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  • Daisy Simpson-Talmer

Spotlight: South Asian Heritage Month


At the top, text reads 'Spotlight: South Asian Heritage Month'. In the middle are three book covers: 'Warriors' by Sundra Lawrence on the left, 'Disobedient Women' by Sangeeta Mulay in the centre, and 'Cracked Asphalt' by Sree Sen on the right. Plain orange background, with a light border and banner at the top, as well as a watercolour effect at the bottom. In front of the watercolour effect is the logo for Fly on the Wall Press and a weblink 'flyonthewallpress.co.uk'.

Taking place between 18 July - 17 August every year, South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) aims to remember and celebrate the cultures, histories, and communities of South Asia, promoting appreciation and understanding of these rich heritage and diverse cultures, in addition to the continued connections between the South Asia and the UK.

In this blog post, we shine a spotlight on three exceptional works by writers of South Asian heritage that explore themes of identity, migration, courage, and resistance.

 
On the left, the cover for 'Warriors' by Sundra Lawrence. On the right, text reads, ''Poems about family, food and love sit alongside poems which are open in telling the truth of the war in Sri Lanka, without brutality or polemic. And every page sings with the love of language.' - Seni Senevitrane, Shash Trevett, & Vidyan Ravinthiran'. Plain orange background, with a light border and textbox , as well as a watercolour effect at the bottom.

Told from the voices of first and second generation British Tamils, this pamphlet spans a thirty-year history, against the backdrop of the Sri Lankan civil war. Selected as the Aryamati Poetry Prize winner in 2021, Warriors seamlessly interweaves themes of migration and conflict with empathy and a deftness of touch. Lawrence peels back layers of cultural identities, shifting through zones of language; forging new identities in found locations. This collection holds a candle to the dark, brimming with courageous and complex love.

 
On the left, text reading ''Forces us to question the ways in which our lives and actions intersect with or affect those around us and ultimately encourages us to consider the importance of disobedience in an otherwise often blindly obedient society.' - Hattie Banfield'. On the right, the cover for 'Disobedient Women' by Sangeeta Mulay. Plain orange background, with a light border and textbox , as well as a watercolour effect at the bottom.

In her debut novel, Mulay introduces us to four unforgettable characters whose lives intersect in the ever-evolving landscape of contemporary India. Mulay intricately weaves a tale of Aparna's courageous stand against the patriarchal norms, Hari's ideological journey, Naseem's exploration of her own identity, and Kashi's struggle to live authentically. Against a backdrop of religion, politics, sex, and societal expectations, Disobedient Women tells the interwoven stories of two families and their battle of ideologies. A novel of the choices women make under pressure, where to be disobedient is the only option that offers change.

 
On the left, the cover for 'Cracked Asphalt' by Sree Sen. On the right, text reading, ''These poems are unflinching in their truth telling. The worlds they describe are complex and highlight that there is no easy way between places. Sree Sen’s poems are shocking and beautiful. They will help you see differently.'- Fióna Bolger'. Plain orange background, with a light border and textbox , as well as a watercolour effect at the bottom.

Cracked Asphalt by Sree Sen


These poems seek to untangle the strings of guilt Sree Sen found herself wrapped in after her move from Mumbai to Dublin. What is home, beyond concrete, relationships and postal addresses? Born out of worn-out soles, when Sen went fundraising door-to-door in Dublin, these poems are a personal exploration of fractured identities and the essence of 'home'.

 

Through the voices of Sundra Lawrence, Sangeera Mulay, and Sree Sen, we are invited to explore complexities of identity, resistance, and resilience that shape personal experience and the experiences of South Asian communities and diaspora. As South Asian Heritage month draws to a close, these books foster the commemoration, celebration and understanding of South Asian histories and cultures.


Listen to Sree Sen and Sangeeta Mulay's interview for SAHM 2022 here:


To learn more about SAMH and to find upcoming events, visit the South Asian Heritage website here.











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