At Waterstones Bristol, the sixth talk of the BookBlast® 10×10 tour, Rosemarie Hudson, founder of HopeRoad Publishing, will be in conversation with Qaisra Shahraz and Peter Kalu.
HopeRoad promotes inclusive literature with a focus on Africa, Asia and the Caribbean; and vigorously supports often neglected voices. Many of HopeRoad’s YA titles focus on issues dealing with identity, cultural stereotyping and disability. The talk has as its theme Trading Places: Bright City, Dark Secrets. Book Tickets
Peter Kalu is the Manchester-based author of three CYA novels: Silent Striker, Being Me and Zombie XI. Silent Striker is a semi-autobiographical novel that has as one of its themes how the world of a teen boy, Marcus, changes when he finds himself becoming deaf. Marcus appears as a side character in Being Me which features as main protagonist the neuro-atypical, Adele Vialli. He has written nine novels in all, including science fiction, crime and comedy; he has also written for the stage and screen. He has won prizes including the BBC / Contact dangerous Comedy Award and The Kodak Short Film Pitch Award.
Book extract: Silent Striker. Meet Pete in person on Thurs 18 Oct.
“Horse booted it to him. The ball dropped at Marcus’s feet. Marcus looked up. The Chorlton goalkeeper was leaning on the post, picking his nose. After fifty minutes and not one shot even close to his goal, Marcus could see his point.
Somewhere inside his head he heard his dad singing a song, I Who Have Nothing. He loved that song. His dad was a balding Rasta who loved wailing this ballad by an afro-bobbed disco queen called Sylvester.
Something clicked in Marcus. He slipped the ball through to Rocket who trapped it, sprinted along the touchline then laid if off to Marcus again.
I Who Have Nothing was still playing in Marcus’s head. It blanked out everything else except the rhythm of the game and in that moment the football became music.
Marcus danced the ball forward. His marker hesitated, dithering whether to close him down or zone him out wide to the wing.
Meanwhile, Horse was waving like mad, making for the near post, their keeper tracking him.
Their left-back is titchy, Marcus realised. He sped forward, looked up for one last check, then, as the defender’s tackle smacked into him, he let the ball fly.
The ball looped up, the wind clawed it, flung it higher. The left-back leapt for all he was worth but the ball was already behind him. Their goalkeeper simply watched.
Maybe there was an element of luck. The wind pushed it a metre further inside the upright than he’d intended.
Mr Davies danced a jig. Marcus picked himself up and trotted back, taking high fives from Rocket and Horse. Briefly, he scanned the touchline for his dad, even though he knew his dad was on the early evening shift. He saw Leonard, the Ducie substitute, arms folded in the rain. He saw the thin man nodding. But Marcus’s dad wasn’t there.”
Qaisra Shahraz is a British-Pakistani critically acclaimed novelist, scriptwriter and Founder-Director of MACFEST, Muslim Art & Culture Festival. Author of The Concubine & The Slave Catcher, Qaisra is recognised as being ‘The Most Influential woman in Manchester’, winner of National Diversity ‘Lifetime achiever Award’& listed in Muslim Power 100.
Book extract: The Concubine & The Slave Catcher. Read the BookBlast interview with Qaisra Shahraz HERE. Meet Qaisra in person on Thurs 18 Oct.
“A lot had changed, the area now thriving with different migrant communities: the Pakistanis and the Bengalis living side by side with the Irish and the Somalis. Many Asian stores and shops had sprung up. The Bengali sari shops and travel agents jostled happily alongside the Pakistani ones and the Chinese takeaway. Mosques catering to the needs of the Muslim community flourished, from the small Duncan Road mosque in a semi-detached corner house to the purpose-built Darul Uloom centre on Stamford Road. The Bengali mosque for the Bengali community on one corner of Buller Road was only a few feet away from the Pakistani and Arab Makki Masjid on the other corner. Not surprisingly, on Fridays, for the Juma prayers, the street was gridlocked.
He noted that the Roman Catholic church and its primary school on Montgomery Road had disappeared, along with the quaint little National Westminster Bank branch that had been in the middle of Beresford Road with a communal vegetable plot at the back. That had been pulled down twenty-odd years ago. St Agnes’ church was still there, however, at the junction of West Point and Hamilton Road and it still enjoyed healthy Sunday-morning congregations.
Samir stopped outside a shop on Beresford Road that had been called Joy Town thirty years earlier. It had been his children’s favourite toyshop, especially on Eid day, when they ran to it with their Eidhi money, eager to buy toy cars, skipping ropes and doll’s china crockery sets. In its place there now stood a grocery superstore with stalls of vegetables and fruits hogging the pavement area. On Fridays and Saturdays, families like Samir’s, who had moved out of the area, still returned to do their shopping, visiting their favourite halal meat and grocery stores, carting boxes of fresh mangoes, bags of basmati rice and chapatti flour back to their cars. The hustle and bustle of these shops always brought out a smile in him.
His son, Maqbool, a well-to-do sportswear manager, dutifully returned to pick him up half an hour later. By that time, Samir was shivering in his shalwar kameez and sherwani, and gladly climbed into the warm car. He had wanted to go to the Sanam Sweet Centre to buy a few boxes of Asian sweets to distribute to friends but he hesitated, suddenly overcome by trepidation.
“Do you want to go somewhere else, Father?” his son asked, as if reading his mind.
Samir shook his head, not wishing to inconvenience his son further, and feeling guilty for already taking up enough of his time.
“No. Let’s go home,” he murmured, eyes closed.
He had a large five-bedroom detached house – but with his wife and family gone, all the joy of living in it had fled. He kept himself in the master bedroom, hating to enter the other rooms in the house, especially the one containing his wife’s clothes.”
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