Thursday, 16 March 2017

Meet the participants of the #LlandeiloBookFair: Sarada Thompson

Sarada Thompson has been a strong supporter of the Llandeilo Book Fair and will be appearing this April for the third time to present her wonderful books. 
Welcome back Sarada. Please tell us about the books you’ll be bringing to theBook Fair

 I’ll be bringing my picture-books :

 ‘Meenakshi Devi, The Green Goddess,’ ‘ Savitri,’ and ‘The Ten Tales of Ganesha’

Which genres do they belong to?

 Ancient Hindu Stories

 What are the characters and plot like?

1)  Meenakshi is the legendary Warrior Princess of Madurai. Born in ancient times in a land ruled by men, Meenakshi stands invincible amongst them. Who is this and what will become of her?
2)  Savitri is about to lose the love of her life. Is there any way she can prevent this? What will she do? Will she be prepared to go to the end of the world and beyond – to the Land of the Dead and perhaps intercede with Lord Yama, the Soul-Collector himself?
3) Here we have ten tales of the famous Lord Ganesha – from how Lord Ganesha got his elephant head to the story of Lord Ganesha and the frogs! These are utterly playful, down-to-earth stories.

Tell us about your newest book. 

I am at present writing and illustrating: Durga/Shakti – symbolises Power; the Force which, when given form is feminine.
She is shown as Parvati, when she is gentle. Here she is the more ferocious aspects of Devi/Goddess Durga or Kali; she has eight or ten arms and is astride on a tiger or lion.
I am also working on publishing my novella, ‘The Neem Tree.’ This is a story of a girl born as an outcaste, who manages to overcome her disadvantaged background and finally reaches the ultimate-enlightenment she seeks.

Which of your books are you most proud of?

Love them all, as I write these stories, I find myself immersing in a different world.
Meenakshi for being the original feminist-warrior regardless of gender; Savitri for her fearless wisdom, willing to fight with Death for Love; and Lord Ganesha’s allegorical stories are full of fun.
In ‘The Neem Tree’ - the story is about an outcaste girl and her magical relationship with a mystical neem tree.

What is the best thing that has been said about your books?

 ‘The picture-books are therapeutic for adults and informative and entertaining as they are for children’ – Philip
‘I enjoy Sarada’s artwork, which is unique to her story telling.’ – Bethany Coventry

Why did you decide to come to the Llandeilo Book Fair? 

Having travelled to Durham, Warwickshire and Winchester for Book Festivals, it was a pleasure to attend a Book Fair at the ‘doorstep’ and meet local writers and book lovers. I came away, ‘buzzing.’

Do you have a special connection to Wales?

 I feel a deep connection with the ancient Celtic roots which have parallels to Hinduism. I have included a picture of Danu, the Celtic Goddess in my art website.
I love the sound of Welsh and find the people warm and friendly and I take pride in gaining my MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales, Trinity St David.
We first moved in to a farmhouse with five acres in a village, with our two teenage children, two horses, three dogs and five cats. Now we live in town with our daughter and three grandchildren with a different set of pets. Wales is our hiraeth cartref – roughly translates as a nostalgia-home.

What is your personal background?

I am an Indian artist and writer, resident in the U.K. since 1973, and in Wales since 1990. Born in Singapore, I worked as a journalist for local newspapers. When I arrived in London, I was set to read law, but then spent the next two decades raising a family, and writing for the Northampton and Milton Keynes weeklies during this time.
I have exhibited my artwork in various venues in England and Wales, Ireland and Australia. I have offered story-telling workshops through art, drama and writing in schools and universities; and also art therapy for mental health patients. The Hindu Story-Telling workshops involved art, writing and drama, as part of the National Curriculum.

Who are your favourite authors?

Hermann Hesse, Rabindranath Tagore, Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, Jhumpa Lahiri, The Romantic Poets: Wordsworth, Shelley, Coleridge, Keats, Byron and Shakespeare to name a few. I also like Francois Gautier, Sanjay Patel and of course, John Thompson, Sally Spedding, Steve Bowkett and I am reading and getting to know more and more writers all the time...

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