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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Vimalasara and her forthcoming book Broken Voices

Vimalasara has sent us this report and request for help. We're pleased to pass it on in case there's anyone out there...

She says "Earlier this year I was in India for four months, writing a book on the situation of Dalit women for the FWBO/TBMSG’s ‘Arya Tara Mahila Trust’ - a Buddhist organization working for the empowerment of Dalit women. Initially we’d thought ATMT would try to raise the money to publish it, but after doing the research and writing it up, I felt strongly the book was so important it deserved to be published by an established publisher. Hence my hunt began for the publication of 'Broken Voices - Ex-Untouchable Women Speak Out’.

"Of course I went to Windhorse first as everyone in the Sangha seemed to think they were the appropriate publisher, but alas they are focusing on purely Buddhist books, and felt unable to market the book. I then tried some mainstream publishers, and the following is typical of the letters I got back,

`Dear Valerie,
We discussed your proposal at our editorial meeting on Wednesday and my colleagues were very impressed both by the depth of your research into the normally overlooked lives of ex-Untouchable women in India and by the strength of these stories. This is a really important topic and it's wonderful that people outside the immediate community are beginning to examine these women's lives. But although it's interesting and worthwhile I'm concerned about how we could publish it effectively here. I agree that there is a growing awareness of the Dalit experience and very much admire your attempt to let the women whom you have interviewed speak in their own voice as far as possible but I am concerned that the audience for a general book of this kind would be very limited and with regret we have decided to pass. I'm sorry and wish you every success on publication elsewhere.’

"Four publishers said almost the same thing, so what to do? We tried the FWBO Growth Fund who felt that Windhorse were the people we should be approaching, and some even felt a charity like Karuna should be the ones to publish. But they too were unable to help us. So we are back to square one. The book is with a couple of publishers in India- but if they go ahead this will only be for India, and so we still need to raise the money to publish in the UK.

"This is where self-publishing is a brilliant resource but of course we still need the funds to do this. Everyone who has worked on the manuscript has done it for nothing – which has been an inspiration – and Bhante Sangharakshita has also read it, and agreed to give his endorsement.

"So I’m trying to find away to finance the actual printing of the book, then ways of distributing it. I have some big news which I’m unable to announce till December and therefore in terms of a media campaign that would be a great time to bring the book out."

Please contact her if you think you can help at vimalasara [at]

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