Unmasked: Stories from the Pandemic – Paro Anand


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I imagined a game of dominoes, or the game we’d played when we were little-‘hai sha, hui sha, we all fall down’

The year 2020 will forever be reported as the time when we all fell down. But it was also the year we all got back up and were forced to come together in a way we had never imagined before.

In this timely masterpiece, Paro Anand writes of despair, courage and hope. Through eighteen short stories, she introduces us to characters who feel familiar and their stories intimate.

From a mother and son looking to make ends meet as the lockdown brutally affects their lives to a housewife who’s a victim of domestic abuse, from young keyboard wizards keen on making a difference to a home delivery executive who becomes an unlikely hero, this book unmasks the layers of the year that changed us all.

About the Author

A fearless writer and performance storyteller with a big heart’ best describes Paro Anand, who was honoured with the Sahitya Akademi Bal Sahitya Puraskar Award in 2017 for Wild Child and Other Stories (now published as Like Smoke with additional content) and the Takshila Srijanpeeth Fellowship in 2020-21. She was invited to speak at the Harvard India Conference hosted at the Harvard Kennedy School. Recognized internationally and locally, including by former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, she has headed the National Centre for Children’s Literature; interacted with over three lakh people, primarily children in difficult circumstances; and now runs a programme called Literature in Action.

Translated into German and Spanish, No Guns at My Son’s Funeral was on the IBBY Honour List. The Little Bird Who Held the Sky Up with His Feet was featured in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up, which is an international gold standard of the world’s best children’s literature. Her book, Being Gandhi, brings Gandhian values front and centre into contemporary children’s lives. She received the Kalinga Karubaki Literary Award for Fearless Women Writers in 2019 and was selected by BBC Hindi for their #100Women Project, a project highlighting the challenges and achievements of women in India. She has a podcast called Literature in Action on Hubhopper.


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