Cityread 2015 – final events

As Cityread 2015 comes to an end – what a busy month it has been! We would like to share pictures and reports from the final two events that ALAG has been involved with.

BTG 250415AFirstly, Brent Tamil Group (BTG) members pictured here held a delightful discussion based upon the book Rivers of London and the Tamil translated synopsis. Dr Murugesan Muthu used both films and presentations to bring the book to life. BTG member Yamuna Thamendiran had this to say:

“Dr Murugesan did an excellent session including using video clips between reading from the BTG 250415Bsynopsis. We had 21 attendees. Many of us enjoyed the story and Dr Murugesan’s hard work and effort has made this event a great success. His additional work along with the actual translation has given a clear understanding of what Cityread London is all about.”  ALAG would like to thank Brent Libraries and the BTG for all their support of the ALAG translation and Cityread London. Dr Murugesan is pictured below with author Ben Aaronovitch.

Kilburn Lib _ City read event - 20Apr2015ALAG’s final Cityread event was held in association with Redbridge Libraries on Tuesday 28th April at Redbridge Central Library. ALAG members Aruna Shah and Kamaljit Bedi facilitated using the Hindi and Gujarati synopses and this is what Aruna had to say about the event:

Kamaljit and I enjoyed the reading and very lively discussion that followed. The audience participation was humorous and ALAG Redbridge6 280415involved. Each one of the attendees had a story or an anecdote to tell. Some of them relating to magic and supernatural experience and incidents from their past. A couple of ladies recounted their own families’ experiences about a haunted house in Kent, by the river and how they appeased the spirit by carrying out a ceremony on the river.” [Sound familiar?] The group used the ghosts, spirits and rivers as a platform to delve back into their lives back home, culture, customs and traditions. Kamaljit read most of the translation but we steered the discussion and audience participation quite early on, which made it very lively. The group received us very well and stayed on for more than an hour. In fact, a number of them asked us to come back to their next meeting!

Rhonda and her colleague, Saima had put in a good effort both in coordinating the group and distributing the translations. The group was mainly Urdu speaking women with a couple of Gujarati speaking women and a lone Gujarati man, who was very vocal with hilarious stories loved by all. We were very impressed by the group dynamics and a truly multilingual and ALAG Redbridge8 280415multicultural event. Given the group’s involvement, we didn’t  discern any language barriers. We were very inspired by the whole experience and ready for next year!”

Very many thanks to Rhonda Brooks, Development Librarian at Redbridge Libraries and Saima for organising this wonderful event. This is what Rhonda had to say after the event:

Your ALAG colleagues Aruna and Kamaljit have recently left following a very enjoyable and successful session. 19 attended – mainly Urdu speakers – but they all managed to communicate well and had a very lively session. Thanks for sending Aruna and Kamaljit to lead the group – it was lovely to meet them and have them at the library – and they did an excellent job of leading the group“.

Click on the link below to read some of the feedback from the attendees. Comments are written in Urdu, English and Gujarati:

NRRG ALAG event Quotes 280415


Ben Aaronovitch entertains at Kilburn Library

Cityread Kilburn Monna and Ben 200415Ben’s visit to Kilburn Library entertained and enthralled attendees. His wit and humorous take on the many questions fired at him made the audience laugh out loud and gain a valuable insight to what inspired him to write and create such wonderful characters as Peter Grant, Mama Thames and Beverley Brook, to name a few.

ALAG Secretary, Monna Rizvi is pictured with Ben during the book signing at the end of the wonderful evening. To find out which library Ben will be visiting next check out the official website for Cityread 2015:

and for those of you who choose to read in Tamil – don’t forget the Cityread event where Rivers of London will be discussed on Saturday 25th April at Ealing Road Library, Brent with Dr Murugesan Muthu and the Brent Tamil Reading Group.

Cityread 2015 – Balham, Tooting, Hillingdon and Brent

As Cityread 2015 moves along at a fast and furious pace, ALAG want to keep you up-to-date with latest events where the translated synopsis of Rivers Of London has been read and much more.

First of all here is some paraphrased feedback from Balham Library Urdu Group, kindly submitted by Ayesha Hafeez who regularly runs the group. ALAG Chair, Gulshan Iqbal facilitated this exciting event on behalf of ALAG:

Cityread 2015 Balham 280315On the 28th of March 2015, Balham Library hosted an open event in the hall for Urdu speakers in the community. Posters were put up advertising this event in Balham Library and others such as Tooting and Battersea Libraries. A translated synopsis of Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch in Urdu was used to facilitate the event – it is a very fascinating story that hooks people immediately. 13 adults and 10 children attended. Afterwards we received a lot of positive feedback and some who were not part of the Urdu reading group in Balham Library signed up for it as they were so enthusiastic. After the reading everyone discussed the story which was hugely popular between the members as they said that the plot entangled them in its mystery. Furthermore the importance and benefits of reading were discussed followed in true Asian tradition by refreshments – delightful dishes, brought in by members, mostly home-baked. Everyone said that they really enjoyed the event and met a lot of new people that they could share their views with. I also encouraged Urdu speakers to come to the library regularly and read the books available in English and Urdu – attendees commented that if more of these events happen they will certainly attend!

