As well as encouraging book
groups to share their reading experiences, the Devolving Diasporas project featured
creative writers who engage with ideas of diaspora
in inventive and provocative ways. In turn,
their work challenges us to think about the
meaning of diaspora.
Fortunately, we can rely on
writers to ignore, reinvent and refuse the descriptions
that readers give to their work: categories
such as ‘diasporic’, ‘multicultural’
and ‘postcolonial’. All the writers
featured here have, in varied ways, links to
Scotland and in their writing they ask questions
about home, identity, memory, travel, nation
and migration. We are delighted to be showcasing
a range of creative writing here, and we are
grateful to the writers for allowing us to read
and reread their work.
Siddharth Chowdhury is a novelist and short-story
writer. He was born and raised in Patna, Bihar,
India, and now lives in Delhi, working as an
editor for Manohar Publishing. He is the author
of a collection of short stories, Diksha at
St Martin’s (Srishti, 2002), and a novel,
Patna Roughcut (Picador India, 2005). Timeout
Mumbai described Patna Roughcut as ‘a
love letter to Patna’. In 2007 he was
named as a writer to watch in the UK Guardian
shift’. Kathleen McCaul reported,
‘for many years India’s literary
culture has been focused on London and New York.
But things may be changing’.
Siddharth Chowdhury is the
2006-7 Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship in Creative
Writing at Stirling University. Of his time
on campus in Stirling Chowdhury writes:
I came to Stirling as
a city boy, who loved shopping malls and neon
lights and leave as a man who will forever
awake to the sound of oystercatchers. A time
of introspection and rare friendship and also
uninterrupted work. The first time in my fourteen
years of writing I actually lived the writer’s
life. And liked it. Much to my amazement.
Needless to add Stirling will always be special
Here we feature a short piece
titled, ‘A Life in the Day’, following
the author’s alter-ego on his journey
to work in Delhi. This article originally appeared
in Delhi City Limits, 31 January 2006.
Life in the Day
Suhayl Saadi is a novelist, poet and playwright.
He was born in East Yorkshire and moved to Scotland
as a child in 1965.He grew up in Glasgow, studied
medicine at the University of Glasgow, and has
worked in various medical specialities in Scotland.
In 1999 he won a Millennium Award to set up
and run Pollokshields Writers’ Group in
Glasgow, aimed primarily though not exclusively
at writers from Minority Ethnic backgrounds.
He is the author of The Burning Mirror, acollection
of short stories (Polygon, 2001), the novels,
The Snake (1997) and Psychoraag (Black and White
Publishing, 2004), and four plays: Saame Sita
(2003), The Dark Island (2004), The White Cliffs
(2005) and The Garden of the Fourteenth Moon
(2006). You can read more about Suhayl and extracts
of his work on his official
In his article, ‘Being
Scottish’ (2002), Saadi writes:
I celluloid my forehead
and hastily scribble: SCOTTISH. But that is
inadequate, so I add: English, British, Pakistani,
Indian, Afghan, Sadozai, Asian, European,
Black(-ish), Minority Ethnic, Male, Non-resident,
21st Century person, 15th Century being, Glaswegian,
Middle-class, Writer, Seeker, Lover, Physician,
Agha Jaan, Son, English-speaking, Music-loving,
Left-leaning… until I run out of space
and time and ink. Scottishness becomes a metaphor
through which I perceive other things.
The short story featured here,
‘Extra Time in Paradise’ also invites
us to think about Scottishness, shifting between
Celtic’s football ground, known as ‘Paradise’
to fans, Punjab and Cathcart's Muslim graveyard.
The story appears in two versions, to use Saadi’s
words, in ‘Glaswegian-ish’ and ‘Standard
English’. The first version was commissioned
and published by Celtic View magazine (official
weekly magazine of Celtic Football Club) in
2003. We publish here the two versions of the
story. Our Scottish reading groups read these
versions along with Jackie Kay’s The Adoption
If you would like to tell
us about your experience of reading these versions,
please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Time in Paradise (Standard English version)
Extra Time in Paradise