Ravinder is the author of 'A Wicked Old Woman', the young adult novel 'Beauty and the Beast' and the highly praised 'The Coral Strand', the short story collection 'Dynamite' and is currently working on her next novel.
She is also the founder of The Asian Women Writers Workshop (later known as the Asian Women Writer’s Collective), which published two major collections: 'Right of Way' (1989) and 'Flaming Spirit' (1994). The Collective’s work has been archived by South Asian Diaspora Arts Archive (SADAA) here.
A member of PEN International, Ravinder was the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Toynbee Hall, Queen Mary’s College, University of London and St. Mary’s University
British council: http://literature.britishcouncil.org/ravinder-randhawa
Five years ago, on 17th June 2012 Raif Badawi was arrested by the Saudi Arabian authorities, for allegedly "insulting Islam through electronic channels". Raif had taken to his keyboard and set up a liberal website. An action which would have gone completely unremarked in this country and many others.
The General Election is looming and never have I seen such dark clouds on the horizon, and never have I seen the Labour Party, the main party of opposition, in such disarray. I blame Labour MPs, for all the in-fighting, and for failing to take a broader view.
I'm a fiction writer, and yet when people ask me what I write about, I go speechless - I stutter, stumble and nervously laugh off the question. Because there isn't a label or a pithy description which I can comfortably reel off, there isn't only one idea that I'm interested in; fiction is a freedom I don't wish to circumscribe. And yet, I can see a sentence already sitting in their heads, just waiting for me to speak it...
I'm genuinely filled with dismay by the number of writers flocking to creative writing courses, and ask, what's happened to their defiant confidence and independence? That burning intelligence and passion which produces originality, provokes thought, grips our hearts, points to truth and justice?
The British-Asian community has existed for three or four generations now, but many of its traditions and customs have frozen in time; they're still the same as when the first generation came. Despite this, the ambitions and dreams of younger generations have moved on.
Although the majority of investigations don't turn up such dramatic deceptions, one can't help but wonder if, in this day and age of complex social lives, they've become a necessary precaution. Arranged marriages may have changed and evolved but it seems the services of Arranged Marriage Detectives are essential to sealing the deal.
'...In the middle of beating her up, he picked up the pan of hot oil and poured it on her head, and that woman ... that Jat woman ... didn't let out a single scream, not a squeak.' That was a story I heard in my childhood, as the women gossiped and I, still young and childlike, shadowed my mother, nestling against her and absorbing, imbibing...
I'm going to say something rather revolutionary: it's an amazing thing to be a British-Asian, and in addition to be a British-Asian woman. This may be rather a different song to the one that some others are singing, but for me it carries the music of two oceans, two cultures, two worlds - clashing and colliding!
03/03/2016 17:31 GMT
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