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Panel discussion/ Partition and Fiction

Unfortunately due to illness this event is now cancelled. Apologies for any inconvenience.

The division of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947 saw one of the largest exodus of people in modern history.

Displacement, loss and the struggle to belong and rebuild lives formed the dominant narrative and the reverberations continue to be felt even today across the two countries. Reshma Ruia and Mohini Kent will discuss how fiction can respond to such a seismic political event and how as writers they can be chroniclers of history as well as use their work to build bridges and create understanding. The talk is especially relevant today when tribalism and fear of the Other seems to be on the rise and the role of the writer takes on a greater significance.

Guests: 

Reshma Ruia is the author of Something Black in the Lentil Soup, described in the Sunday Times as ‘a gem of straight-faced comedy.’ Her second novel, A Mouthful of Silence, was shortlisted for the 2014 SI Leeds Literary Prize. Her short stories and poetry have appeared in various International anthologies and magazines and also commissioned for Radio 4.  She is the co-founder of ‘The Whole Kahani,’ a collective of British writers of South Asian origin.

Born in India, but brought up in Italy, her narrative portrays the inherent preoccupations of those who possess multiple senses of belonging.

Mohini Kent (Lady Noon) has lived five lives in one. Author, film-maker, charity-worker and journalist, a student of yoga philosophy, she views life as a journey of consciousness, to be fully explored and realized.  She has written four books, three plays, scripted and directed a feature film, documentaries and TV commercials, and had a regular slot on BBC Radio. Her anti-human trafficking charity supports projects in the UK, India and Nepal. She lives in London.

Her latest novel Black Taj was published in 2016. It is a love story set against the background of class and religious conflict in modern India, and the fabled Taj Mahal. In 1993, when the Babri mosque crumbles, so does Simi’s life. To the horror of her grandmother and the outrage of their friends in the riot-torn city of Atmapuri, she falls deeply in love with an unsuitable Muslim doctor. But the ghost of Partition stands between the star-crossed lovers. What will be their fate? Will India herself become the nation she was destined to be, open to all identities and communities?