Press

Dread Town

21st January 2018 Reviews

From 3:AM Magazine. One night in my early teens, my father pulled into the road where we lived in the Lozells district of Birmingham. We had just returned from a family visit to a relative’s house on the other side of town. A few yards from home, we were met by a wall of police officers with helmets and shields blocking the street and told to exit our vehicle. Unknown to us – in a time before the internet, mobileRead More

This year’s City Read: Sharon Duggal on her debut novel

21st January 2018 Other

From Sussex Life. Brighton-based Sharon Duggal’s debut novel The Handsworth Times tells of the disaffection, violence and unemployment behind the 1981 riots. It is this year’s City Read, and has been called “a book for our times”. Jenny Mark-Bell finds out why. This year’s City Read is a debut novel from a Brighton-based author. In some ways, its 1981 setting depicts another country: one where the National Front marches unabashed, unemployment is high and riots cleave inner-city communities. But thereRead More

City Reads novel promotes community amid riots and racism

21st January 2018 Other

From The Argus. THIS cultural year in Brighton is shaping up to be quite the antidote – or mode of resistance – to the current social and ideological schisms playing out in the UK and abroad. Kate Tempest, Brighton Festival guest director, has already emphasised the important of empathy and community in the soon-to-be-announced schedule of events. Late last year she spoke to The Argus about her belief in the arts of a means of bringing people together. “You read a novelRead More

Duggal’s debut novel to be championed by City Reads

21st January 2018 Other

From The Bookseller. A debut novel from British Asian writer Sharon Duggal will be championed by City Reads 2017 in the Brighton and Hove area. The “relevant and important” novel, The Handsworth Times (Bluemoose Books), is set in 1981 and tells the story of the Agarwal family set against the backdrop of “Thatcher’s fractured Britain”. City Reads 2017 will launch on World Book Day (2nd March) and will feature a wide range of events themed around The Handsworth Times aimed to encourage residents acrossRead More

Bluemoose Books ‘Book that made my year’

21st January 2018 Reviews

From The Guardian, Hits and misses: indie publishers pick their books of 2016. Kevin Duffy Director, Bluemoose Books The book that made my year The Handsworth Times by Sharon Duggal: how one family struggles to cope after losing a son in the riots of 1981, when the National Front marched through the inner cities and communities fought against racism and injustice, struggling for their dignity. Our book that deserved to do better If You Look at Me I Am Not Here byRead More

Morning Star’s Book of the Year 2016

21st January 2018 Reviews

From the Morning Star. My book of the year is The Handsworth Times (Bluemoose), Sharon Duggal’s account of life in early-80s working- class Birmingham, which is defined by greater and lesser griefs. Mukesh Agarwal’s son Billy is knocked down and killed by a hurrying ambulance and, as he slips into even greater alcoholic incoherence and joblessness, the other family members move to different points of the grieving compass. Their son Kavi becomes totally nihilistic. Nina the eldest daughter escapes toRead More

Women Reads Books

21st January 2018 Reviews

From Women Reads Books. Mukesh Agarwal sits alone in the Black Eagle pub, unaware that a riot is brewing or that Billy, his youngest son, is still out on his bike…A mile away, at home in Church Street, Anila, one of the three Agarwal girls, is reading Smash Hits and listening to Radio One as she sprawls across the bottom bunk, oblivious to the monumental tragedy that is about to hit her family. It is 1981 and Handsworth is teeteringRead More

Amazon

21st January 2018 Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk. “The Handsworth Times” is an outstanding work in every aspect. It conveys a visceral sense both of time & place with a prose style that manages to be both clear & detailed, & also stylish & unostentatiously poetic. But for all its literary qualities, the book is also gifted with fiction’s first requirements, a rattling good yarn & an engaging cast of characters, & these are again managed with consummate & effortless skill. What Jane Austen does withRead More

The Asian Writer

21st January 2018 Other

From The Asian Writer. Q. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started your writing journey? Like most writers I have always written in one way or another but as a working parent with three children it was never going to be easy to make it a priority, at least not until the kids were a bit older.   When I was on maternity leave with my youngest child and my twin boys started school I did an onlineRead More

Riotous story of the power and potential of working-class solidarity

21st January 2018 Reviews

A review by the Morning Star. THIS novel by Sharon Duggal of life in early-1980s working-class Birmingham during the time of inner-city rioting is defined by the greater and lesser griefs of the Agarwal family. Through their voices, the wonderful cussedness of a people and a community that will not be destroyed either by itself or by others speaks loud and clear. The tone of loss is set early on, with father Mukesh Agarwal supping in a pub as theRead More