Featured Writing

As well as encouraging book groups to share their reading experiences, the Devolving Diasporas project featured creative writers who engage with ideas of diaspora in inventive and provocative ways. In turn, their work challenges us to think about the meaning of diaspora.

Fortunately, we can rely on writers to ignore, reinvent and refuse the descriptions that readers give to their work: categories such as ‘diasporic’, ‘multicultural’ and ‘postcolonial’. All the writers featured here have, in varied ways, links to Scotland and in their writing they ask questions about home, identity, memory, travel, nation and migration. We are delighted to be showcasing a range of creative writing here, and we are grateful to the writers for allowing us to read and reread their work.

Siddharth Chowdhury

Siddharth Chowdhury is a novelist and short-story writer. He was born and raised in Patna, Bihar, India, and now lives in Delhi, working as an editor for Manohar Publishing. He is the author of a collection of short stories, Diksha at St Martin’s (Srishti, 2002), and a novel, Patna Roughcut (Picador India, 2005). Timeout Mumbai described Patna Roughcut as ‘a love letter to Patna’. In 2007 he was named as a writer to watch in the UK Guardian article, ‘Subcontinental shift’. Kathleen McCaul reported, ‘for many years India’s literary culture has been focused on London and New York. But things may be changing’.

Siddharth Chowdhury is the 2006-7 Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship in Creative Writing at Stirling University. Of his time on campus in Stirling Chowdhury writes:

I came to Stirling as a city boy, who loved shopping malls and neon lights and leave as a man who will forever awake to the sound of oystercatchers. A time of introspection and rare friendship and also uninterrupted work. The first time in my fourteen years of writing I actually lived the writer’s life. And liked it. Much to my amazement. Needless to add Stirling will always be special to me.

Here we feature a short piece titled, ‘A Life in the Day’, following the author’s alter-ego on his journey to work in Delhi. This article originally appeared in Delhi City Limits, 31 January 2006.

A Life in the Day


Suhayl Saadi

Suhayl Saadi is a novelist, poet and playwright. He was born in East Yorkshire and moved to Scotland as a child in 1965.He grew up in Glasgow, studied medicine at the University of Glasgow, and has worked in various medical specialities in Scotland. In 1999 he won a Millennium Award to set up and run Pollokshields Writers’ Group in Glasgow, aimed primarily though not exclusively at writers from Minority Ethnic backgrounds. He is the author of The Burning Mirror, acollection of short stories (Polygon, 2001), the novels, The Snake (1997) and Psychoraag (Black and White Publishing, 2004), and four plays: Saame Sita (2003), The Dark Island (2004), The White Cliffs (2005) and The Garden of the Fourteenth Moon (2006). You can read more about Suhayl and extracts of his work on his official website.

In his article, ‘Being Scottish’ (2002), Saadi writes:

I celluloid my forehead and hastily scribble: SCOTTISH. But that is inadequate, so I add: English, British, Pakistani, Indian, Afghan, Sadozai, Asian, European, Black(-ish), Minority Ethnic, Male, Non-resident, 21st Century person, 15th Century being, Glaswegian, Middle-class, Writer, Seeker, Lover, Physician, Agha Jaan, Son, English-speaking, Music-loving, Left-leaning… until I run out of space and time and ink. Scottishness becomes a metaphor through which I perceive other things.

The short story featured here, ‘Extra Time in Paradise’ also invites us to think about Scottishness, shifting between Celtic’s football ground, known as ‘Paradise’ to fans, Punjab and Cathcart's Muslim graveyard. The story appears in two versions, to use Saadi’s words, in ‘Glaswegian-ish’ and ‘Standard English’. The first version was commissioned and published by Celtic View magazine (official weekly magazine of Celtic Football Club) in 2003. We publish here the two versions of the story. Our Scottish reading groups read these versions along with Jackie Kay’s The Adoption Papers.

If you would like to tell us about your experience of reading these versions, please email us at info@devolvingdiasporas.com.

Extra Time in Paradise (Standard English version)
Extra Time in Paradise (Glaswegian-ish version)

 

 

 


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