Browntown Diaries introduces us to the crazy, weird, and just plain funny life of Karan, a teenager trying to survive a summer with his brown family, in a brown town.
He spends his summer on awkward family trips, learning Indian "negotiating" skills (aka: extortion), exploring his sister's Martian roots, and keeping track of his grandpa’s gang activities.
What else would you expect when you’re living in a brown family?
He makes sure to keep track of everything that happens in his diary, no matter how embarrassing. After all, that’s what diaries are for.
Imaan Gill is a high school student living in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. He took his experiences from living in a South-Asian family and put it into his debut novel, Browntown Diaries.
In addition to working on the next Browntown Diaries novel, Imaan spends his free time writing code and playing the guitar. He is an active member of various clubs at his school such as DECA, FIRST Robotics, Student Council and the Math Contest Team. He is a founding member of his school’s Physics Club as well.
Outside of school he is involved in a leadership role with many youth organizations including the Youth Lens Film Festival and Brampton Gavel Club. He has won many accolades for his activities, including a provincial medal for DECA, and numerous awards at various speech contests. Besides writing, Imaan aims to become a Computer Scientist.
Browntown Diaries is novel by debut author Imaan Gill (that's me, I'll stop referring to myself in the third person now). I wrote Browntown Diaries when I was 14 years old. The character of Karan is loosely based on an exaggerated version of myself, and the overall story is based on my actual experiences.
The idea for the novel first came when I was on vacation with my family. From packing winter sweaters for a summer vacation, to faking my age for resort discounts, to practically having my sister and I on leashes to protect us from drowning (meanwhile I saw 3-year old white kids doing back-flips off of boats), there were so many weird and embarrassing situations we got into. We were in the middle of cottage country, and yet my Dad still unapologetically belted out Punjabi songs. His singing was so bad I literally saw families cancelling their bookings and running away from the resort.
It was clear to me; You can take a person out of Browntown, but you can't take the Browntown out of the person.
While at first, I thought this was just torture my Dad was putting me through for the sole reason of embarrassing me, I quickly realized there was an opportunity for a story here.
I used our vacation as a starting point, and before I knew it, I had written 200 pages on my unique and weird experiences living in a brown family.
Why is it Important?
Minorities are underrepresented in literature, making it hard for young people to find characters they relate to. As a kid I've always loved reading, but it was difficult for me to ever find a book that represented me and my culture.
Since I had an interest in writing I decided to take up the challenge of creating a book that would represent myself and those like me. I developed characters based on people around me, and crafted stories by recording my personal experiences. I decided to add humour by exaggerating these experiences. Humour is one of the easiest ways of reaching people, and that's what makes the book enjoyable for everyone, as it gives people a glimpse into what life in a South Asian family is like.
Regardless of ethnicity, everyone will find this story very relatable to them. We live in a world where there's a constant movement of people from one place to another. Being uprooted and moving to a new place is a very unique experience, especially if you have multiple generations living together, all at their own levels of comfort, as was the case with my parents and grandparents moving to Canada from India. Browntown Diaries is the result of old traditions interacting with new experiences.
The book is full of humour, but it also deals with themes of family and finding your own culture, and that's exactly what the process of writing Browntown Diaries helped me to do; I've developed a better understanding of myself, my family, and my culture.
Why we Need Funding
I've had a long creative journey with Browntown Diaries, from writing the first manuscript three years ago, editing and polishing the text, choosing fonts, and getting professional illustrations done. It's a been a long process, and in order to finish and publish Browntown Diaries your support is needed.
Funding will be used to finalize illustrations for the novel, finalize the overall book design, to develop the Browntown Diaries website, marketing, and publishing the book so it can reach and impact as many readers as possible.
Katherine Olenic has given life to Imaan's vision by capturing his ideas in the shape of beautiful illustrations. Special thank you to Mark Verma for managing the illustrations.
Risks and challenges
The story has already been written and professionally edited.
The biggest challenge since then has been finding a reliable source for the illustrations, which has been solved since we have now commissioned a professional artist to do all the illustrations for the novel. We also have a book designer on board to help put the book together. The only challenge remaining would be the design/production of our rewards/merchandise, but seeing as we've already begun the design process and have set a deadline that gives us enough time, this shouldn't be an issue.
Backers will be regularly updated with our progress.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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