Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Local Newspaper article

Milngavie writer Leela gets her first novel published

« Previous « PreviousNext » Next »View GalleryPublished Date: 30 December 2008
By Laura Sturrock
A MILNGAVIE woman has shown she is made of the write stuff by getting her debut novel published.

Leela Soma of Dunellan Road, wrote her first novel 'Twice Born' — about life in Glasgow seen through the eyes of first generation Indian immigrants — after joining Strathkelvin Writer's Group three years ago.

She won the Strathkelvin Writers ADVERTISEMENT Group 'Margaret Thomson Davis' trophy in 2007 for the first ten thousand words of the book — which follows the life of a young couple from India and their experiences in Glasgow.

'Twice Born' peels away the layers and presents the reality of their life in Glasgow..

It shows how straddling the two cultures and putting down roots while not forgetting their liberal family values steeped in an ancient culture is a delicate balance for the characters.

The overarching themes of the novel are the universal aspects of love, identity and betrayal.

It also touches on Scotland's political fight for independence as events in the political sphere parallel the characters' lives.

The former Modern Studies teacher, who has taught at Douglas Academy in Milngavie, was spurred on to complete the story after winning the Margaret Thompson trophy.

She said: "It's easy to start a novel — much harder to finish it. The first thing the judge said to me was to make sure I finished it!

"It is totally fictional but it's also based on some of my personal experiences and those of friends.

"I came to Glasgow with my husband when I was in my 20's in the 1970's.

"It was totally different here from the life we were used to.

"I remember being shocked at the deprivation in parts of Glasgow as I had expected it to be a rich country.

"There are glimpses of racism in the book as well — it wouldn't be truthful if I left that out as most Asians experience racism to some degree when they live here."

Leela also published a collection of poems to raise money for charity at Milngavie book festival this year and You Write On, the publishers of her novel, which is sponsored by Arts Council England, will donate 10 per cent of their profits to Sightsavers.

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