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The INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD for The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Short Stories by Fiza Pathan




Author Fiza Pathan receives national recognition through the INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD®!


MumbaiThe INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD recognized The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Short Stories by Fiza Pathan as a Distinguished Favorite in the category of LGBTQ Fiction. This is the third award bestowed on the book the other two being 2018 Montaigne Medal Finalist (Eric Hoffer Book Award) and the 2018 Shelf Unbound Competition for Best Independently Published Book – Notable Indie

The competition is judged by experts from different aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters. Selected award Winners and Distinguished Favorites are based on overall excellence.

Title: The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Short Stories

Author: Fiza Pathan

Genre/category: LGBTQ Fiction




The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name by Fiza Pathan is a collection of twenty-one original short stories, each centered on some aspect of the social, cultural, psychological, and emotional issues facing the LGBTQIA community in the world today. False prejudice has blighted much of society’s sensitivity to what is necessarily a human rights issue. Ignorance has compounded it. What if you, as a parent or a family member, are faced with this “coming out” issue? Are you aware what each term in the acronym LGBTQIA really means? Are you aware of the emotional and psychological damage you do to a loved one when you fail to understand, and/or reject, their perspective of love, sex, and acceptance?

Understanding the implications of the above, the author after months of research has crafted these stories based on actual conditions existing in different countries of the world. You will meet Rocky in “(A)sexual Story,” the psychiatrist Dr. Timothy in “Fix It,” and Jasmine and Randy in “Human Work of Art.” You will learn about DSD–Dysfunction Sexual Disorder–in “Isher” and why Bangkok is called the “Kathoey Paradise.” You will shudder at the public repression of gays by ISIS in Raqqa, and learn about the dichotomy that exists in Iran. You will revel at the miracle you witness in “Topanga,” cry for Sameera in “The Girls’ Bathroom,” and be educated by “The Gay Truth.”

And in all these stories and many more, you will learn that every human being suffers like you do and rejoices as you do, and deserves the right to choose how he or she should live their life, however different we perceive them to be.

In 2018, we again had a most impressive worldwide participation: cities such as London to Moscow to San Francisco, and many countries such as Australia, Canada, India and Japan, and across the globe had books submitted to the INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD. We are so delighted to announce the winners and distinguished favorites in our annual 2018 INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD. Independent publishing is very much alive, and continues to flourish worldwide.” said awards sponsor Gabrielle Olczak.

For more information please visit and to see this year’s list of Winners and Distinguished Favorites, please visit the website pages and


My Friends on the Other Side (Umberto Eco & Harper Lee): by Fiza Pathan

I felt I just had to share my post of February 21, 2016. It is as relevant today as it was then.


51gzmhkPBxL._UX250_I’m not here to talk about how Harper Lee and Umberto Eco left this world.

I’m not here to write their eulogies on

I’m not here to describe their body of work or how popular they were.

I’m here to send a message to my readers that we mourn Harper Lee and Umberto Eco because we knew them; they were popular. But out there in the world, there are many writers whose deaths don’t concern us, which they should.

For when an ordinary person who does not write dies, one life in the family of humanity is lost.

When a writer dies, many different kinds of people, places, worlds, universes, thoughts etc., die with him/her. In short, a part of humanity itself is lost.

I was an introvert at school and no one wanted to be my friend. I grew reclusive even in the midst of school chaos and…

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Say It Outloud

I am grateful to Dr. Gabriel Constans for his insightful and thought-provoking review of my book ‘The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name: Short Stories’. I am reblogging the same for the benefit of my followers.

Gabriel Constans

51TNQTUdZkLThe Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name – Short Stories by Fiza Pathan. Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

Confession time. When I saw that this collection of short stories was over 450 pages long, I planned to skim over them and write a brief overview. After reading the first one, The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name, I was hooked and ended up reading each story from start to finish. They are all excellent, different and well written. They take place in different countries (India, Canada, United States, Iran, Syria, un-named South American country, Thailand, and the United Kingdom). What they all have in common is the portrayal of someone who is not part of the stereotyped heterosexual majority.

Each person must deal with the prejudice, religious intolerance, and/or ignorance, of their family, community, friends, culture, and/or government. Oscar Wilde quotes are also part of many of…

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Review of The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro

Review of The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro
Reviewed by Fiza Pathan


