By John Burbidge

The Boatman

An Indian Love Story

Written with passion, integrity and humor, The Boatman is packed with incident, anecdote, adventure and above all, real and memorable people. Burbidge takes hold of India as few have done before, deftly interweaving the search fo selfhood with an intimate exploration of Indian life and society

An Indian Love Story

An engrossing, often disturbing, story, grippingly told. It is both every gay man’s story and unlike any you’ve ever read.

— Robert Dessaix

The six years John Burbidge spent in India as a community development worker changed him in many ways, but one stands out from all the rest. It led him to confront a deeply personal secret—his attraction to his own sex. After taking the plunge with masseurs on a Bombay beach, he found himself on a rollercoaster ride of sexual adventuring. A complicating factor in his journey of self-discovery was the tightly knit community in which he lived and worked, with its highly regimented schedule and minimal privacy that forced him to live a double life.

Burbidge’s story shows us how, when we dare to immerse ourselves in a culture radically different from our own, we may discover parts of ourselves we never knew existed.

South Asian edition published by Yoda Press

Praise for The Boatman

Burbidge’s book is immensely educative and should be compulsory reading on how a foreigner discovers his true nature but returns home a very strong and confident man in charge of his life. The Boatman will surely take you across the Ganga.
   — Ashok Row Kavi, Hindustan Times

This tender story of naked lust and obsessive craving is as intoxicating as India itself.
   — Benjamin Law, author of Gaysia and The Family Law

The Boatman brought back a flood of memories of the times we all lived in, in India. Burbidge has managed to capture the details and nuances of the culture so effectively. Huge congratulations and a big hug for the book. With a good writer who can develop a dramatically interesting screenplay, it could be an engrossing film.
    Sridhar Rangayan, filmmaker and gay rights activist

Touching, honest, and brave, The Boatman draws us irresistibly into an intense new world. Vivid descriptions and a heady pace never let the reader go.
   — Dianne Highbridge, author of A Much Younger Man and In the Empire of Dreams

Unexpectedly contemporaneous, while still managing to evoke the ethos of a country in flux–the early profusion of exotica giving way to a more observed understanding of  India.
   — Vikram Phukan, TimeOut Mumbai

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My Writing Blog

Musings from a Writer’s Life

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Confession: I’m a Westwallah!

During six years in India I grew accustomed to hearing the word ‘wallah’, whether it be a chai wallah, rickshaw wallah, or one of dozens of other trades, specialties or locations that wallah denotes. It was one of those Indian words that had seamlessly slipped into English and everyone understood it.

When I embarked on writing and publishing some years ago and was searching for a suitable name for my business, Wordswallah immediately came to mind. I was delighted when my graphic designer created a logo that not only captured the word beautifully but linked it stylistically to its Indian origins.

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Becoming My Own Publisher

Becoming My Own Publisher

After having had six books published in four countries, I decided to try self-publishing my latest book, MORE THAN HALFWAY TO SOMEWHERE. This decision was driven by comments from a previous publisher and a writer friend who both deemed my collection of travel stories ‘not commercially viable’. But I also had a desire to experiment with this way of reaching readers, in which I would have control over the entire process, from writing and editing to designing, printing and distributing my book. Or so I thought.

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