London Radical Bookfair 2018


The London Radical Bookfair 2018, organised by the Alliance of Radical Bookshops, will be taking place on Saturday 2nd June at Goldsmith’s University. Please save the date !


The bookfair will also have a free programme of talks, workshops and panels featuring the shortlisted authors of the Bread and Roses Prize for Radical Publishing and the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award.


Shalimar Books at The London Radical Bookfair

Shalimar Books will once again have a stall at the bookfair, exhibiting books by India’s leading radical, independent publishers.  These include Leftword, Navayana, Orient BlackSwan, Three Essays Collective, Tulika Books, Women Unlimited and Yoda Press.


You can find details for the event here; We hope to see you there !




Book Reviews – Of Gardens and Graves


Of Gardens and Graves

Two reviews of the Three Essays Collective title Of Gardens and Graves: Essays on Kashmir and Poems in Translation by Suvir Kaul.

As Huzaifa Pandit points out in the first review below, Of Gardens and Graves is “hard to classify into a genre”, comprising as it does essays, translations of poetry and a photo-essay.


Huzaifa Pandit reviews Of Gardens and Graves in The Luxembourg Review –

“To read Of Gardens and Graves is to witness the coming to life of Yeats’ famous line: “A terrible beauty is born”. It is to be reminded, if ever a reminder was needed, of the lingering pain that seeps slowly and eternally through the flooded scars of Kashmir, the scowl of the last half a century that darkens the fate of every subject, born under the auspices of its melancholic sky. It is hard to classify the book into a genre as it repudiates traditional hierarchies by refusing to be neatly categorized into one – it is simultaneously a memoir, a critical commentary, an anthology, collaboration, and a history all rolled into one, held together by a single source- Kashmir. An arbitrary classification of the book structure could be that the book comprises of three basic divisions: Essays, translations and photographs. On a reading, though, the narratives under each rubric just blend with each other, without any manifest hierarchy.”

To read the full review click here


Gowhar Fazili reviews Of Gardens and Graves in Biblio

“The juxtaposition and the parallel reading of poems written by Pandit and Muslim poets is a conscious move to see the shared language and poetry as the “affective glue that binds” them together even as they bear witness to “the destruction of the community”. Kaul does not perceive the suffering of the two communities – of one in the form of exile and its concomitant loss and hurt, and of the other, through militarized repression, systematic humiliation and denial of political agency – as opposed to each other, but as corollaries of the same phenomenon. The extraordinary sensitivity and scrupulousness with which he is able to navigate between the two sets of subjectivity, and not undermine either, despite being personally implicated as a Kashmiri Pandit, who also identifies as an Indian, is remarkable.”


A full description of the book here.


Shalimar to distribute Navayana

We are extremely pleased to announce that at a meeting at the World Book Fair in New Delhi, Navayana have appointed Shalimar Books as their UK stockholding distributor.

About Navayana

Named after Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s socially and morally concerned interpretation of Buddhism, Navayana is India’s first and only publishing house to focus on the issue of caste from an anticaste perspective. Navayana launched their first titles in 2003.

Since 2009 Navayana decided to broad-base its publishing programme, for the struggle against caste cannot happen in isolation from other struggles for justice and equality. They now publish the best of socially engaged writing from South Asia and across the world: B.R. Ambedkar, Namdeo Dhasal, Slavoj Zizek, Arundhati Roy, Michel Foucault, Kancha Ilaiah, Anand Teltumbde, Angela Davis, Gail Omvedt, Jeremy Seabrook, Sharmila Rege, Shashank Kela, Dilip Menon, Eleanor Zelliot, Gogu Shyamala, Ajay Navaria, K. Balagopal, Jacques Ranciere, among others.

