New book champions underrepresented female writers from Birmingham, Bangladesh and Pakistan

Kavita Bhanot, Roma Saimbi, Piali Ray OBE (Sampad), Anne Cockitt (Sampad)

Birmingham based culture and arts development agency, Sampad Arts hosted local and international writers at a special launch party for the book – titled ‘My City, My Home’ – this week at The Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) in Edgbaston.  

The organisation who also published the book, initiated an international competition searching for contributions from both established and emerging writers from Birmingham, Bangladesh and Pakistan in September 2020.  

The book contains a collection of 184 poems, short-stories, spoken word, letters and other prose with the aim of reflecting women’s identities and roles in the 21st Century.   

Piali Ray (OBE), Artistic Director of Sampad said: “It has been an ambitious project in the sense that we wanted to have three languages in the same publication. 

“I am delighted that this project resonated with so many women and made them think about their identity and the connection with where they live, where they moved from and where they call home. 

“The book gave so many women the chance to open up and feel free to write whatever they chose to. 

“It’s been a privilege to read their work and find new writers too.”  

From the entries, three overall winners were selected – each representing a country featured in the book.  

English language winner, Ilika Chakravarty Mandal’s piece ‘Yellow Sweater’ was a poetic letter to her ageing mother about finding a home in Birmingham but also moving across cities and continents.  

She said: “To see my story published and shared is simply fabulous and I am inspired to try writing more regularly.” 

‘My City, My Home’ is part of Transforming Narratives, a project that supports creative organisations in Birmingham to engage with artists and organisations in Pakistan and Bangladesh.  

Sophina Jagot, Project Director at Transforming Narratives said: “We are delighted to be working with Sampad to share the words of women across these three countries, in some instances sharing their words for the first time, and to feel a connection with all their experiences and ambitions.” 

‘My City, My Home’ (£4.99) is available to purchase directly from Sampad by emailing, using ‘Purchase MCMH’ as the subject. Visit for more information.  


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