‘Girl Zero’ is the second in the DI Harry Virdee series - doing for Bradford what ‘The Wire’ did for Baltimore
A tensely paced and meticulously plotted book, ‘Girl Zero’ takes you from the dark heart of the city to its fraught outskirts on the vengeful hunt for a trafficking ring.
This is the second in an explosive new book-a-year series that will put Bradford on the crime map.
Author A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store.
After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing.
The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.
TV rights for the book were snapped up by Filmwave, the producers behind the recent adaptation of JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy for the BBC and HBO.
There are some surprises that no-one should ever have to experience. Standing over the body of your beloved – and murdered – niece is one of them.
For Detective Inspector Harry Virdee, a man perilously close to the edge, it feels like the beginning of the end.
His boss may be telling him he’s too close to work the case, but this isn’t something that Harry can just let lie. He needs to dive into the murky depths of the Bradford underworld and find the monster that lurks there who killed his flesh and blood.
But before he can, he must tell his brother, Ron, the terrible news. And there is no predicting how he will react.
Impulsive, dangerous and alarmingly well connected, Ron will act first and think later. Harry may have a murderer to find but if he isn't careful, he may also have a murder to prevent.
The success has changed his fortunes, reportedly earning £770,932 for his next series
Best-selling Indian author Amish Tripathi has released his much anticipated fifth book, Sita: Warrior of Mithila
The book re-imagines the life of the Hindu goddess from the epic Ramayan.
With four million copies in print, the former banker, who has successfully turned centuries-old mythological tales into bestselling works of fiction, is one of the highest selling Indian authors writing in English.
Written almost entirely during his daily commute to and from work, in the back seat of his car, the book took him five years to finish.
Bollywood director Karan Johar has bought the rights to make a Hindi film on Meluha, and Tripathi has also sold English film rights to an unnamed Hollywood filmmaker.
His Ramchandra series, based on the story of Hindu god Ram, was launched in 2015 with The Scion of Ikshvaku. Sita: Warrior of Mithila is the second in the five-part series.
AUTHORS IN THE MAKING: Class 2SA from Rose Court were successful with their joint story
Writing comes to life for talented young author
A young wizard of a writer from a local Leeds school will see her literary excellence brought to life later this year after success in a national writing competition.
Five-year-old Amna Talha, who attends Rose Court Pre-Prep School, in Headingley, saw her submission in the ‘Oxford Reading Tree’s 30th birthday competition’ selected ahead of over 4,000 others across the UK.
Challenged to write and illustrate a 12-page story for the latest ‘Biff, Chip and Kipper adventure’, the entrants were given creative freedom for what the loveable characters should do.
After learning about the Great Fire of London in school, Y1 children were inspired to create an adventure about Samuel Pepys based on the Magic Key adventures.
Amna’s exciting story, about escaping the fire in a boat on the River Thames, was one of 12 entries to be selected as a winner in the five-to-six-year-old category.
Amna said: “I thought it was really good, even though I didn't win I was still happy for whoever won but the competition went very well so I liked it a lot.
The writing whizz continued: “I felt very happy when I won. It feels really good in my heart. I tried my best to win the competition.”
FIRE ON THE THAMES: Amna Talha is all smiles with her winning story for the Oxford Reading Tree’s 30th birthday competition’
The stories were judged by author-illustrator team Roderick Hunt and Alex Brychta who were ‘delighted’ with all of the creative ideas that the children displayed.
Oxford Reading Tree’s 30th birthday competition was launched by Oxford University Press – the largest university press in the world.
As well as Amna’s individual success in the contest, Year Two pupils at Rose Court were also rewarded with prizes for their African adventure tales.
Class 2SA were among the 18 prize-winners worldwide for their joint class story in the seven-to-eight-year-old category.
Like Amna, their story will also be made into real printed books that they can keep and treasure forever.
WRITERLY WISDOM: Award winning author Sunjeev Sahota has recently been appointed with the role of Writer in Residence at Leeds Beckett University
Author Sunjeev Sahota will share his writerly insight with students
An author who was recently awarded the South Bank Sky Arts Awards literature prize, for his second novel, ‘The Year of theRunaways’, will now take up his position as Writer in Residence at Leeds Beckett University.
Sunjeev Sahota, who wrote the award winning books, said: “I’m really looking forward to working with the students at Leeds Beckett, from first year students through to more experienced writers, and seeing how they develop, spending time supporting them to become even better writers than they already are.
He said: “This role as Writer in Residence is one I’m hugely excited about as there’s something engaging and rewarding about looking at a student’s or writer’s work and helping to make it as much of itself as it can possibly be.”
Sunjeev continued: “My own writing grew out of my reading as I’m a keen reader and engages very directly with the world around me, the world that I see when I’m walking around the streets that I know in Sheffield and in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire.
“They are the places from where I get most of my impetus to write, understanding what makes that world tick through storytelling. My own past and history and what’s brought me to the point of being in England at this point in time, including my family’s background including the act of immigration, have paid a large role in my fiction to date as well.”
Sunjeev, named one of Granta’s Best of British Young Novelists in 2013 and a rising star of contemporary literature, is Leeds Beckett’s first Writer in Residence and will work with both academics and students to support both English Literature and Creative Writing courses at Leeds Beckett.
Dr Katy Shaw, Principal Lecturer in Contemporary Literature at Leeds Beckett, added: “We are delighted to have Sunjeev join the team at Leeds Beckett. He is one of the rising stars of contemporary British Literature and our students and staff will benefit enormously from working with him across the next academic year.
“Both English Literature and Creative Writing are hugely successful and popular areas of study here, and Sunjeev's appointment is another sign of our continued commitment to operating at the cutting edge of our disciplines in the 21st century.”
