#DesiBooksNews: Rhiya Pau asks what is worth holding onto and reads from her poetry collection, Routes

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Dear Reader,

This debut poetry collection published in the UK was among my favorite books of last year. I blurbed it (you can read that here) and nudged many of my reader and writer/poet friends to go read the collection. In the excerpt reading, Rhiya Pau asks some important questions. For example: “It is only by examining history that we can begin to answer: what is worth holding onto? What memories, what stories, what truths? When we piece these together, what is the narrative that we choose to tell?”

She goes on to say that “To reclaim our narrative is to change the way we see ourselves, to assert our place in this society, to celebrate our victories and hold ourselves accountable to our failures, and to lay the groundwork for the roots of those still to come. To me, this is the work to be done by our community, and I hope this book can be one of many tools in this journey.” Preach, Rhiya!

Rhiya Pau is a British-born poet of Indian and East African heritage.

Routes chronicles the migratory histories of Rhiya Pau’s ancestors and community, simultaneously laying bare the conflicts of identity that arise from being a member of the East African-Indian diaspora. Listen/read here.

If you enjoyed Rhiya’s work, you might also like these previous features:

#DesiReads Julietta Singh
#DesiReads Gaia Rajan

January is almost done. If you missed our #DesiBooksReco roundup, we’ve been adding a few more gems to it each week. Catch up here.

We’re finally almost done with our 2022 backlog and starting to look at the books to spotlight for 2023. It’s shaping up to be an exciting year already. And we’ll be putting out a call for the next #DesiBooksReview issue (#5!) shortly. Theme? Books that have been adapted for film and television. As always, we’ll commission a few reviews and select from pitches as well. Who will we put on the cover this time, though? Stay tuned for that.

[Related to this week’s feature, if Rhiya’s points above about the importance of history resonate, you might be interested in my monthly newsletter on historical fiction craft. I figured, I read, write, translate, and teach this genre so why not share my learning further? You can see the first edition on that page. The next one goes out next week. Free, private, no-spam.]

Stay healthy, keep reading, and write well.

Jenny Bhatt

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