Kitaab announces 15 new titles to mark 15th anniversary

15 Books to Look Forward to in 2020/2021 from Kitaab

Kitaab celebrates its 15th anniversary in 2020. What started as a literary blog in 2005 has now grown to a credible indie publishing house, connecting Asian writers with global readers. 

To mark this milestone in the journey of Kitaab’s life, we are announcing 15 titles that we are very excited about–they will be launched this year and next year. A few of them have just been released, and some will be released at the virtual Singapore Writers’ Festival this year.

  1. Dreams in Moonless Night by Hussain Ul Haque (Eng. translation by Syed Sarwar Hussain)

This much-appreciated multilayered novel spans the traumatic years of the aftermath of Indian Independence to the current apocalyptical state of affairs. It tells the story of Ismael Merchant who even after losing his whole family in a communal carnage represents the intrinsic Indian passion for love and brotherhood. 

This title will be virtually launched at the Singapore Writers Festival 2020.

Hussain Ul Haque is a well-known literary figure in the Urdu world. He is the recipient of many honours for his writings. He received the Akhtar Urainvi Award for fiction in 1993, RajBhasha Award for Fiction and Poetry 1998, and the American Urdu Society Award, Maryland, USA, 2012, among others.

Syed Sarwar Hussain (translator) teaches English at the Department of Linguistics & Translation Studies, College of Languages & Translation, King Saud University, Riyadh. Prof. Hussain has been teaching English for the past thirty-eight years, and has published six books. He is currently working on the translation of Toni Morrison’s ‘Song of Solomon’. 

2. The Mask Under My Face by Mithran Somasundrum 

Attiya’s cheating husband is murdered in a Bangkok nightclub, leaving her to raise their ten year old son, Den, alone. The killer, Surapat Wongsuphan, is a member of the country’s “elite”, who expects his father’s wealth to once again get him out of trouble. But this time it’s different. As Thailand’s Old Money families rally against the Wongsuphan’s, Attiya, Den and Surapat’s lives will change in the most unexpected ways — even as fate binds them together.

Set in Bangkok, Vientiane and London, The Mask Under My Face is about what happens when those above the law fall within the reach of the powerless.

Mithran Somasundrum was born in Colombo and grew up in London. He has lived and worked in Bangkok for almost twenty years. His short fiction has been published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, The Sun, The Minnesota Review, Natural Bridge, and Best Asian Short Stories 2017, among others. He has written on Thai politics for The Guardian (UK).

  1. Redshift by Neil Daswani

The poems in this book were written over three decades and needed to be shared, before they moved away into redshift. Many of these poems are about love, both lost and found. This eclectic volume has something for every reader: verses about the balm and beauty of nature, high school physics, humour and occasionally the surreal. More recent poems explore the emptiness around Covid-19 or grieving and the hope that lies beyond. 

This title will be virtually launched at the Singapore Writers Festival 2020.

Neil Daswani is a Singaporean author with an international background. He is a banker by day and a poet by night who now writes poetry prolifically and often in tandem with artists. 

  1. The Throne by Isa Kamari

It is a gripping story of a person suffering from schizophrenia in modern Singapore. The narrative traces the alienation and failures that he faces from teenage years to adulthood which result in mental disorder. It is both realistic and allegorical at the same time and makes use of poetry to bring parts of the prose seamlessly together. The novel also attempts to explore the intricate relationship between insanity, creativity and spirituality. It is through the understanding and mastering of this delicate yet fertile balance and unity that the healing process takes place, but it is not without much suffering and sacrifice.

Isa Kamari has written 10 novels, 3 collections of poetry, a collection of short stories, a book of essays on Singapore Malay poetry, a collection of theatre scripts and lyrics of 2 song albums, all in Malay. His novels have been translated into English, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Thai, Indonesian and Mandarin. Translation into Hindi, Spanish and Russian is also in the pipeline. His collections of essays and selected poems have been translated into English. His first novel in English, Tweet was published in 2016. Isa was conferred the Southeast Asia Write Award from Thailand in 2006, the Singapore Cultural Medallion in 2007, the Anugerah Tun Seri Lanang from the Singapore Malay Language Council in 2009, and the Mastera Literary Award from Brunei Darussalam in 2018.

  1. Camera & Quill by Neil Daswani and Anita Thomas

Camera & Quill began as a synthesis of photography and poetry between author and photographer Anita A. Thomas and poet Neil Daswani: photo moments translated into words. The photographs and poetry have their own separate titles to reflect the perspectives of the poet and photographer. 

Neil Daswani is a Singaporean author with an international background. He is a banker by day and a poet by night who now writes poetry prolifically and often in tandem with artists. 

Anita Thomas is a writer & media producer who has worked in India, Indonesia and Singapore. She began her career in advertising before setting up Moving Pictures, a production house. She runs SingaporeforKids, a website for Singapore residents and visitors. Her first book, Senserly, Amako, was launched in Singapore in 2018.

