Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
Anita Anand has been a radio and television journalist for almost twenty years. She is the presenter of ‘Any Answers’, the political phone-in on BBC Radio 4. She was a presenter on ‘Drive’ and the ‘Anita Anand Show’ on BBC Radio 5 Live. On television she has presented ‘The Daily Politics’ on BBC 2, ‘The Sunday Politics’ and ‘Newsnight’. Anita has also presented ‘The Westminster Hour’, and ‘Beyond Westminster’. She has interviewed five Indian Prime Ministers, three from Pakistan and Great Britain and one from Bangladesh. She is the author of ‘Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary’ published by Bloomsbury in 2015.
TGBC had reviewed her debut publication Sophia in March,2015.
It has been a pleasure to connect with Anita and we at TGBC look forward to her next book.
TGBC: What inspired this book?
Anita: I have been a political journalist for almost twenty years and a feminist for even longer. I am Indian in origin but live in Great Britain. With Sophia’s life story criss crossing my own Punjabi heritage, the immigrant experience, colonialism and suffragette movement too you could say she catered to all my food groups… and more as it turned out.
TGBC: Why Sophia Duleep Singh?
Anita: She was a true hero – one can understand when those who do nothing stand up and fight, however when those who have everything to lose choose to battle for those less fortunate, well that is true nobility. Also it made me furious that she had been ‘white-washed’ from history. Hers was a story that first interested me, then obsessed me and then became my duty to tell.
TGBC: What was the research experience like? How easy or difficult was it to find information?
Anita: It was proper investigative journalism, however most of your witnesses were dead… there was much dust, many archives, a few attics but luckily there were people still living who knew the princess and had wonderful stories to share… also the British were brilliant at cataloguing and bureaucracy – and their ‘political and secrets’ department was full of treasure.
TGBC: From a well known radio and tv presenter to a writer, describe the writing experience.
Anita: A friend recently summed this up for me – Writing a book is like reading a book – except the book is trying to kill you. I have never worked so hard in all my life. But worth it in the end.
TGBC: What next?
Anita: I am currently working on a book about the Kohinoor diamond with William Dalrymple… that should be out later this year (if the book doesn’t kill me first) – and i have another in the pipeline, but i can’t really tell you about it. Only that it’s a stonkingly good true story.
Feminism always had the good and the bad, yet no one realizes this. I’m glad this movie actually shows the reality that these women had to face so white women can have their rights that they felt they needed. I hate to say it though, feminism was a middle class, white women’s club because they screamed the loudest for their problems, screw the lower classes and minority women that wanted their rights as well 🙂
It’s sad that women had to go through this much trouble just to have a say in how they were governed. You would hope that after all this claim to civilization and psychological evolution and philosophical advancement that all human beings would now be “equal”. Maybe on paper, for the sexes, but there’s still a long way to go…