Independent and politically committed, Navayana publish, as well as non-fiction titles, fiction, graphic format literature, and poetry.

navayana logo




The logo

The full story of the logo can be found on the Navayana website -, an abbreviated version is –

The logo of the publishing house is an ink sketch of two buffaloes kissing. The publisher, S. Anand, explains that the iconography comes from an excerpt from Aravind Malagatti’s autobiography in Kannada, Government Brahmana. It is a story about how the ideology of caste does not allow a dalit-owned she-buffalo in heat to mate with a he-buffalo owned by a landlord. For the cover art of the April 2003 issue of The Dalit, a journal run by the Dalit Media Network, Chennai, Anand approached the artist Chandru (G. Chandrasekaran) with this story. The logo is a close-up of the artist’s interpretation. [Wikipedia].

Some Navayana titles on our site






Rare Postcard on Display

Kishan Devi postcard

Kishan Devi postcard

A unique event marking the centenary of a rare postcard written in the Great War by Kishan Devi to her father, Sepoy Sewa Singh, was held at the Pictorem Gallery in Walthamstow, London on 25th January. This postcard is possibly the only surviving example of its kind.

The card is postmarked 7 February 1916, and is written in reply to a letter home from Sepoy Singh, who was serving with Empire troops in the Sinai and Palestine campaign against the Ottoman Turks.

Postcard address

Postcard address

Kishan Devi, who was from a Panjabi background, had recently learned to read and write.

The postcard’s owner, Avtar Singh Bahra, spoke at the event and the contents were read in English translation and in Panjabi by the actor Pia Khan.

Dominic Rai, the organiser of the event, shared about the four-year project, Salt of the Sarkar, which tells the story of over a million soldiers from Undivided India who fought for Britain in the 1914-18 War.

Postcard text

Postcard text

Last year Shalimar Books, in association with Salt of the Sarkar, published a World War One centenary edition of Across the Black Waters, a classic novel by the great Indian writer Mulk Raj Anand (1905-2004) the father figure of modern Indian literature in English.

The novel follows the progress of the sepoys from their arrival by ship at Marseilles in September 1914 to the bloodstained wastes of the Western Front during the first winter of the War.

The project was launched in October 2014 in the House of Commons at a Commemorative Event chaired by Labour MP John McDonnell.

Details of Across the Black Waters can be found here


Shalimar distributing Orient BlackSwan

Shalimar Books is very pleased to announce that we have been appointed distributors for the UK and Europe of Orient BlackSwan and Permanent Black, as well as the publishers distributed in India by Orient BlackSwan.


Understanding Caste: From Buddha to Ambedkar and Beyond by Gail Omvedt

Orient BlackSwan is one of India’s best known and most respected publishing houses. Incorporated in 1948, the consistent emphasis of their publishing has been on quality.

They publish well-researched academic books by distinguished authors; interesting and informative general and trade books such as Indian literature in translation, books for children, Tracts for the Times, a series on contemporary social, cultural and political issues, popular books on the environment, mathematics and science; and distinctive school textbooks reputed for their high quality, relevance and affordability.

Through their associate company, Universities Press, they offer cutting edge professional books in biotechnology, computer science, engineering, home science, management and medicine.

Permanent Black was set up in 2000 and very quickly established a reputation as one of India’s most prestigious academic imprints. They now have well over 300 books in print and have published the region’s most eminent scholars.

Two series published by Permanent Black are – The Indian Century (editors Ramachandra Guha and Sunil Khilnani), and Nature, Culture, Conservation (editors Mahesh Rangarajan and K. Ullas Karanth).

The full list of publishers we will be handling along with Orient BlackSwan and Permanent Black are Sangam Books, Universities Press, Social Science Press and Tata Institute of Social Sciences.


Beyond the World of Apu by John W. Hood

Subject areas covered include Anthropology and Ethnography, Dalit Studies, Economics and Development Studies, Education and Psychology, Environmental Studies, Film, Media and Culture Studies, Gender Studies, Health and Disability Studies, History, Literature and Language (including literature in translation), Political Science, Sociology.

Shalimar Books will be stocking titles published by these publishers over the past four years, and a selection of their backlist. Older titles will be available to order (estimated time for procurement 14-21 days). Some titles are already on our website – we will be updating regularly.

Indian literature in English translation – stock titles can be found here, along with some titles on cinema.

