Routes by Rhiya Pau

Winner of a Society of Authors Eric Gregory Award 2022

ISBNs Print: 978-1-913665-71-5 £9.99 eBook: 978-1-913665-72-2 £4.99 Audiobook: 978-1-913665-73-9 £12.99


24/11/2022 90pp POETRY

Poetry exploring the routes taken by Rhiya Pau’s parents and grandparents across multiple countries to arrive in the UK. Specifically linked to the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Ugandan Asians in the UK.

young asian woman with long hair smiling up at camera

At the core of this debut collection is a question – what is worth holding onto?

Through poetic experiments that blend the academic and the artistic, Rhiya Pau queries complex characters and tender landscapes. Routes journeys from Ba’s kitchen in Sonia Gardens to Independence hour in Delhi, across the pink shores of Nakuru, to meet a painter on Lee High Road. 

Celebrating fifty years since her community arrived in the UK, Pau chronicles the migratory histories of her ancestors and simultaneously lays bare the conflicts of identity that arise from being a member of the East African-Indian diaspora. In this multilingual discourse exhibiting vast formal range, Pau wrestles with language, narrative and memory, daring to navigate their collective fallibilities to create her own identity.

Routes …holds up to the light the wisdom of the past, and asks what else is passed down along with it.

This is a collection in which routes and roots tug against one another: a family is scattered in the wake of India’s Partition; its children and grandchildren make new homes for themselves within a kaleidoscope of tongues. This is a work of humane intelligence, formal experiment and linguistic verve that promises much.

Sarah Howe, Eric Gregory Awards 2022 Judge

Rhiya Pau’s collection is a feast of language and probably the first with such inventive and delightful use of Gujlish. From India’s Independence struggle to the global pandemic, Pau maps the political and emotional landscapes of her immigrant Gujarati family, bringing their many worlds to life through unforgettable sights, sounds, and sensations. With richly diverse and experimental storytelling, this collection re-imagines and re-interprets the many possibilities and meanings of identity, diaspora, belonging, and community for South Asian immigrants everywhere.

Jenny Bhatt, author, translator, and founder of Desi Books


…thought-provoking, comforting and felt like a bittersweet yet warm hug that god know I needed!

Ananya Ranjit, Pardesi

Reviews and coverage:

Read an interview with Rhiya Pau in Asian Voice magazine

“[Routes] seeks to capture how the violence and legacies of Partition seep into everything…” – Sana Goyal, The Poetry Review

…there are delightfully unexpected turns of phrase, almost synaesthetic in their blending of the senses… A fantastic first book.” – Bookish Beck blog 

Read an interview with Rhiya Pau in the Lewisham Ledger

A lovely collection of poems inspired by bother inner and outer journeys… These poems are very accessible and brought me along with the poet as she explored these themes of belonging, cultural unfamiliarity, and self-discovery.” – A Wordy Woman blog

“…in this book, Pau attempts to rebuild that understanding and chronicle, in poetry, something of the history of those who have arrived in the UK from the South-Asian continent over the past fifty years… The poems are a rich whirl of memories, colours, history, stories, traditions, families and experience… very highly recommended” – Goodreads Review

Visit our media information page to find out more about Routes, read a short interview with Rhiya Pau and download an exclusive extract from the collection. Please email for password access to this page if you are a journalist, book reviewer, festival programmer, bookseller or librarian.