Born of Punjabi descendants, Sunjeev grew up in Chesterfield. After finishing school, Sunjeev studied mathematics at Imperial College London before working in the marketing department of a leading insurance company.
His love of literature began when he was 18 years old when, on a trip to India, he picked up a copy of Salmon Rushdie’s Midnight Children at the airport; it was the first novel he read and the catalyst to his writing career.
Since then Sunjeev has published two novels: Ours Are the Streets, which examined radicalisation among Muslim youths in Sheffield and The Year of theRunaways, which, released in 2015, was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. The novel explores global issues of identity, belonging and culture through the lives of three male immigrants who arrive in 21stcentury Sheffield.
NOMINATED: Sunjeev Sahota was nominated for the Man Booker Prize
Leeds Beckett University goes book crazy
Man Booker Prize shortlisted author, Sunjeev Sahota, visited students at Leeds Beckett University on Tuesday 8th December.
Speaking to a captivated audience about writing, the deconstructing novels and how the London bombings of July 2007 inspired him to put ‘fingers to keypad’ and write his first novel, he was warmly received by a receptive audience.
The event, called (Re)Writing Yorkshire was collaborated between the School of Cultural Studies and Humanities at the University and The Leeds Library.
Sunjeev was named one of Granta’s Best of British Young Novelists in 2013 and has since become a rising star of contemporary literature.
He has written two novels: ‘Ours Are the Streets’ and ‘The Year of the Runaways’. The latter book earned him a shortlist nomination for the 2015 Man Booker Prize.
Both novels are set against a Yorkshire backdrop and are heavily influenced by race, radicalisation and the global issues of identity, belonging and culture.
Sunjeev said: “I was in Leeds in 2005 during the London bombings. There was something about that event that gave me a lot of pause for thought; about how the psychology would be interesting to explore through the medium of a novel.
“One of the things a novel is great for is trying to get inside the head of people that you might not otherwise think you’d be able to.”
He continued: “The idea of refugees and migrants is on people’s minds at the moment, given Syria.
“Migration is topical but it’s been topical since time began. Migration has been the story of the world. There have always been people who have wanted to move elsewhere for a better life.”
He went onto say that the Indian migrants in his latest book are “not one homogenous, brown mass”.
Dr Katy Shaw, Principal Lecturer in English Literature at Leeds Beckett University and chair at the event, was an integral figure in launching the Granta Best of Young British Novelists list worldwide.
Dr Shaw said: “Sunjeev is an incredibly gifted author. The audience were treated to an insight into his life; from his transition from reader to writer, to him being accepted as a writer on a global scale.”
The (Re)Writing Yorkshire series, which sees academic researchers, established writers and creative practitioners examine new representations of Yorkshire in Literature, Television, Film, Music and Art, will return in 2016.
Past events have featured Yorkshire based poets, Tara Bergin and Helen Mort, and award-winning authors A J Kirby and Richard Smyth.
PUBLISHED: Nafees Hussain saw his story ‘The Secret Life of a Training Wizard’ hit the shelves last month as his first book was published.
Local writer releases first book after ‘conquering personal.
A newly-published author, who had to overcome dyslexia to pen his first fantasy novel, is hoping to motivate children across Bradford to speak out if they are struggling in school.
Nafees Hussain, from Bradford, has suffered from the developmental reading disorder all his life and constantly struggled throughout his childhood, yet never confessed the problem to his teachers.
However, after suffering a fall at work last year and being told to rest for three months, the now 26-year-old decided to put pen to paper one more time in an attempt to ‘conquer his own Everest’.
For 12 weeks, the aspiring author typed up more than 75,000 words and finally came up with his first draft by late February.
The only thing missing was any punctuation, meaning a further two months worth of work was put in before a copy was eventually submitted to a number of publishers.
Nafees completed his story despite struggling with dyslexia throughout the writing
Nafees completed his story despite struggling with dyslexia throughout the writing
“I always had an idea in my head for a story and when I suffered a fall at work, I thought I may as well give it a go rather than just sitting around doing nothing,” Nafees explained.
“One day I just began typing away at the laptop and just wrote everything that came to my head.
“At around April time, I finally submitted it and from there I was just waiting to hear back from anyone. It was a massive accomplishment for me personally to just finish the story whether it would be published or not.”
Nafees explained how as time passed by, he began to lose hope that any publisher would be interested in his fantasy fiction, yet just as he was starting to forget about the story, an American company declared their interest.
“I received a phone call from ‘AuthorHouse’ in America and they said they had read my story and wanted to help publish it,” he added.
“I couldn’t believe it. The last time I had even spoke about it was in April so to hear something so long after was incredible.
“It feels like climbing Mount Everest for me. From struggling with words to actually getting my story published.”
Last month Nafees’ story ‘The Secret Life of a Training Wizard’ was officially released.
The story follows a young boy, who must decide whether to pursue a career in the mines like his father and brother, or opt to venture into the world of magic.
With a host of magical creatures, and a council of dark wizards and witches prevalent, the fantasy story is the first of three parts.
Following on from his success, the local writer is now working with schools across the Bradford district and plans to host workshops on the importance of speaking about dyslexia.
“I have suffered from dyslexia all my life and in school I regret never speaking about it because I really struggled with words,” he said.
“Now that I am older and can look back on my own experiences, I can see how much I would have benefitted from a younger age should I have explained my situation to my teachers.
“Hopefully, I can tell children about the importance speaking about any troubles they are having in school and get them involved in creative writing as well.”
‘The Secret Life of a Training Wizard’ is available to purchase now from Amazon and is also available as an eBook.