After reading The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro, I immediately purchased a Kindle copy of her book The Muralist, and read it on my Kindle Fire. I have a feeling that this book, The Muralist , is one of the best books I have read this year. The story is about art, especially art during World War II, when painters like Pollock, Krasner, and Rothko evolved a new form of art altogether, which is termed Abstract Expressionism. For those of you who are familiar with this very famous form of artistic expression, this is certainly a book you should pick up and read. Those of you, who are also fans of art or artists, should definitely read this soul searching book, which is itself a work of art. B.A. Shapiro has merged the tale of the evolving of Abstract Expressionism, with the tale of Alizée Benoit, whose family is stuck in France due to problem of getting visas to America. They want to flee France, their homeland, because they are Jews, and believe that Hitler will take over France. The family of Alizée Benoit, flees France with a impressive number of other Jewish refugees, most of them innocent children, on the ship SS St. Louis, to Cuba and from there to the USA. However, once the ship reaches the shores of America, they are not allowed to dock, and are literally and metaphorically turned back to Europe, to their death, or as Alfred Lord Tennyson would put it, into the Valley of Death. This happened, because the US President and his Assistant Secretary of State Long, felt that that their applications for visas were not acceptable. They did not wish to take on the responsibility of housing refugees, especially Jewish refugees, for they wanted no part of the war in Europe, they did not trust the refugees, and lastly, they were most concerned that these refugees would take up all the jobs in the US, which rightfully belonged to the American citizens. (Now, where have I heard that before???) The story, which is gripping and intense, gives us a glimpse of the USA of the late 1930s and early 1940s, as well as the story of Danielle in 2015, who is trying ways and means to find out what happened to her family, the Benoit’s, during World War II, and how Alizée Benoit had a major role to play in Abstract Expressionism of the ‘30s and ’40s. The novel is racy but a tearjerker in parts. The characters are more than real, and the plot is tight with no loop holes. The Muralist  by B. A. Shapiro, speaks to the readers soul, and shows us that at times, we are, or find ourselves, so helpless to save our loved ones, that even something as small as a painting or a mural is used to tell the deaf, mute, and blind world, about pain, grief, and death — meaningless death. Alizée, is a very strong character in this novel, and for those readers who love strong female characters in their books, this is the book for you. I am an Indian, born in the late ‘80s, so I am technically not so familiar with contemporary World War II and American History, and the heroes and villains of this part of history. Nevertheless, B. A. Shapiro explanation in the form of a fiction novel is so easy to comprehend, that I began to appreciate many people I came across in this book, especially people like Varian Fry and Eleanor Roosevelt. You must read this book as soul tonic. Watch out for Shapiro’s depiction of Eleanor Roosevelt, as you are definitely going to love it. It goes without saying, that if you as a reader are interested in a different and unique novel, which is part non-fiction, set in the time of World War II, then this is a book you should read. For those of you who have been and are being persecuted for your beliefs, beliefs which do not harm anyone, then this book is soul curry for you, to know that you are not alone. The Muralist is evocative and mesmerizing. The book poses a lot of questions to us, questions that are uncomfortable and need to be answered, questions about morals and ethics versus politics and selfishness. One question cut me to the core: Do innocent refugee children, who have come to seek shelter in your country, look like political spies to you? I had to cry, because I am proud of my country, India, who is definitely like a Mother, for she accepts everyone who comes to her for help. There is a saying in India, that you will find a duplicate of everything, except a duplicate of Mother India. We have given shelter over the ages, and over centuries, to Jews, Christians, Muslims, Zoroastrians, Buddhists, etc., and now they are as much a part of India, as the original Harappan people were. I am proud of my country — Are you? All these questions can be answered in The Muralist, through its characters, and history and art behind its evolution into a work of perfection. Though I have read a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, about the Holocaust and World War II, this was the only one to bring a lump to my throat, as it dealt with something that is part of the horrible present. Alizée, Henri, Danielle, Babette, and others, come alive to you through the pen of the master literary artist B. A. Shapiro. It questions, it entertains, and it paints — most importantly, it paints. A must read for everyone, but especially for those writers, artists, poets, journalists, etc., who are being persecuted for expressing their right – their right to freedom of expression. I loved this book. Buy it. NOW!

Copyright ©2017 Fiza Pathan


Review of Busy Woman Seeks Wife by Annie Sanders

Review of Busy Woman Seeks Wife by Annie Sanders
Reviewed by Fiza Pathan


Meg Sanders and Annie Ashworth are the writing duo of this book which I have recently read. The first thing that made me grab the book, and place it in my library cloth bag, was definitely the title, Busy Woman Seeks Wife! As I read the synopsis and the reviews of the book, I was already immersed in the lives of Alex, The Bean, Frankie, Saff, Ella, and the rest of the wonderful cast of characters which makes this chick lit book, perfect reading material. If anyone wants a light but funny read, and is going on a vacation, this book should be a great reading companion either when you are on the beach sunbathing or in a hammock whiling away your time. It is a relaxing read, which can be finished in no time at all. In spite of my busy schedule I still finished it in three days. This is because of the wonderful way the chapters are spaced out in the story. This book is more like Katie FForde’s books than Marion Keyes, but with the character ‘The Bean’ in this book, laughter and smiles galore will come your way. For all those girls who are independent, and those working in offices, this is a light read for you, but still in a way, an enlightening read. For stay at home mothers this book is something that you should read, to see the world through the eyes of both, a working independent woman, and a home bound wife. The character of Frankie is something that I have not seen in most chick lit books that I have read over the years, and you should read about him, as he is just amazing and a nonconventional hero. I know I have said this before, but I repeat, please – please – please do not miss ‘The Bean’ — she is superb and yet can make you emotional at certain parts of the story. As for me, the story of the workaholic Alex, who is looking for someone who could do housework, laundry, and shopping for her, is something which even I seek for, more than a husband, which shows how our society and how the gender spectrum is changing, not only in the real world, but in chick lit as well. For you to know how Alex manages to find her ‘wife’ and how a man she doesn’t know from Adams, starts doing her dirty laundry, you’ll have to read the book. There is a bit of a mystery too in the book, which is fun to solve. Enjoy yourself, in a good, neatly edited, and funny chick lit book. Great job Annie and Sanders, for a book, well written and very enjoyable.

