The Whole Kahani is in a celebratory mood. The writing collective has just been nominated and shortlisted for the 2019 Saboteur awards for our second anthology of short stories and poetry, May We Borrow Your Country. These tales of despair, disquiet and desire capture what it means to simultaneously. straddle different emotional, geographical and cultural spaces. It reflects the zeitgeist of our times when there is so much debate about identity, belonging and fear of the ‘other.’
We have been fortunate in collecting a slew of favourable reviews here in the UK and in India and our launch at Waterstones in Gower Street was a sell-out event. This is no mean feat for a collective that began life only in 2011. We represent South Asia and contemporary Britain in all its rich diversity. We are novelists, poets and screenwriters holding down full time jobs and commitments, fitting our writing around the margins of time.
In her Foreword to the anthology, acclaimed author Preti Taneja asserts the need for ‘a whole story…that contains multitudes.’ These stories and poems in their variety of tone, voices and complexity illustrate just that. Our first anthology of short stories published in 2016, Love across a Broken Map, casts a wry and ironic look at love in its various manifestations, and our second anthology May We Borrow your Country, continues the trajectory of exploring and questioning the dominant narrative.
Our fiction produced through collaborative workshops demonstrates the power and necessity of presenting alternate facets of the world as well as pressing for a wider access to the publishing world for writers from an ethnic minority background. We have been fortunate in finding independent publishers who appreciate our writing and champion our right to be heard. In fact, Linen Press, the publisher of our second anthology has also been short listed in the Saboteur Awards in the ‘most innovative publisher’ category.
The future looks bright.