Fiction and poetry reading list

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  • Voices on the verandah : an anthology of Anglo-India prose and poetry, edited by Margaret Deefholts and Sylvia W. Straub.

Monroe Twp., New Jersey: CTR Books, 2004

"The content is drawn from two sources, firstly entries to the Anglo-Indian Literary Contest in 2003/4. From over 150 entries, 22 short stories and 29 poems were selected, including contributions from [two] FIBIS members ... Secondly there is a 'Guest contributors' section which features the work of distinguished Anglo-Indian writers such as Ruskin Bond, William Dalrymple and Russell Lucas. The aim of the book is twofold, firstly its publication will help in preserving the culture of the Anglo-Indian community for posterity. Secondly the entire proceeds of the book go to CTR, a USA based 'not for profit' organisation ... dedicated to helping Anglo-Indians in India..." The full review by Geraldine Charles is on pp. 52-53 of FIBIS Journal 13 (Spring 2005). Further reviews and information are at the CTR website


  • Cornwell, Bernard
    • Sharpe's Tiger: Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Seringapatam, 1799, 1997, volume 1 of a trilogy.
    • Sharpe's Triumph: Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Assaye, September 1803, 1998, volume 2 of a trilogy
    • Sharpe's Fortress: Richard Sharpe and the Siege of Gawilghur, December 1803, 1999, volume 3 of a trilogy.

Cornwell's historical fiction takes in the 4th Mysore War and 2nd Maratha War in this trilogy within his Richard Sharpe series of books. Technically accurate and informative, they are exciting and enjoyable for fans of the era and this popular fictional genre.

  • Kipling, Rudyard

Plain tales from the hills. Oxford: OUP, 2001 (Oxford world's classics)

At one time Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) was the most popular writer in English in the world. He was born in India, educated in England and returned to India where he worked as a journalist and assistant editor. His writing was unusual for the time as he often portrayed the lives of the invisible strata of society in British India such as the British soldier and the prostitute. Plain tales was his first collection of short stories. They provide a series of small windows into life in British India as viewed by a contemporary.

  • Orwell, George

Burmese days. London: Penguin, 2001 (Penguin classics)

As the local judge plots the downfall of the unbribeable Dr Veraswami and the members of the British Club bemoan the uppity behaviour of the natives and the lack of ice for their drinks, John Flory feels increasing dissonance until the arrival of the young Miss Lackersteen brings the possibility of a soul-mate. The author’s background makes him a child of the Raj, but instead of being adulatory about British rule this is a searing account of racism and corruption set in a remote Burmese outpost in the 1920s. The evocative descriptions of the landscape, the trials of the climate, and the characters both local and expatriate who populate the novel bring place and period powerfully to life. Orwell knew what he was writing about; Eric Arthur Blair (his real name) served with the Indian Imperial Police Force in Burma for a number of years. Prior to the book being published in 1934 there were concerns about law suits. After reading it the head of the Mandalay Police Training School threatened to horsewhip his former student should he ever encounter him again. His family was apparently unperturbed by the story. Perhaps his father having been an uncovenanted member of the Indian Civil Service in the Bengal Opium Department and his mother having grown up with her French family in Moulmein, South Burma, meant that they were unsurprised by what George Orwell’s first novel revealed.

Another review is on the website The British Empire

The text of the book can be found online at *Burmese Days