Copyright © 2017 Fiza Pathan

Review of The Boyfriend by R. Raj Rao

Review of The Boyfriend by R. Raj Rao

Reviewed by Fiza Pathan


I have been wanting to read this book in a long while. I managed to do so last week, and I finished it in the early hours of September 7. R. Raj Rao is a blessing for readers who love cynicism and wry humour in their LGBTQ literature. I had a fun time with a lot of laughs reading this book, which describes the love story of a middle-aged Yudi and his young lover Milind. The book is easy to read, and flows beautifully into the reader’s system just like an R. K. Narayan novel, only a bit bolder. If you want to get a closer look at the Gay scene in Mumbai, during the 1990’s, and how difficult it was to pick up lovers for quick sex at that point of time, this book is a tongue-in-cheek revelation into that area of study. If you want to read a well written Indian LGBTQ book, then this is the one for you, and believe me you will have a lot of laughs as you turn from page to page. However, don’t be fooled by the brash and unashamed humour of the author, because The Boyfriend also speaks about the pulse of Mumbai through the eyes of a Gay man, a very novel way to look at Mumbai in the early 1990’s. There is mention here of the 1992-93 riots for those readers who wish to know how Gay life was affected during those horrible months of murder, carnage, and destruction. R. Raj Rao style of writing equals, if not surpasses, the likes of the best Indian narrative writers of the late 1990’s and early 2000. Once you are done with this book, you will definitely want to read more books penned by the author. It is a guaranteed addiction. Unfortunately, R. Raj Rao has only written two more novels after The BoyfriendHostel Room 131 and Lady Lolita’s Lover. I have already read Hostel Room 131 which is funnier and yet informative about the LGBTQ scene in the 70’s and 80’s. If you as a reader are up for a mellowed down Mumbai, erstwhile Bombay, city adventure, then this is the book for you. The plot is unique, the narrative exemplary yet written in simple language, and the characters in the story are few, but well developed. The line or border line between pathos and humour is so thin in this novel, that if it were not for the author’s excellent sense of humour in his writings, this book would have deviated towards the pathos angle, making the story of Milind, Yudi, Gauri and Dnyaneshwar, a tragedy of sorts. Just get this book and read it. Then buy the other two novels of R. Raj Rao and read them. You will be surprised by the way you will sink into the books like quicksand. Happy Reading.

Copyright © 2017 Fiza Pathan

Review of Just Henry by Michelle Magorian

Review of Just Henry by Michelle Magorian

Reviewed by Fiza Pathan


Just Henry by Michelle Magorian is a book that I have been coveting to read for a long time. I managed to get my hands on it and read it a few weeks back. It is a 702-page-book, with a lot of action, drama and suspense. It tells the story of a fifteen-year-old boy, Henry Dodge, and how he handles challenges in his life in the backdrop of 1949 London, just after World War II. This book covers the early black and white films of the last century and how children like Henry who lived in post war England, used to find solace from the anxieties of their life, at Picture Palaces, watching these movies. If you like films and the cinema, this is the book you should be reading. It may be 702 pages long, but for a person who loves cameras, films, and especially the early black and white movies, this book will be a real treat. This book is meant for preteens, young adults, as well as adults, who want a new way of looking at post -World War England, through the life and times of a boy growing up there. The mention of the names of these old but golden, black and white movies, will bring back sweet memories to readers who have watched them. I would also like to mention how powerful Magorian’s story telling skills are, as she effortlessly weaves in drama, emotion and adventure into the book like a wonderful seamstress, with a theme not many young adult writers are willing to work on. I admire the way topics like bigamy, illegitimacy, broken homes, divorce, etc., are handled skilfully by a master writer. The characters are larger than life, something like the grand movies they watch almost every week, if not every day! The arrival of modern day jazz and the bebop scene is also recorded here in Just Henry, with the subplot of the character Grace, who can neither read nor write, but who can sing in ‘alto’ and creates a small revolution among her friends and the girls of her age group who were taught that girls can only sing in ‘soprano’ and can’t sing low. Other memorable characters like Mrs. Beaumont, Jefferies, Pip, Mrs. Carpenter, Daniel, Mr. Dodge, Mr. Finch, etc., make the story come alive, and makes the fiction book so gloriously real, that at times emotions seize you with a tight grip as you read the hard-hitting and excellent dialogues. A great read for readers of all ages by the award-winning author Michelle Magorian. Just Henry is ‘Just Superb’.

Copyright © 2017 Fiza Pathan