The Autograph Seeker
 

Launching soon  at the Bangalore Literature Festival- October 2017

The story of a school boy in Calcutta who against all odds stages a play on the history of his school. The play features the love child of a married English woman and a Native Indian, set in British India. To help him stage the play is a mute Anglo Indian beauty he loves and who is to leave him forever.

The story of a school boy in Calcutta who against all odds stages a play on the history of his school.

The play features the love child of a married English woman and a Native Indian, set in British India.

To help him stage the play is a mute Anglo Indian beauty he loves and who is to leave him forever.

.01

the Autograph Seeker

A 'School- Age' Romance Novel by

Tony V francis

'At the heart of this effervescent saga is the city of Calcutta and within it, a hundred and fifty year old institution. Two stories run side by side.

In a time of colonial rule, fate has thrown together a diverse cast onto a theatre stage- from an enchanting actress to a bankrupt theatre manager, from a young Bengali native to a free-spirited English woman estranged from her husband.

As their ties with the greatest theatre in Bengal crumble, their stories are discovered a century later by a school boy and his mute teenage love.'

‘ Can there be anything about life in school that you haven’t already read? Well, maybe there can. A good bit of it turns up inside the pages of The Autograph Seeker, an appealing ‘school-age romantic novel’ where the characters are natural, relaxed and most times funny. Illusions are dashed and humiliation must be borne but life in this Catholic School is honourable at its core.’

‘ The Autograph Seeker holds up  as a story of love, conflict and separation. It is also a must read for anyone seeking to discover or rediscover the sung and unsung history makers of the eighties and early nineties between the subtle lines of the novel.’

 

 
Her beauty was sudden and compelling. She was a good distance away for me to see the colour of her eyes clearly but I kept staring, as her hair,caught up in a high ponytail, swung liltingly as she moved. And I gaped.
That evening,I entered my room in a daze,dropped my bag on the floor and collapsed on the bed. The shoes remained on my feet for a long time as I lay staring up at the ceiling.
At dinner, my mind was chaotic. When my appetite refused to allow beyond half a chapatti, I understood what had happened. Though I did not yet know the word ‘infatuation’, I was infatuated.
— The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 1
 

.02

key Highlights 

 
 

Autographs

More than forty relevant autographs: The protagonist collects the signatures of individuals who define his time.Original autographs include that of Mother Teresa,Amitabh Bachchan,Clive Lloyd, Dharmendra, P.T.Usha, Alan Border, Vijay Amritraj, ,Rajinikant, Rakesh Sharma, Dimple Kapadia,Sunny Deol, Usha Uttup and others……And continues with Dr.Devi Shetty, Kavita Krishnamurthi, Salman Khan, Javed Aktar,Tigmanshu Dhulia, Sachin Tendulkar, Gulzar, Krishnamachari Srikkanth,Shah Rukh Khan and others.

Whispering landmarks

The novel brings to life the whispering landmarks of Calcutta. Take a mind tour along with Vinny and Tony- Alice and Addy to the following locations-    St.John’s Church    South Park Street and Bhowanipure Cemetery.Princep GhatAuckland Hotel.The tomb stones of Henry Vivian Drozioand Job Charnock.Nirmal Hriday and

St.Xavier’s Collegiate School

                   Among Others…….

 

 
 
At the Oberoi Grand lobby, a very young me waited along with Appachan and his friend, the hotel manager. When a relieved Bachchan entered the lobby, wide-eyed,I simply raised my notebook to him. The superstar stooped to oblige me with an autograph. I spent months staring at the autograph. I felt it had a life of its own.A part of Amitabh Bachchan now resided in me.  Autographs represent my childhood, my failures, and my efforts to reassemble myself. - The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 1

At the Oberoi Grand lobby, a very young me waited along with Appachan and his friend, the hotel manager. When a relieved Bachchan entered the lobby, wide-eyed,I simply raised my notebook to him. The superstar stooped to oblige me with an autograph.

I spent months staring at the autograph. I felt it had a life of its own.A part of Amitabh Bachchan now resided in me. 

Autographs represent my childhood, my failures, and my efforts to reassemble myself.

- The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 1

Esther Leach’s sun set on a Saturday morning.  At the Bhowanipore cemetery, great crowds gathered to bid their favourite actress a final farewell. Near the grave stood Alice. Standing some distance away, Addy, the native member of San Souci Theatre, watched Alice holding back her tears as her mother’s body was lowered into the grave. She looked so young, so desolate and vulnerable. Her innocence was captivating. Addy felt an urge to go up to her and console her. Of course, he knew the futility of the thought. - The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 2

Esther Leach’s sun set on a Saturday morning. 

At the Bhowanipore cemetery, great crowds gathered to bid their favourite actress a final farewell. Near the grave stood Alice.