Trade representation will be through Global Book Marketing.


Launch of new book on Shaheed Bhagat Singh

On 26th March, the new book by Reginald Massey, Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs, is to be launched at Keats House, along with a special poetry reading.

The book will be launched by Professor Lord Desai of St. Clement Danes, and will be followed by poems commemorating martyrs, read in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. The readings will be compered by Dr. Padmesh Gupta, and the participants inlude India Russell, Sathi Ludhianvi and Pran Sharma.

If you wish to attending this event, please contact Divya Mathur at


Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs by Reginald Massey

The launch is being held from 6.30 – 8.15 pm on Thursday 26 March 2015 at Keats House, 10 Keats Grove, London NW3 2RR. Nearest tube stations are Hampstead or Belsize Park.

Shalimar Books will be running a bookstall at the event, where the new book and other titles will be on sale.

More details about Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs here.

Shaheed Bhagat Singh (28 September 1907-23 March 1931) was one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. As a teenager he studied European revolutionary movements and was attracted to anarchist and Marxist ideologies. He was involved in the murder of British police officer John Saunders, and eluded efforts by the police to capture him. Soon after, he and an accomplice threw two bombs and leaflets inside the Central Legislative Assembly. He gained widespread national support when he underwent a 116-day fast in jail, demanding equal rights for British and Indian political prisoners. He was convicted and subsequently hanged for his participation in the murder.

Reginald Massey has written books on India on a variety of subjects ranging from history, culture and travel to classical music and dance.


Zohra Segal (1912-2014)

Tributes have poured in for celebrated Indian actress Zohra Sehgal who died in New Delhi on July 10th, aged 102. She had been ill for several days and suffered a heart attack in a hospital in the capital..

In a career spanning more than seven decades, Zohra Sehgal entertained millions through her performances in films and on stage.


Close-Up by Zohra Segal

Zohra Sehgal was born in 1912 in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

In 1930 she struck out and went to Germany to study modern dance at Mary Wigman’s Dance School in Dresden. In 1933 she returned to India, and in 1935 joined Uday Shankar’s famed dance academy in Almora, together with fellow dancer Kameshwar, whom she married in 1942. On to Lahore and the Zoresh Dance Institute and then her big move into acting: Prithvi Theatres, the Old Vic, the British Drama League, BBC television, The Jewel in the Crown, Toba Tek Singh, Bhaji on the Beach

Among the many honours and awards that have been conferred on Zohra Segal are the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (1963); the Norman Beaton Award for significant contribution to the development of multicultural film and television drama in the United Kingdom (1996); the Padma Shri (1998); the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for Lifetime Achievement (2004); and the Padma Vibhushan (2010).

Her autobiography, Close-Up: Memoirs of a Life on Stage and Screen, is available from Shalimar. Details here.



Hot off the press – new titles from Shalimar Books

We have a lot of exciting new books coming out at the moment, this blog post features just a few recent highlights.

Many more titles on a wealth of subjects are also available to buy online from our shop. We are the largest UK distributor of Indian books; we also supply to shops, libraries and schools – please contact us for more information.

Annihilation of Caste: the annotated edition

This historic and provocative text is extensively annotated in this edition, and comes with a wonderful introduction by Arundhati Roi in which she puts Ambedkar’s work in its historical context and explores how caste plays out in today’s India.

The Boatman

A fascinating account of a man’s rollercoaster ride on a journey of sexual discovery, which is also a moving story of his love affair for India. An intimate and intense exploration of city life in India in the 1980s.

This Side, That Side

This highly acclaimed, ground-breaking graphic anthology brings a fresh perspective to the much-explored theme of partition. These narratives are fascinating and moving explorations of the human effects of partition and people’s enduring curiosity about “the other side”.

From India to Palestine

If you feel, as we do, that the Palestinian perspective on Palestine-Indian relations needs to be heard, then this is essential reading.

The introduction is by well known Palestinian activist Raja Shehadeh, who appeared on Desert Island Discs in June.



