Chennai author's debut book contributes to flood victims

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New Delhi, Dec 6: In a heart-warming gesture, a New Delhi-based publishing house has decided to donate a part of the sale proceeds of its latest book, which was launched here last night, to help Chennai flood victims.

Rs 20 from the sale of every copy of the collection of short stories 'Of Bridges Among Us', written by Chennai-raised, US-based Neeru Iyer, to the relief fund.

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Her debut book, whose 25 copies were sold at the launch function at India International Centre, is priced at Rs 250.

"This was a small gesture but the only thing that one could do at this point in time.

Releasing the collection of short stories at a time when Chennai is submerged, this decision comes automatically," said Bhaskar Roy, CEO of Palimpsest Publishing House, at the function.

Roy said that Chennai city looms over the world of Neeru Iyer's short stories.

"This is in keeping with the author's wishes," he said. Unveiling the book, veteran scholar Karan Singh appreciated the publisher's decision saying it was a right step to take. He said Iyer's book stood out for its exploration of relationships and very powerful portrayal of women characters.

"Iyer is indeed a writer we will be watching for." A distinguished gathering of academics, experts and professionals participated in the programme. Iyer, raised in Chennai who now lives in Pittsburgh, the US, was to have attended her book launch function but was stuck in flood-ravaged Chennai with her parents.

However, she addressed the audience from Chennai through a video clip in which she made an appeal for "doing something for the flood victims in Chennai".

"Had things gone as planned, I'd have been physically present with you all (and certainly much better dressed), sharing my most special moment with you. Well, as everything's turned out, I'm marooned in Chennai with millions of other people...," the writer said, adding "let me take just a moment here to request you all to do all you can to help Chennai as its people stand strong and fight against the floods".

"Delhi is a city that has always welcomed new writers with open arms. I had ambition to be there and win your approval. But I missed my date with Delhi. The loss is mine," Iyer said.

Iyer's anthology of 10 short stories has already received critical acclaim. "Interesting tales dealing with sensitive relationships; lucidly told," said Leila Seth, author of 'On Balance: An Autobiography'.

Susan Visvanathan, author of 'Something Barely Remembered', describes Iyer as "a very gifted writer who creates a sense of people coping with a multi-layered reality, each one defending his or her space".

Palimpsest group chairman Yogesh Malik said the publishing house would keep discovering newer voices in Indian writing.

PTI

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