[dropcap]P[/dropcap]akistani novelist Kanza Javed, denied a visa to take part in the Kumaon Lit Fest, launched her novel `Ashes, Wine and Dust’ over Skype from her home in Lahore.
Aanchal Malhotra of Tara-India Research, the publisher of the book, was also the per son to release it. Javed had been shortlisted for the Tibor Jones South Asia Prize for her novel.
In the Skype conversation, the 24-year-old author briefly outlined the plot of her book – the story of a young girl, with the three sections in the novel corresponding to the three words that comprise the title.
The protagonist, Mariam, in her negotiation with adults including her grandparents, is a silent observer stumbling on secrets in the family that leave behind deep scars.
As she grows, she also travels from Lahore to Washington. The displacement that goes into her education is the subject of the two latter parts of the novel. Of her experience of being shortlisted for a major award although she was so young, Javed spoke about being overwhelmed. “No one in my family had been a writer.I had no friends who were writers either,” she said.
On a philosophical note, she added that not winning the award was enriching for her since “I was forced to take on board the rather dense criticism of the judges.”