Cityread Tooting 110415A similar experience was had by Dr Murugesan Muthu (pictured second from left) of the Brent Tamil Reading Group. Not only did he translate the synopsis in Tamil but also facilitated the Tamil event at Tooting Library on behalf of ALAG. This event took place on 11th April and this is what Dr Murugesan had to say afterwards:

Again, thank you for offering me an opportunity to meet some new people and helping me to refresh my old memories because I lived in Tooting for a few years. The event went nicely and received a very good response from everyone who attended. I also invited one of my friends to the event – he is editor/owner of a Tamil newspaper in London and will be publishing an article about Cityread and this event in Tooting Library. I took along my laptop and projector and showed the group some videos about the Cityread launch event in Covent Garden, Ben’s interview and short biography and also the Rivers of London promo video. All of these helped to engage attendees and set the scene for an interesting and lively discussion

ALAG would like to thank Librarian Therese Rajadurai who runs the Tamil Reading Group for organising and promoting this wonderful event to the local community – read her account here:

Cityread ALAG 2015 Hillingdon 140415Last but by no means least, ALAG Treasurer and Gujarati translator Aruna Shah facilitated the Cityread event at Botwell Green Library, Hillingdon showcasing her linguistic skills by facilitating the event using the translated synopsis in Hindi. The picture shows Aruna with the 7 attendees, one of whom resonated with the story by commenting:

Hindus appease the rivers by scattering ashes in water so that the soul can peacefully flow away in running water. Rivers have great significance for us.

Look out for author Ben Aaronovitch at Kilburn Library, Brent  appearing today (20th April 2015) from 6.30-7.30pm and Brent Tamil Reading Group will be discussing Rivers Of London on Saturday 25th April at Ealing Road Library from 2 to  4.30pm. See the poster below for more details and contact information:RoL Tamil event in Brent 250415 

Cityread 2015 is here!


Cityread London is celebrating all the wonderful places and people that make London the very magical City that it is by encouraging Londoners to read the chosen title: Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch. A wide range of activities for adults and children are on offer throughout April 2015 and details of what is happening in your borough can be found here.

ALAG (Asian Librarians and Advisers Group) have also had a major input in the celebration as we have created a translated synopsis of Rivers of London in Gujarati, Hindi, Panjabi, Urdu and Tamil. Most of the translations have been done by ALAG members to ensure that the programmes on offer are inclusive and cater for the diverse populations resident throughout London. In previous years these translations have created quite a buzz as can be seen by clicking on this link to view an article published in Asian Image news during Cityread 2012.

So far Brent, Hillingdon, Harrow, Wandsworth and Redbridge have taken up the offer to use the translated synopsis with their customers for various Reader Development events facilitated by an ALAG member. As the promotion continues throughout April 2015 it is expected that other library authorities will also be introducing Rivers of London and author Ben Aaronovitch to Londoners from all backgrounds, interests and reading abilities.

Cityread 2015 Balham 280315ALAG have already kick-started the month by facilitating a Cityread event at Balham Library, Wandsworth on Saturday 28th March. ALAG Chairperson Gulshan Iqbal read the Urdu synopsis and 15 ladies from the local community enjoyed a lively discussion, sharing experiences of possession and the supernatural. Needless to say magic and family feuds also proved to be interesting themes taken from Rivers of London.

Look out for the next Cityread event in Wandsworth at Tooting Library on Saturday 11th April where Dr Murugesan Muthu from the Brent Tamil Reading Group will facilitate what should be another interesting and enjoyable discussion on behalf of ALAG:cityread-alag-2015-tooting-wandsworth-tamil-event-1104151

Cityread goes global!

We all know what a wonderful promotion Cityread is in getting London reading but ALAG are proud to let you know that in the last couple of months we have had requests via this blog for the translations of Oliver Twist (Cityread 2012) from Pakistan and India.

Here are extracts from the messages received:

I am from new Delhi india, I want oliver twist in hindi version.
Pls let me know if you have the same.
Thanks and regards, 
Amit (Delhi, India)

please send me gujarati summury of OLIVER TWIST

Munnavar Malek (India)

Will u plz give me the summary of oliver twist in Urdu ?? I have my exam tomorrow and I get your mail I.d from the website…
Kiran Adil Hussain (Karachi, Pakistan)

This is great news as ALAG prepares the translated synopsis of  Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch  for Cityread 2015 – more exciting news to follow!

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