Shalimar at London Radical Bookfair, 2014

London Radical Bookfair & Alternative Press Takeover 2014

Radical booksellers, publishers, artists and activists of all stripes are set to takeover the Bishopsgate Institute on May 10th. All three floors of this venerable establishment will host the London Radical Bookfair & Alternative Press Takeover 2014With over 130 exhibitors, and 20 guest speakers, this will be a unique gathering of progressive readers, thinkers and doers, in a celebration of radical publishing and politics.

This free event is organised by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB), which formed in 2011 to raise awareness of the radical booktrade. The bookfair provides an annual opportunity to bring the UK’s radical booksellers together to meet in person with publishers and the reading public.

Award ceremony for two ARB book prizes
The bookfair also allows the ARB to award its two annual book prizes: the Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing and the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award. Shortlisted authors from the two awards will be giving talks and participating in panel discussions throughout the day as part of a programme which will culminate in the announcement of the winning titles by the guest judges in the Great Hall.

Talks and panel discussions
There will be talks on all of the titles shortlisted for the Bread and Roses Award, with speakers including Rob Evans, Ben Griffin, Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Barry Kushner, Katharine Quarmby, Andrew Simms and Imogen Tyler. The bookfair will also hear from the guest judges of the prize: editor of The F-Word blog Jess McCabe, associate editor at The Guardian Seumas Milne, and writer, philosopher and activist Nina Power.

There will be a panel discussion on the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award, which will be hosted by Wendy Cooling, guest judge and founder of the Bookstart programme, and will include shortlisted authors Deborah Chancellor, Gill Lewis and Geraldine McCaughrean. Another discussion will take place on the subject of radical children’s literature, with children’s authors Alan Gibbons and Catherine Johnson, Ann Lazim from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, and Kim Reynolds from the Institute of Education.

A discussion on ‘Radical Black and Asian Publishing: Legacies and Continuing Challenges’ will be chaired by Sukant Chandan and include Eric Huntley, co-founder of Bogle-L’Ouverture Publications, amongst other speakers.

In addition to these talks, there will be a virtual tour of the invaluable collection of radical materials at the Bishopsgate Institute, presented by resident librarian and archivist Stefan Dickers.

The London Radical Bookfair
The London Radical Bookfair will be showcasing the depth and breadth of radical publishing in the UK by filling Bishopsgate Institute’s Great Hall with some fifty stalls from booksellers and publishers. There are currently other bookfairs dedicated to progressive titles, but they tend to focus on tightly defined political traditions. The aim of the London Radical Bookfair is to be a broad church that brings together these traditions and makes them accessible to a wider audience.

The Alternative Press connection
This year, for the first time, the London Radical Bookfair has teamed up with Alternative Press (AP), whose extended family of writers and artists will be exhibiting and selling their self published comix, zines, art books, and prints in the Upper Hall. They will also share their expertise by leading workshops in print-making and book-binding. To celebrate the collaboration between the two fairs, AP artists have created a series of artworks inspired by the Bread and Roses shortlist, which will be on display throughout the day.

Event Details

Free entry

Taking place at:
Bishopsgate Institute
230 Bishopsgate,
London EC2M 4QH


Bread and Roses Award for Radical Publishing 
London Radical Bookfair
Alternative Press
Alliance of Radical Booksellers
The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award
Bishopsgate Institute


London Book Fair 2014

Shalimar will be displaying a selection of the Indian books that we distribute at the London Book Fair. These will be on Stand O 605, courtesy of our friends and colleagues from NCBA whose stand it is.


The selection includes books from Three Essays, Tulika Books, Women Unlimited and Yoda Press, including the highly acclaimed graphic narratives title This Side That Side.



This Side That Side – Restorying Partition created by Vishwajyoti Ghosh

We would be very pleased to welcome you to the stand, and discuss your requirements for Indian books. We work with leading publishers and distributors in India, enabling us to supply titles on all subjects from all regions of India.


Shalimar representatives at the London Book Fair are Anand and Melanie.


The London Book Fair runs from 8th to 11th April at Earls Court.