Guest Columnists

Welcome to our guest column series "Drawn from Memory: Reflections on the Art of Illustration."

JJ Books has invited well known writers to recall images that have inspired their work, from Brahma to Beardsley and beyond.


Shome Dasgupta

Shome Dasgupta is the author of i am here And You Are Gone which was the winner of the 2010 OW Press Fiction Chapbook Contest, and The Seagull And The Urn (2013).

Shome's stories and poems have appeared in Puerto Del Sol, New Orleans Review, NANO Fiction, Everyday Genius, Magma Poetry, and elsewhere. His fiction has been selected to appear in The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing (2013).

His work has been featured as a story South Million Writers Award Notable Story, nominated for The Best Of The Net, and longlisted for the Wigleaf Top 50. Shome lives in Lafayette, Louisiana.

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Shome Dasgupta on The Giving Tree

Justine Hardy

Justine Hardy has been based in South Asia for more than twenty-five years as both a writer and psychotherapist specialising in conflict trauma. She is the author of six books, including The Ochre Border (1995), Scoop-Wallah (1999), Goat: a story of Kashmir and Notting Hill (2000), Bollywood Boy (2002), several of which were serialised for BBC Radio 4. The Wonder House (2005), is her only novel to date, and it explores the conflict in Kashmir based on her own experience of frontline coverage and time spent both in militant training camps and among religious extremists.  In the Valley of Mist (2009) was BBC Radio 4's 'Book of the Week' and the runner up in the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in 2010.

Justine has produced and presented documentaries for Channel 4, the BBC and BBC World. She contributes regularly to newspapers and magazines in India, in the UK and in the United States including The Times, the Financial Times, and the Times of India.

In 2008 Justine founded 'Healing Kashmir' an integrated mental health project addressing the debilitating mental health situation in the region. Based on the evidence of this model as a new approach to mental health as a global health issue, Justine has a residential fellowship at Tufts University's Institute of Global Leadership. Justine works with patients and clients in Kashmir, the US, and the UK, and she is currently writing on breaking the stigma around depression and mental crises.

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Justine Hardy on Where the Wild Things Are

Anand Neelakantan

Anand Neelakantan is a former oil industry executive who has become one of India's most popular writers of mythological fiction.

His debut Asura: Tale of the Vanquished was the surprise best seller of 2012 and became the number one biggest selling book on the Crossword list for that year. Anand was chosen as one of the six most remarkable writers of 2012 by DNA.

Anand's second title Ajaya: Book 1: Roll of the Dice, published in December 2013 also reached number one on the best seller list and he was voted one of India's most popular writers in the 2013 Crossword Book Awards.

He is also a regular contributor to the The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Age, The New Indian Express and the Deccan Chronicle

Anand is currently working on book two of the Ajaya series, The Rise of Kali, which will be released in August this year.

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Anand Neelakantan on Ganesha