Writer Paro Anand to launch her new book 'Nomad's Land'

Children's writer Paro Anand to lauch 'Nomad's Land'
Children's writer Paro Anand. Photo: IANS

New Delhi: 'Nomads Land', a new book by award-winning writer Paro Anand, that is told through the voice of teenagers, and explores the impact of terrorism and displacement, has been announced by its publisher.

Talking Cub, the children's imprint of Speaking Tiger, announced the new book which illustrates the healing powers of hope, friendship, and reconciliation. This timely book presents different aspects of age-old problems as well as contemporary issues such as migration, violence, and the life of refugees.

According to publisher Sudeshna Shome Ghosh, "It is a privilege to publish Paro Anand's works, and this book has been particularly special. In Nomad's Land, Paro has tackled issues that are burning concerns in our world today, and ones that specially impact young minds. She examines questions of belonging, rootedness, community, and she has done so in a way that is powerful and sensitive. 'Nomad's Land' gives me both goosebumps and leaves me in tears every time I read it. It is, perhaps, one of the strongest works of young adult fiction published in India in the recent past."

The author, who won the Sahitya Akademi Bal Sahitya Puruskar in 2017 for her anthology 'Wild Child' (now published as 'Like Smoke'), said: "Years ago, I did a couple of projects, one with the youth of Kashmir-both Muslim and Pandit, the other with children of nomadic Pardhis, a deemed criminal tribe. The sense of displacement and loss, the sense of their stories never being told was so complete that I knew that I wanted to try and be that voice. Of course, their stories are not limited to a few peoples. Around the world, politics of religion and hate drive one group out. And so 'Nomad's Land' was born. "

Adding, "But as I neared the end of the writing, the world changed and we 'otherized' more and more people. The image of migrants making their way home as cities turned their backs, made the book more relevant, even urgent. I am glad that Nomad's Land is coming out now-in this moment of the world. In the hope that even as we socially distance ourselves, we don't distance our hearts."

The book is the story of Shanna and Pema, two girls growing up in a big city, who meet at their new school. They come from displaced communities-people who had to flee their land to escape persecution. Shanna is a Kashmiri Pandit, and Pema comes from a nomadic tribe whose people called the high mountains beyond India their home.

Shanna is dealing with the aftermath of a violent act that has forever changed her life. Pema was born in the city, but all around her are people who cling to the old customs.

As Shanna and Pema become friends, they get to understand their own and each other's stories. They discover new wells of strength within themselves and start to deal with the sadness and confusion of the adults around them. But when they embark on a plan that is as brave as it is audacious, will the forces of history allow them to succeed?

Searing and tender, the book talks about the effects of terrorism and displacement, and about the healing powers of hope, friendship and reconciliation.