Poets mark 25 years with books

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Three new books have been released as part of a group of writers’ 25th anniversary celebrations.

Batley poetry collective the Gujarati Writers Forum has published 19 books since it was founded on June 20, 1990, by people aiming to preserve their language and express themselves in Britain.

Forum founder andchairman Ahmad Lunat OBE said: “The main idea was that both Asian and British communities work together and we want to show the importance of this.”

Along with a silver jubilee celebration last month at the Al-Hikmah Centre, which was attended by around 250 people, the trio of booklets were released by the forum, based in James Street.

These include Batley Bond, an anthology of verse by writers from the area, and Guldaan, boasting work from six local Gujarati poets.

Batley Buds compiles the work of 29 pupils aged 12-13 from Batley Girls’ High School on the subject of kindness. The forum worked with co-headteacher Julie Haigh and the youngsters were presented with the books at a ceremony on June 4.

Mr Lunat said: “It was good quality and I think the children are amazing. The main thing we want is to bring out the talent and give them a platform.”

Poet Devika Dhruv,from Houston, USA, attended the function on May 15 as the chief guest. She heard how immigrants landing from hot climates into the fog-torn chill of Yorkshire became not just homesick but language sick.

Originally formed as the Gujarati Writers Circle, the group has held mushairas – poetry recitals – and workshops. The first Gujarati mushaira took place in August 1971, when nine poets from Yorkshire and Lancashire recited their poems to an audience of 121 people.

Ring Mr Lunat on 07980611808 for copies of the books.