The Scotland-Calcutta connection

AS the second fastest growing economy in the world - after China - India is attracting more and more attention. Bute Writers Group is delighted, therefore, to welcome Dr Bashabi Fraser to the island as their speaker at Rothesay Library on Friday, July 1.

A lecturer in literature and creative writing at Napier University, Bashabi grew up in Kolkata formerly Calcutta, where she gained her MA and taught in Calcutta University. She now lives in Edinburgh with her academic husband, Neil, and has written extensively about her two worlds of Scotland and India.

She is particularly interested in post-colonial theory and literature, as well as displacement, relocation and the emergent questions of identify and culture. Bashabi is also working on a project about Scots in India, for a book on life stories, which will be one of the interesting topics included in her talk.

Dr Fraser was the unofficial link person in a twinning process between Edinburgh and Kolkata - cities which share a similar literary history.

In her epic poem ‘The Ganga and the Tay’, she depicts the two great rivers who engage in an epic journey, discovering their shared past and forging a future together.

The book was launched at the Kolkata Book Fair, in 2009 when Scotland was the theme country at a fair which is visited by 2.15 million people every year.

She is also an expert on the literary scene in Scotland and has represented the country as a writer at international conferences and seminars.

Bashabi has taught creative writing for the Arvon Foundation at Moniach Mhor, has adjudicated for the Scottish Writers’ Association and the Edinburgh Writers Club, and is on the committee of Scottish PEN.

By invitation, she has worked for the BBC, the British Council and other organisations. In addition to children’s stories, her books include ‘Tartan and Turban’, ‘Life’, ‘A meeting if Two Minds: Geddes-Tagore Letters’ and ‘Bengal Partition Stories: An Unclosed Chapter’.

Rothesay’s refurbished library is a great venue for what promises to be a fascinating talk - but don’t forget to contact Patricia or Janice at the library (tel 503266) if you want to make sure of a seat.

Alternatively you can phone Eileen on 505962 or Jenny on 502334.