Author Archives: Zafar Anjum

Kitaab launches “the best asian travel writing 2020” at singapore writers festival 2020

The inaugural volume of The Best Asian Travel Writing 2020 (TBASS 2020), edited by Percy Fernandez, has been launched at the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) this year.

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.

The writers featured in this volume include Arjen Joyce, Vibhav Bisht, Zac O’Yeah, Anita Anand, Suzanne Kamata, Harsimran Kaur, Robin Boustead, Martin Bradley and Anindita Das.

Copies of this volume can be ordered from the SWF festival bookstore here (local shipping is free) until 15 Dec 2020.

About the editor
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.

All volumes of The Best Asian series can be ordered from kitaabstore.com.

Kitaab launches the best asian short stories 2020 at the singapore writers festival (swf) 2020

The Best Asian Short Stories 2020

With a Foreword by celebrated poet, novelist and critic Tabish Khair and edited by the founder of Kitaab, Zafar Anjum, the fourth volume of The Best Asian Short Stories 2020 (TBASS 2020) has been launched at the Singapore Writers Festival (SWF) this year.

From the mountains of Uttrakhand in India to the Rocky Mountain in Canada, the stories in this volume represent the multitude of Asian voices that capture the wishes, aspirations, dreams and conflicts of people inhabiting a vast region of our planet. While some contributions deal with the themes of migration, pandemics and climate change, others give us a peek into the inner workings of the human heart through the prism of these well-wrought stories. This volume is the expression of a community, “a community of Asian writing that stands on its own two – no, its own million – feet!”, as novelist and critic Tabish Khair says in his ‘Foreword’. 

This volume features 17 stories from writers across the world. They include Scott P. Salcedo, Seema Punwani, Kelly Kaur, Yap Swi Neo, Karen Kwek, Murali Kamma, Darryl Whetter, Adeline Tan, Jasmine Adams, Sarah Soh, Moazzam Sheikh, Sudeep Sen, Areeba Nasir, Donna Tang, Phong Huynh, Farah Ghuznavi and Jon Gresham. Three stories by writers Eric Wee, Prachi Topiwala and Sonaha Manzoor have been selected as Web specials that will be published at tbass.org.

Copies of this volume can be ordered from the festival bookstore here (local shipping is free).

About the editor
Zafar Anjum is a Singapore-based writer, publisher and filmmaker. He is the author of The Resurgence of Satyam (Penguin Random House, 2012), Startup Capitals: Discovering the Global Hotspots of Innovation (Penguin Random House, 2014), and Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician (Penguin Random House, 2014). His short story collections include The Singapore Decalogue (Red Wheelbarrow Press, 2012) and Kafka in Ayodhya and Other Stories (Kitaab, 2015). He is the series editor of the Best Asian series. He is also the founder of Kitaab and Filmwallas.

All volumes of The Best Asian series can be ordered from kitaabstore.com.

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.

Read more

Kitaab contributes to Singapore Charity to support migrant workers

Kitaab Singapore is delighted to announce that it has contributed a sum of SGD 200 (over INR 10,000) from the e-publication of Tabish Khair’s QUARANTINED SONNETS: Sex, Shakespeare and Money to a Singaporean Charity, Migrant Workers’ Centre, towards the Migrant Workers’ Assistance Fund.

The ebook was published to raise money for migrant workers. We thank all our readers and supporters for buying e-copies of the book.

Why should you watch A Suitable Boy?

There were three great post-Independence Indian novels that were considered worthy of screen adaptation ever since they appeared on the scene: Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy and Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games.

While Rushdie’s and Chandra’s works eventually saw the light of the day on screen, Seth’s 1993 novel, A Suitable Boy, had to wait for the deft hands of director Mira Nair to bring it to life on screen.

Nair has adapted Seth’s doorstopper of a novel, which has the reputation of being one the longest English language novels into a six-part series for the BBC. That’s a feat in itself. Secondly, it is the first time the BBC has had a historical drama cast entirely with people of colour.

A Suitable Boy is set in 1951, against the backdrop of a newly independent and post-partition India. At the centre of the story is 19-year-old Hindu girl, Lata, who is under pressure from her widowed mother to find an appropriate husband. A chance encounter with the Muslim boy Kabir sees Lata fall in love, but their religious differences echo the wider clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the country. When Lata’s mother learns of their affair, the relationship is forbidden. There follows a vast, intergenerational coming-of-age story, involving four families and more than 110 characters over the course of 18 months, right across India. It is a grandiose reflection of a nation coming to terms with a new identity.

The series was three years in the making, and Seth was said to have agreed to the series on condition that Andrew Davies – who has adapted everything from Pride and Prejudice to War and Peace – was at the helm. Even though the series is set almost 70 years ago, it eerily reflects the present atmosphere in India when inter-community relations have strained to their worst.

The series’ director Mira Nair told a newspaper that her goal is for viewers to find themselves enveloped in the often conflicting worlds of India, rather than consuming the show as an inconsequential period piece.

Will the series be as popular and as loved as the novel? The initial reception has been good but only time will give the final verdict.

Independence Day Special: Dramatised Reading from Maulana Adul Kalam Azad’s India Wins Freedom

The Ahmednagar Fort is a fort located in Maharashtra, India.

This fort was used by the British Raj as a prison.

India’s freedom fighters like Jawaharlal Nehru, Abul Kalam Azad, Sardar Patel and nine other members of the Indian National Congress were detained in this fort for almost three years after they passed the Quit India Resolution in 1942.

Read more

Call for entries: Singapore at Home: Life across Lines

Singapore At Home

The thought of home is imbued with bliss and pain, comfort and guilt. In all its manifestations— whether it makes us or breaks us—home nurtures a tender, heartbreaking beauty. A lived space, it shapes our life experience. But more importantly, the people we share our home with transform the meaning we seek in a place that is hopefully our refuge.  Read more

Was it a Real-life pirate who changed the history of India? Who was Henry Every?

A notorious British pirate captures a treasure ship of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Onboard the ship are Mughal women returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca, including the emperor’s daughter. This attack launches one of the biggest manhunts, and changes the course of history. Who is this pirate and what forces his actions unleash?
Conventional reading of history would have us believe that it was the Battle of Plassey in 1757 that changed the course of India’s history: it marked the beginning of the East India company’s rule in Bengal, progressing to the eventual establishment of British rule in India. But bestselling author Steven Johnson presents a different story in his book, Enemy of All Mankind. He argues that it was not the battle of Plassey that changed the fate of India but the raid by an English pirate on a royal ship that did it.
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