politics and Legislative Studies, stated that diversity was now projected mostly on TV and little elsewhere. “Diversity is very important. As diaspora, we need to tell our experience and require the platform for it. I’m happy to see a wealth of talent here from the Indian diaspora.”

Delivering the keynote address, Zata Banks, British artist and director of PoetryFilm, pointed out the importance of exploring semiotics and meaning within art forms.

Lord Parekh and the Right Honorable Usha Kumari Prashar presented the 2015-16 Word Masala Foundation Awards to Meena Alexander, Usha Akella, Shanta Acharya, Daljit Nagra, Kavita A. Jindal, Siddhartha Bose, Usha Kishore, Reginald Massey and Debjani Chatterjee.     Mona Dash received the Crowdfunding Award. The winners recited their poems.

The organisers felicitated publishers Angela Jarman (Arc Publications), Daljit Nagra (Faber&Faber), Todd Swift (Eyewear Publishing), Emma Wright (Emma Press), Jamie McGarry (Valley Press), Rosemarie Hudon (HopeRoad Publishing) and Bobby Nayyar (Limehouse Books) on their contribution to promoting Indian diasporic writers.

Yogesh Patel
Yogesh Patel

Collections of poems by Saleem Peeradeena (Valley Press) and Bobby Nayyar (Limehouse Books) were launched in Britain at the function.

Yogesh Patel, editor-director of Word Masala Foundation and Skylark Publications U.K., said the Foundation aimed at being a catalyst in creating a canvass of opportunities for Indian diasporic writers.

“The Foundation achieves this through our free e-zine going out to thousands of readers and anyone may subscribe to it by identifying and awarding the rare diaspora talent, by publishing books such as our ‘Word Masala Award Winners 2015’ anthology available from our website at www.skylarkpublications.co.uk and Mona Dash’s collection through crowdfunding featuring in the same website, by stimulating and developing projects with other publishers, by placing our talents with the publishers and by organising competitions. Our House of Lords programme exhibited all these attributes.”

He spoke about his endeavors to showcasing genuine talent. “For one-and-a-half months leading to this event, I had been working on placing poet Usha Kishore’s collection with Eyewear Publishing, U.K.’s leading, reputed and innovative publishers of poetry. Todd Swift, a poet and owner of the publishing company, made a dramatic announcement to publish this book and surprised everyone. Such efforts go a long way in penetrating the ever difficult market.”

Lord Parekh, signed off, saying he was happy about seeing the poets in Committee Room 4 A of House of Lords. “I’m used to seeing politicians here. It feels good to see a lot of poets here instead.”

Yogesh Reading at Lauderdale House
Yogesh Reading at Lauderdale House

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