Author Archives: Zafar Anjum

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.

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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.

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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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