Friday, 17 March 2017

Amit Dhand: Streets of Darkness #crimefiction

Emily Gibbons writes:
Amit Dhand with interviewer James Nash
Headingley LitFest had another brilliant and insightful event with local pharmacist Amit Dhand, who was promoting his novel, Streets of Darkness. The book has been hailed as ‘Luther meets The Wire’, with its dark subject matter and dramatic style. Dhand was in conversation with James Nash, another local talent, and the dynamic between the two was engaging and humorous, hugely contributing to the friendly atmosphere at the event. It was lovely to see such a local turn out, as the majority of the attendees knew Dhand from his pharmacy and so had a personal investment in the work.

Dhand spoke a lot about the publishing industry itself, and the importance of editing. As he said, ‘writing is rewriting’, and for each novel he writes he ‘burns’ around 60,000-70,000 words in order to make it the best it can be. Whether you’re a student, poet, or novelist yourself, the importance of editing cannot be underestimated, and as Dhand said, you can’t control what happens to your work once it is submitted into the world of publishing.

The most interesting discussion at the event was about how the book is situated within current debates of diversity. Dhand observed the lack of well-written Asian characters in media, and his book aims to fill this gap by writing about real situations and complex characters, and not resorting to tropes or racist stereotypes. He also said he actively tries to include characters from all walks of life in his books, which is reflected in Streets of Darkness, and particularly in the upcoming television adaption and subsequent novels in the series. The evening concluded with a reading of the prologue of Girl Zero, the next DI Harry Virdee book, and a room full of people about to embark on a new crime adventure.

Lucy Radnedge writes:
In stark contrast to the dark nature of his novel Streets of Darkness, Amit Dhand is Headingley’s very own charming Pharmacist, a husband and father. He began writing comedy, not surprising as his witty temperament shone through, and then moved into crime fiction. Greatly amusing the fellow audience and myself, Amit shared that his love for crime narratives sparked when he used to sneak downstairs as a young teen to watch scary movies his parents had banned him from watching. 

Despite being advised by several editors that three separate narratives was too much too handle, his passion to succeed never ceased because for Amit one narrative was just not enough! His ten years of hard work, writing and rewriting has certainly paid off as Headingley’s residents and I relished seeing our local pharmacist reach the bookstore charts.

Sally Bavage adds:
LitFest was pleased once again to have support from three lovely Leeds University students: Emily Gibbons, Lucy Radnedge and Tricia Ramsey.  They were a great help at a packed event.

Audience Comments

Excellent interview with AAD.  James Nash sympathetic and allowed Amit to be himself.  Some interviewers don't.  Amit v honest, funny and interesting.

Great event.  Very lovely chap.  Entertaining evening and look forward to reading the book.

Excellent presentation from a creative writer at the heart of our community. More of the same!

A very engaging speaker (although I arrived late and had to sit at the back, so didn't hear everything despite my new hearing aids).  He seems to have really enjoyed becoming a writer, although it has been hard work.  One certainly felt one would like to read more of his words.

A wonderful evening – fascinating and absorbing.  Will definitely follow this writer. 

Deep and honest impression of the writing of this book and interesting comments from the audience.

How very refreshing to listen to a writer with feet so firmly on the ground. I also very much liked the lack of 'political correctness' and as a resident of Bradford look forward to a lift in the national view of the city.

Can't wait to read this book.  Very interesting evening and very funny.

Very interesting talk, great to hear a local author at the start of what is going to be an exciting career as a writer.

A wonderful event, a compelling talk.

Dev Patel as Harry Virdee?  A A Dhand absolutely charming and thoughtful.  Great insight into his way of writing – formulaic perhaps – but effective!

Good show.  Enjoyed listening to someone who is treading a different path.

Excellent event, very well hosted.  Refreshing to come to an event and not just hear about the book 'Streets of Darkness' but be entertained.

Really inspiring, refreshing and enjoyable.  Thank you!

Very enjoyable event – added to an already very enjoyable book.

Great set up,  interesting night and good host.

Great event – well managed via chairs, questions and a writer who could also talk well about writing.

Very interesting talk

A terrific evening with a wonderful author/speaker (who I knew nothing about before, and don't even use his pharmacy).  Good interviewer and excellent audience.

Very interesting and enjoyable.  Nice man!  Thank you. And James (Ed: Nash, interviewer) did well too!

Really interesting and informative evening – thought the interviewer also did an excellent job.

Very good.  Interesting questions from the poet James Nash and witty humorous responses from Amit Dhand.  The local pharmacist angle was an extra bonus!

Excellent and insightful talk

Excellent talk.  Giving a good insight into the art of writing.  Presented in a humorous way.

Good to see a very local writer.  Conversation concept good.

Very interesting/articulate/informative.  Look forward to next book.

Excellent!  Very enjoyable.

Well done!  Refreshing open and helpfully informative about writing and publishing.  Clear and confident about himself as citizen and crime writer.  The local detail (Bradford and Leeds) was fascinating, lent the issues addressed (the discipline of writing, the question of identity) were immediate and very involving.

Really interesting and well presented.  Very enjoyable, well done.  The seating arrangement could have been better perhaps – have them (Ed: speakers) central rather than to the side.

Bought the book at the chemist!  Loved it and looking forward to reading the rest.  Thanks for the opportunity to meet the author (or I could pop to the chemist's!)

Very enlightening and good to hear opinions from the author on political correctness!

Most interesting interview – Amit comes across as a very pleasant and down-to-earth character – hope he continues to do well

Good comfortable venue.  Seemed very organised with lots of staff and started on time.  Nice balance of time for interview and time for audience questions.  Refreshments would have been nice, also microphones.

Amit is an excellent speaker – he had our attention all the way through.  Very entertaining evening.  Brilliant book!  Fascinating read.  Looking forward to the next book and another evening here!

The author talked interestingly and need no prompting.  In my opinion the second man on stage was unnecessary and almost interrupted the author's thought direction.

The speaker needs to stand up whilst speaking and to have a microphone.  Very large people should be dissuaded from a seat in the front row.

1 comment:

  1. Picked up 'Streets of Darkness' at my local supermarket. I am really enjoying reading it- it measures up to S.McBride, James Oswald, Arlidge etc. I hope there are many more books to follow about the Bradford detective.