  1. Why Now? by Neil Daswani

Neil Daswani takes you on an eclectic journey signposted by references to Norse and Greek mythology; poetry from the Tang dynasty; Buddhist philosophy and Korean phonetics; the power of wild nature; humour as well as grief and bereavement. His poems on Covid-19 search for hope in unity. 

Neil Daswani is a Singaporean author with an international background. He is a banker by day and a poet by night who now writes poetry prolifically and often in tandem with artists. 

  1. The Best Asian Short Stories 2020, edited by Zafar Anjum

The Best Asian Short stories (TBASS) 2020 is the fourth volume in the annual series. Founder of Kitaab and the series editor of TBASS Zafar Anjum has edited this series, which showcases original stories from across Asia primarily focusing on the themes of migration and climate change. 

This title will be virtually launched at the Singapore Writers Festival 2020.

Zafar Anjum is a Singapore-based writer, publisher and filmmaker. He is the author of The Resurgence of Satyam, Startup Capitals: Discovering the Global Hotspots of Innovation, and Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician. His short story collections include The Singapore Decalogue and Kafka in Ayodhya and Other Stories. He is also the founder of Kitaab and Filmwallas. 

  1. The Best Asian Crime Stories 2020, edited by Richard Lord

After the success of The Best Asian Short Stories, Kitaab is launching The Best Asian Crime Stories, edited by Richard Lord. Fittingly for a crime collection, this debut anthology offers thirteen stories, stretching from India to Japan, with key stops along the way in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. Some of the authors whose work is being showcased in this anthology are Priya Sood, Carol Pang, Timothy Yam, Lee Ee Leen, Wendy Jones Nakanishi, Ricardo Albay, and Aaron Ang, among others.

This title will be virtually launched at the Singapore Writers Festival 2020.

Richard Lord has written or co-written over 20 books. He was the editor of two popular crime fiction anthologies: Crime Scene Singapore and Crime Scene Asia. He wrote the acclaimed novel The Strangler’s Waltz, and one of his crime short stories was adapted as a TV mini-series by Singapore’s Mediacorp.

  1. The Best Asian Travel Writing 2020 edited by Dr. Percy Fernandez

Stories from the inaugural edition of The Best Asian Travel Writing offer you glimpses into the curious, strange and wonderful experiences  in Asia through the eyes and words of our writers. They travelled to find the roots in Cherrapunji, discover the wonders of Bamiyan, volunteer in the high Himalaya, looking for Malgudi among others that offer a frisson of excitement and expectation. 

This title will be virtually launched at the Singapore Writers Festival 2020.

Currently the Professor & Chairperson, School of Media & Communication MAHE, Dubai, Dr.  Percy Fernandez has straddled the world of academics, print, TV, online media and has produced documentaries and TV shows for media organizations like Channel 4, the BBC, Fox TV. He was the expedition photographer for the 2013 NCC Everest Expedition. 

  1. Light of the Blood Moon by Naisha Gautam (YA Fiction)

A simple hunt was all it was supposed to be. A fictional ghost family was all it was supposed to be. But in the light of the blood moon, anything is possible. Crystal and Jade did not see that coming. When they picked up that message at the cemetery, no one would have thought that anything could happen. Four new friends, a haunted house, and a ghost combat later, Crystal and Jade seriously beg to differ. 

This title will be virtually launched at the Singapore Writers Festival 2020.

12 year-old Naisha Gautam studies in Singapore and is passionate about writing. She started working on her debut novella, Light of the Blood Moon, when she was 9 years old and completed it within a year.

  1. Singapore at Home: Life across Lines, edited by Dr. Pallavi Narayan and Iman Fahim Hameed

The well-worn spaces of the home can both maintain as well as subvert gendered notions. Do they uplift all genders’ dreams or border on the edge of a nightmare? What are those lines that are drawn so restrictively in our minds? Can we overstep them now and then at the risk of upsetting the status quo? Does that collection of rooms we name “home” quietly absorb gendered meaning? In our conversations and actions with those who make up our family, what are those unnamed feelings that we battle with in our heads? Or is it, conversely, here that we find our rest?

Singapore at Home: Life across Lines calls for an urgent reflection on everyday life in the island-state, on the pleasures and frustrations that the word “home” embodies.

Pallavi NarayanPallavi Narayan, Ph.D., is both a creative and academic writer, as well as a visual artist (photography and watercolour with pen-and-ink), with publications in anthologies and journals. A PhD in English, she has worked extensively in trade, academic and art book publishing in Singapore and India. She has spoken at various literary platforms including the Singapore Writers Festival, Singapore Book Publishers Association and National University of Singapore. 

