Stirling University has a beautiful campus
[The Charles Wallace Trust [India] awarded me their annual Fellowship which allowed me to stay in Stirling University for three months, writing and reading from my work, meeting students and members of the Department of English Stu,dies and participating in seminars.
My heartfelt thanks to Rathi Jaffer and Maya, and everyone at the British Council, Chennai, and Dr Frank Taylor and everyone at the Charles Wallace Trust [India], to Alison at the British Council, Edinburgh, and to Angela Smith, Jacqui Harrop and everyone at Stirling University for making this possible.
The three months at Stirling University as Writer-in-Residence---March, April, May 2004---was a magical time.
As Charles Wallace Fellow, I was given a flat to live in at Polwarth House on campus and an office at Pathfoot Building to work from.
I worked on my ongoing novel, The Third Monkey, but soon found the atmosphere of Scotland overpowering me, and started on a new novel set in the University itself.
The novel is based on the academic experience and is tentatively titled Indian Scotch.
Some of the academic staff in the Department of English Studies were rather alarmed at the prospect of a novel set on their turf and wondered whether they would find themselves on my pages. Well, I don't know as yet! But the novel promises to straddle kingdoms of fact and fiction, a merging of imagination and experience.
I also flew to London three times, a trip for every month I was there.
I wandered in the shadows of William Shakespeare and Robert Louis Stevenson. I met noted UK poets and academicians and soaked in the atmosphere of literary richness.
I made several good friends including Angela & Graham Smith, Corinne, Jacqui, Barbara & David, Dr Frank Taylor, John Drakakis & Stephen Penn.
I had three readings from my novels, poems and a play----at the Department of
English, at the Outsiders Conference organised by the Department which consisted of an international roll of delegates, and to the Stirling Writers Group, which is a group of very talented writers meeting every Tuesday at Tolbooth, a venue steeped in history and charm.
The following pages will take you through some of my experiences.