Shahida Nessa Rahman, 40, was born and raised in Cambridge and still lives there today. She is of Bangladeshi origin and is married with four children; three sons and a daughter. She published her first book, Ibrahim-Where In the Spectrum Does He Belong? in 2005 and was published in an anthology called Behind the Hijab in 2009. She has been published in Best of British and Children of the New Earth magazines. Lascar is her first historical novel and was longlisted for the Brit Writers Unpublished Award 2010. She also wrote a radio play drama based on the novel for Silsila Production’s Lascar Heritage Project in 2011.
Shahida co-authored the screenplay, India Ink. It reached the final of the Write Movies International Writing Contest 2011 and was recently shortlisted for the Circalit Story Department Contest 2011.
Lascar is the epic story of one man’s journey to fulfil his destiny.
When Ayan discovers his brother has cancer, the need to cover medical expenses propels him to leave poverty-stricken Bengal and emulate their late father by becoming a Lascar – shoveling coal in the bowels of the steamships trading between India and England.
The brutal reality of this existence leaves Ayan fearing for his life. Fleeing the ship, he disappears into the bitter-cold streets of Victorian London.
What follows is a true test of faith, as Ayan experiences love, loss, prejudice and extreme injustice.
After serving time for a crime he did not commit, the kindness of a new friend and a chance meeting with a young half-caste street urchin changes everything, prompting Ayan to re-examine his life.
The publishing industry is as tough as ever and I wanted the best possible chance for my novel, Lascar to succeed. I submitted my novel to Hilary and she steered me in the right direction. Without her expert advice and help, I wouldn’t have secured a publishing offer. Thanks to Hilary and her team, Lascar will be published in June 2012.~Shahida Rahman