Iman Fahim Hameed is a researcher with an avid interest in writing and social sciences. Her first published work “Colomboscapes” appears on We Are A Website (2017). She conceptualised and directed her first project Ungender Home in 2018 to explore gendered spaces though multiple artforms. This anthology builds upon her original concept.

  1. Taluk Tales: Selected Short Stories by Kalam Haidiri – Translated with an Introduction by Syed Sarwar Hussain (Foreword by Tabish Khair)

Born in the ancient city of Munger, in the state of Bihar, India, Kalamul Haq, better known by his pen name, Kalam Haidri, was an Urdu short story writer, journalist, and literary critic, and is widely regarded as one of the important literary figures of twentieth century Urdu literature.  

One of the most out-spoken writers of his time, Haidri started his career as a journalist  but soon accompanied his journalism with creative writing. He was deeply influenced by socialist ideologies, and wrote extensively against the politics of sectarianism and religion. He was against stereotyped and decadently religious writers, of the traditionally genteel Urdu school, but also deeply immersed in history and myths. As an advocate of humanity, he unstintingly supported the workers. He lived away from the religious politics of the Muslim community around him, because both as a journalist and as a writer, he struggled for and believed in the progress of humanity as a whole. He never favoured partisan politics. He always said that he was a writer first, and then a journalist, and the purpose of his journalism was to motivate or encourage young writers. His journalistic writings are spread in the pages of the Urdu monthlies Naghma aur Noor (Song and Light), Subah-e Nau (The New Morning), Aahang (Harmony), and the Urdu weeklies Morcha (Demonstration), and Bodh Dharti (Buddha’s Land), where he wrote unsparingly against exploitation, negligence and regression of labourers and peasants.

A full translation of his selected works into English has been long overdue, and we hope this anthology will fill that gap, affording further inspiration to young writers. 

  1. Isra Meraaj– The Outer Stairways Towards the Lord of the Universe by Alacorn

The Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) lived in what is now called Saudi Arabia in the years 570 CE to 632 CE. According to Islam, God took Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on a two-part astounding journey known as Isra and Meraaj sometime around the year 620 CE. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was visited by the Angels at Mecca who gave him (pbuh) a celestial steed called Buraq to ride on. He (pbuh) tumbled over a pitcher of water when he (pbuh) was carried away by the Buraq. The Buraq reached Masjid Aqsa at Jerusalem in a twinkling of an eye. He (pbuh) ascended to the Heavens and to the celestial Lote Tree through a wormhole coined as the celestial ladder. A vehicle called Rafraf was exchanged to travel beyond the point of the Lote Tree. The Raraf also had to be abandoned at a certain point and Muhammad (pbuh) traveled alone to meet his (pbuh) Lord.  He (pbuh) came back from the heavens to Jerusalem and back home just in time to catch his (pbuh) falling pitcher of water which he (pbuh) tumbled over at the beginning when he (pbuh) was carried away by the Buraq! 

This book attempts to explain the mystery of Isra and Meraaj by the Quranic directives with a scientific and spiritual tint by exploring space time dimensions, the human personality, the meaning of Buraq and how it is related to the dormant primal energy innate in humans, the psychological perception and history through unifying different branches of knowledge in order to bring it to the very frontiers of our intellect.  The book aims to give some possible explanation or at least point to some potential direction without putting a capstone over it thus, leaving it open for readers to explore further. 

Alacorn (author’s pen name) was born in Singapore and has been drawn to the world of spirituality since his childhood days. After completing his business studies, he started pursuing human and religious sciences. His spiritual prowess was awakened after his foray into a few sufi orders and introduction to the Yogic path of Kriya Yoga. Presently a householder and a working professional, Alacorn also closely guides sincere seekers towards self-realization. 

  1. Seen and Felt by Neil Daswani

This is a first-of-its-kind collaboration between five of South Korea’s renowned contemporary artists and Singaporean poet, Neil Daswani. Together they have created a synthesis of paintings and poetry. The eminent artists are Inseob Lee (Chairman of the Seoul Fine Art Association), Junggyo Lee, Hyejo Kwon, Seunghyun Lim and Kristal Oh.

Neil Daswani is a Singaporean author with an international background. He is a banker by day and a poet by night who now writes poetry prolifically and often in tandem with artists. 

  1. Search for Identity: Enlightening the Dark Self – Edited by Dr. Bishun Kumar and Prof. Vijaya Sethi

“Search for identity” is a commemorative volume consisting of winning entries of the short story competition held during the International Literary Fest 2018, organised by Shri Ramswaroop Memorial University (SRMU) Lucknow-Deva Road, Barabanki in association with Kitaab, Singapore. Thematically, the search for identity is an attempt to explore something significant in life by recognizing one’s own self. 

The present anthology has 13 short stories, (10 are in English and 3 are in Hindi). Every story is a representative of a unique identity of man. 

Prof. Vijaya Sethi, is Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, SRMU, India, and Dr. Bishun Kumar is Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, SRMU, India.


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