Manoj Kerai contributes this guest post about his time at Goldsmiths and his book The Burning Bride.
I’m Manoj Kerai and I was at Goldsmiths from 2006 to 2012. I came to Goldsmiths through clearing with the intention of only staying for one year before transferring to another university. I didn’t know Goldsmiths would change my life completely and ended up staying for six years doing both my undergraduate and postgraduate here. I went onto work for Goldsmiths Students’ Union as a sabbatical officer. It was whilst I was Welfare & Diversity Officer that the idea for my debut novel came to me.
I was fasting for nine days for Navratri, a Hindu festival which celebrates the female goddesses. My role meant I worked closely with all the liberation campaigns including the Women’s Campaign. I remember being hungry and reading about female infanticide in India. I thought it was ironic that so many people worship goddesses but don’t give the same respect to women and that idea formed the core theme of The Burning Bride.
Every hour in India one woman is murdered for a dowry. The most commonly worshipped goddess in India is Durga who has nine forms. Therefore my story is told through the eyes of nine women. The multiple perspectives highlight psychological, social and cultural factors which result in so many cases of crimes against women.
It’s my ambition to use my writing to change the world. I wrote The Burning Bride to promote awareness and raise money to help end acts of rape, female infanticide, dowry abuse, domestic violence and other crimes. 10% of the money raised from profits of The Burning Bride will work with the Asian Circle to fund projects in India which aim to eliminate domestic violence through education, legal aid and safe spaces. After the release of this novel many British Indian women came forward and shared their experiences of domestic violence. I found a common factor in many of their stories and as a result I am now working with a charity to launch a new anti-domestic violence project which is specifically tailored for British Asian Women.
Guest post by Manoj Kerai (BSc Psychology, 2009 and MA Social Anthropology, 2010). Manoj is currently working on his second novel, The Lost Sunrise, to be released (hopefully!) in Winter 2016. He has ideas for eight more novels focusing on equality and human rights issues with hopes to create more projects off the back of these novels.