Beautiful Thing: Portrait of a Bombay Bar Dancer.
Can you tell us a little about your book Beautiful Thing?
Beautiful Thing is a work of non-fiction. It’s the story of a young girl called Leela who runs away from home after being prostituted by her father and reaches Bombay determined to build a new life for herself. She’s only thirteen when she gets a job as a bar dancer but because of her beauty and vivacity very quickly becomes popular, earning plenty of money and living the lifestyle of her dreams. When I met Leela in 2005, she was nineteen and hopeful that her affair with her boss, a man who was already married and had children, would turn into something more permanent. But very soon after, the government cracked down on dance bars, banning them on the grounds that they encouraged immorality, corrupted the youth and encouraged crime, essentially forcing Leela and about 75,000 young women like her out of work and onto the streets.