Phoebe Shanahan writes:
Photo: Richard Wilcocks
Attributing his continuing career in pharmacy to his love of meeting people, it should have come as no surprise that author Amit Dhand easily captivated the room, taking us on a journey from his parents’ corner shop in Bradford through to his decade-long struggle to be published.
Punctuating his tale with anecdotes that had us laughing out loud, Dhand provided an immensely helpful insight into the world of novel-writing and publishing. From practical techniques to emphasising the importance of authenticity, Dhand encouraged the audience to ‘not quit’ in their writing. Dhand inspires not only though skill but in his love for storytelling. I couldn’t wait to dive into Streets of Darkness, and am intrigued to read the work of Tess Gerritsen, an author whose influence provided a wonderful arc to Dhand’s story.
Learning from his father’s decision to ‘change the narrative’ and engage with a local gang who were targeting his shop, the primary theme of Dhand’s talk was one of engagement and resistance of segregation. He explores the battle of cultures; why divisions exist and what happens if you have changed your narrative and your family has not. In a fracturing world, Dhand wishes to remind us that ‘the things that scare us are all the same’.
Confirming to an enquiring audience member that he would not be tempted to make a run at politics, Amit Dhand epitomises the author who ‘has a lot to say’ but feels it is best to do so through fiction. With a third novel and TV drama on the way, watch this space.
LitFest is very grateful for the support from Leeds University students Megan Fowler and Phoebe Shanahan.
A fascinating literary journey engagingly told. Persistently putting early rejections behind him, until finally landing his first book deal. Great story
First time I've been to a LitFest event – I'll definitely be back (and bring friends). Excellent evening
This event gave me an insight into the writing process and makes me realise just how difficult it was for A A Dhand to publish his books. He also inspired me to read more fiction books
Change the Narrative. How he got to where he is today. Very interesting personal journey. Informed about race, identity, India, Pakistan, Bradford
Fascinating account of Amit's patience and tenacity iin dealing with agents and advvisers while he was experimenting with writing first drafts. His colour-coded plan for his successful final draft was really impressive
Excellent event, thought-provoking and candid. Amit Dhand was as much of a pleasure to listen to as he is to read. Well done, Headingley LitFest
Excellent evening – good talk by author and interesting questions (but he needed to speak up a bit!)
Last year's talk inspired me to buy/read a book. This will make me buy the next one.
Very engaging talk from an impressive young man
Fascinating insight into what drives someone to get their story published, the problems they face and the determination to succeed. Really interesting personal views
Very inspirational speaker. Exactly what a local lit festival should be about – talking about writing an local issues and solving world problems
Reading a Lee Child novel at present, so I had to come along to meet Amit. I'd disagree with him, of course – he would be a breath of fresh oxygen that UK politics really needs
Ed: Lee Child gives Amit a very strong recommendation on the cover; the audience suggested Amit would make a good politician