Renée Sarojini Saklikar. (Photo: sfu.ca/Samantha Vessios)

Renée Sarojini Saklikar. (Photo: sfu.ca/Samantha Vessios)

BOOKS

New ‘epic fantasy series in verse’ from Surrey’s first (and so far only) Poet Laureate

Renée Sarojini Saklikar’s ‘Bramah and the Beggar Boy’ published on July 17

Surrey’s former Poet Laureate has written the first book in “an epic fantasy series in verse,” about a female blacksmith and an orphan beggar boy who time-travel, helping survivors in a world ravaged by climate change.

It’s the plot of Renée Sarojini Saklikar’s Bramah and the Beggar Boy, from Nightwood Editions, an independent publisher marketed and distributed by Harbour Publishing.

The 341-page book works to fuse fantasy, poetry, philosophy, climate-change activism and both gender and race politics.

Bramah and the Beggar Boy is billed as “simultaneously a fantasy story set in a world of accelerated climate change, an exploration of language and poetry forms, from the traditional to docu-poetics, and a meditation on good and evil, from the point of a view of a brown female hero.”

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Saklikar’s fantasy series is dubbed THOT J BAP, or The Heart Of This Journey Bears All Patterns.

Epic fantasy in verse, she says, is her blend of two genres: high fantasy fiction and epic poetry.

“High fantasy fiction often involves alternative worlds where time travel and magic happen alongside battles for good and evil,” she explained. “Epic poems are long narrative stories told in different styles of poetry. In the THOT J BAP book series, you’ll find both genres combined within the structure of an epic, written in verse.”

Author of the award-winning poetry book Children of Air India and also Listening to Bees, Saklikar was Surrey’s first Poet Laurate from 2015 to 2018, and a successor has not been named.

The “literary ambassador” position was created by Surrey city council in 2015 as a way to “champion the literary areas and to raise the profile and image of Surrey as a creative and cultural centre that values literacy,” at a cost of $30,000 for three years.

• RELATED STORY, from 2019: Surrey searches for next Poet Laureate, with Saklikar’s three-year term ended and funding OK’d.

For her THOT J BAP series, Saklikar said she’s working on Book 2, with several others in the works.

Bramah and the Beggar Boy features cover art by Nadina Tandy, series logo by Top Shelf Creative and interior typeset by Carleton Wilson.

Released July 17, the book sells for $26.95 on harbourpublishing.com.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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