Word Masala Foundation takes Diasporic poets to the mainstream
Press Release copied below describing the special event at The House of Lords, London, on 22 June 2016.
‘It was an inspirational evening-truly wonderful to meet and hear such remarkable poets’ – Baroness Prashar.
‘The event went splendidly well and brought together several interesting people. Yogesh, you have every reason to be proud of yourself’ – Lord Parekh, Patron, Word Masala Foundation.
London-based non-profit Word Masala Foundation’s innovative vision was very evident in its major celebration of Indian diaspora poetry on 22 June 2016 at the House of Lords. Poets received awards for excellence in poetry and the British publishers reaching out to the South-Asian diaspora internationally received awards as the Champion of the South-Asian Diaspora Poetry allowing them to be distinctly proud for the work they are doing to include BAME authors and poets in their publishing programme.
In his welcome address, Yogesh explained that it was an occasion to bring together to honour selected Indian diaspora poets from Britain and the USA, and British publishers, large and small, who have brought out work by diaspora poets and are committed to giving fair consideration to work submitted by such poets in the interest of both cultural diversity and the highest literary standards. He also announced a few exciting publishing projects, and then introduced Zata Banks, founder of Poetry Film, whose inspirational keynote speech was about ‘creative opportunities at the intersections of poetry and film’.
Yogesh Patel, Foundation’s founder-director and poet, said, “The diaspora writers have a huge problem finding publishers and agents. There is a general apathy against them, and Page 2 Word Masala Foundation takes Diasporic poets to the mainstream deep-rooted attitudes deny them a fair opportunity. The Foundation will strive to bring the diasporic writers to the mainstream by working with publishers and other organisations active in the British literary field, and give them the recognition they deserve.” Lord Parekh, the Foundations patron, and Baroness Prashar presented awards to two American poets Meena Alexander and Usha Akella who had flown in from the USA, especially for this occasion, and in absentia, to Saleem Peeradina and Pramila Venkateswaran . The British poets receiving awards were Shanta Acharya, Siddhartha Bose, Kavita A. Jindal, Daljit Nagra, Usha Kishore, Reginald Massey, Bobby Nayyar and Debjani Chatterjee. Mona Dash, a London-based poet whose novel was just published in India, received Foundation’s first Crowdfunding award with the contract of publication with Skylark Publications, Yogesh’s publishing arm. To introduce the quality of their work, poets were showcased with the brief reading from their work, to the accompaniment of an excellent slideshow highlighting each speaker and poet’s poetry and achievements. The Foundation is about taking diasporic writers to the next level.
The Word Masala Awards are conferred on published South-Asian diaspora poets with a substantial quality of work, upholding their achievements to the highest standards, akin to ‘Lifetime Achievement’.
For more information, please contact Yogesh and visit www.skylarkpublications.co.uk
Press release copy and photo provided by Skylark.
Left-Right: Zata Banks of PoetryFilm (seated); Poet Yogesh Patel, Founder-Director of Word Masala; Baroness Prashar; Lord Parekh; and poet-publisher Dr Todd Swift of Eyewear Publishing. The photo shows Dr Todd Swift receiving the Champion of the South-Asian Diaspora Poetry award and making an announcement of awarding a contract to Usha Kishore for her next poetry collection.