Sebastian Faulks in Urdu, Hindi and Panjabi comes to Hounslow

ALAG members Kamaljit Bedi, Aruna Shah, Monna Rizvi and Gulshan Iqbal lead the discussion

ALAG members Kamaljit Bedi, Aruna Shah, Monna Rizvi and Gulshan Iqbal lead the discussion

The Asian Librarians and Advisers Group (ALAG) were proud to host one of the first events to celebrate Cityread London 2013. Throughout April all 33 London boroughs will be promoting A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks. The story is set in London, about Londoners and cleverly entwines the lives of familiar London characters such as an Underground Tube driver, a Polish footballer recently signed by a London club, a banker, a barrister, a literary critic and author. Not to be outdone in bringing London’s diversity to the pages, Faulks also includes an Asian chutney magnate about to receive his OBE from the Queen, his disillusioned Muslim son and an MP. This rich cocktail of characters is brought to life and is as diverse as London itself.
To celebrate and build on this diversity ALAG have provided a translated synopsis of the book in seven languages: Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati, Hindi, Panjabi, Tamil and Urdu and on Thursday 4th April a group of ladies from the Women’s Reading Group gathered at Hounslow Community Centre to read and discuss Sebastian Faulks’ book. Despite the snow and cold weather, the warmth of samosas and a cup of tea added to the harmony in the room as discussion flowed in Hindi, Panjabi and Urdu.

ALAG member Kamlajit Bedi gave a superb account of the story line and characters in Hindi and Panjabi while Aruna Shah explained in Hindi, the author’s background and what had inspired Faulks to write about contemporary London with people, places, occupations with which the women present were very familiar. They could easily identify with issues like drugs, transport, mental health, the banking crisis and economic downturn and this came across loud and clear in the ensuing discussions. Songs and Urdu poetry completed the event, led by Chair Gulshan Iqbal who commented: “I feel we whetted their [the audience’s] appetite enough for them to want to read the book”. In fact, one woman borrowed Gulshan’s own book (which was autographed by the author) and another one, when asked if she wanted to take a copy of the translated synopsis, said she was going to the library to borrow the same book to read in English!

ALAG members are very pleased with the response to this event and would like to thank all the library authorities that have purchased the translations for their diverse communities, giving borrowers the choice of reading in their preferred language. Look out for further events, details of which can be found here:

Audience show their appreciation of Sebastian Faulks' A Week In December

Audience show their appreciation of Sebastian Faulks’ A Week In December

Audience listen to the reading in Hindi, Urdu and Panjabi

Audience listen to the reading in Hindi, Urdu and Panjabi


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