Yeovil Literary Festival – A Writer’s Point of View.

In 2014 the first raw draft of Under the Pipal Tree was shortlisted in the Yeovil International Literary Competition. Buoyed by this validation, I banished self-doubt and set to work on the novel. A year of intense revisions and six drafts later it won the Cinnamon Press Debut Novel of the Year 2015 and a publishing contract. When I informed Liz Pike, Yeovil Literary festival’s charming organiser, about my success, she remembered my story and invited me to talk about my novel at the Past Winners’ Event. I felt privileged to talk about my writing journey from first draft to publication.
The events kicked off with a literary dinner where the guest speaker was the lovable Christopher Biggins known fondly as Biggins. Unsurprisingly, he regaled us with his adventures. He has chronicled his life in his memoir, My Story.

At the Past Winners' Event four writers were invited to read out extracts from their winning piece of work. The air was charged with creativity as each read out moving p…

No Missed Call - A Halloween Special Teaser

Nirmala peered into the windows of Om Nama jewellers. Heavy gold necklaces, like the ones locked in a box in Bikash’s possession and saved up for a rainy day, were displayed with wanton, vulgar opulence. When would she wear one again? She was reminded of corpses of married women decked in red wedding sari prepared for their pyre. Her gold would not melt with her. They would line her husband’s purse. Once again, she felt the pang of a lost child. A daughter would have been the proud bearer of such finery. Then again, she could have been a tom boy and shunned such feminine trinkets. Then again… an ugly thought pierced her mind, ‘she’, the unborn, could have been violated after birth. If she was not allowed to survive in her womb, what chance would she have outside?

Under the Pipal Tree – How the story began

Most stories begin in childhood. They appear in our first drawings, our childish patter and crucially the make-believe world we weave when playing with dolls, paper airplanes or invisible friends. These are the beginnings of a creative project. As we grow up, life steers us in other practical directions until those first imaginative steps are erased from our consciousness. But if we take time to connect with our creative soul, that world can be recreated with simple tools: paper and pen.
Writers are usually avid readers and it’s a great place to start. Books feed our imagination, teach us our craft, inspire and uplift. But some books take us further when the characters leap out of the pages and populate our world, hovering over us like invisible, benign spirits like Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Moliere’s Alceste. Some like Meursault in The Outsider can have a lasting effect on a young reader’s mind. When I first read the novel at the age of fourteen, the emotional detachment of this chara…

Grenoble Book Launch 16 May

Join Anjana Chowdhury in Grenoble, France, on May 16 from 7-8 pm for the book launch of her debut novel Under the Pipal Tree.
Set in India this story is told from the viewpoints of two women who represent the polar ends of society – the affluent and the impoverished. Their stories merge and boundaries are redrawn between a mother, daughter and her childhood nanny.
There will be a short reading followed by book signing. Copies of the books will be available on the night at 12 euros each. Cash payments only please.
Venue: Salle Polyvalente ‘Les Vignes’, 3 Avenue Marechal Randon.
Tram B stop : La Tronche Hopital.

Drinks and nibbles provided.

Under the Pipal Tree Book launch Greenwich library

Fabulous book launch on 28 March for Under the Pipal Tree at West Greenwich library courtesy of Cinnamon Press. The room buzzed with enthusiasm and I could not have asked for a better audience. 

Under the Pipal Tree is available from Amazon on Kindle and paperback. It can also be ordered directly from Cinnamon Press. The book has many themes - mother and daughter relationships, marriage, religion, mental health and social inequalities. It raises many questions about how we understand each other, about truth and its implications, about possibilities. How in one moment your life could change forever.

Interview with Hazel Manuel


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