Standing some distance away, Addy, the native member of San Souci Theatre, watched Alice holding back her tears as her mother’s body was lowered into the grave. She looked so young, so desolate and vulnerable. Her innocence was captivating. Addy felt an urge to go up to her and console her. Of course, he knew the futility of the thought.

- The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 2

Book Cover 1.jpg
 

.03

Praises for the

autograph seeker

 
Abe Thomas, CEO, Radio City - Music Broadcast Ltd.

Abe Thomas, CEO, Radio City - Music Broadcast Ltd.

In a world of selfies, Francis has brought back the autographs by sprinkling it like gold dust on top of a compelling story. Operating well within the comfort of a world that is familiar to him –Calcutta now Kolkata, the Jesuits of Xavier’s, popular culture – Francis crafts a sensitive, and for the most part genuinely moving story whose biggest strength is unarguably it’s characters.
— Abe Thomas, CEO, Radio City - Music Broadcast Ltd.
Vineet Singh Hukmani -MD & CEO - 94.3 Radio One

Vineet Singh Hukmani -MD & CEO - 94.3 Radio One

The innocence of pursuit of ‘autographs’ by a child reminds us all of the things we did as children to pursue ambitious fun goals without ever discouraging ourselves by saying ‘its not easy’ or ‘ how will I do it’ . Then we grow up and begin to feel fear of unchartered territory and we forget to have fun!  Such a book with a unique story and backdrop  will help anyone connect with the goal driven child that still resides within every adult.
— Vineet Singh Hukmani -MD & CEO - 94.3 Radio One
B.Surendar- COO Suryan Fm and Red Fm 93.5 ( Sun Network)

B.Surendar- COO Suryan Fm and Red Fm 93.5 ( Sun Network)

Francis has put together a heady cocktail of enchanting school age romance , mesmerising nostalgia of the 80’s and 90’s , earthy experiences in the City of Joy and has flavoured it with the autographs of personalities who dominated that era .
He has got a creative , sensitive , entertaining and a brutally honest mind .
— B.Surendar- COO Sun Network (Suryan Fm/Red Fm 93.5)
Jimmy Tangree, Head, Friends 91.9 Fm – ABP Group

Jimmy Tangree, Head, Friends 91.9 Fm – ABP Group

The Autograph Seeker has got a bestseller stamp all over it for Francis. From the witty dialogue exchanged between the characters, to the writers tendency to self-reference with the ‘Autographs’ and his skill at mining laughs from seemingly serious situations. What a ride.
— Jimmy Tangree, Head, Friends 91.9 Fm – ABP Group
When the two lead actors shared the stage together it had become obvious for all to see that there was a crackling chemistry between the dark native Addy and the white Englishwoman. The adrenalin was still pumping when after the play Alice and Addy came out to take a curtain call together and were received with a rapturous applause. The Bengal Harakaru in its review of the evening performance calling Addy’s pronunciation of English remarkable in spite of his ‘handicap’ as a native. San Souci was back in business. - The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 8

When the two lead actors shared the stage together it had become obvious for all to see that there was a crackling chemistry between the dark native Addy and the white Englishwoman.

The adrenalin was still pumping when after the play Alice and Addy came out to take a curtain call together and were received with a rapturous applause.

The Bengal Harakaru in its review of the evening performance calling Addy’s pronunciation of English remarkable in spite of his ‘handicap’ as a native.

San Souci was back in business.

- The Autograph Seeker, Chapter 8

 
Tony V Francis

Tony V Francis

Author

Tony V Francis is an author, media professional and a sought after public communicator.Tony was a charter member of Star Network’s Radio City when private Fm started in India.

As a station director he launched 93.5 Red Fm’s Hindi Music format in Bangalore. Under his leadership the radio station won it’s first Gold at the New York Festival’s International Radio Program Awards for Best Human Interest Story.He is now a Senior Director with WPP, the world largest Media investments group.

He is an alumnus of St.Xavier’s College Calcutta, Alliance Business Academy and the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Shinie Antony

Shinie Antony

Editor

Shinie Antony is an author, editor and a literary genius.She is the co-founder of the Bangalore Literary Festival and an award winning short story writer and novelist.She has influenced the work of popular writer Chetan Bhagat’s novels as the editor of all of his seven books .

Of Shinie, Chetan writes in his acknowledgement- ‘Shinie Antony, my friend mentor and guide who taught me the basics of story telling…’

Shinie is the recipient of the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story prize -Asia region.

Rashmi Menon

Rashmi Menon

Commissioning Editor

Rashmi Menon is the commissioning editor at Amaryllis Books who has championed the cause of Indian writers.She brings to the community three formidable talents in three distinct disciplines. Writing, editing and Literary Community building.

Rashmi has been a Senior editor with Rupa & Co and Informative Content Editor with Campfire Graphics

 

The Publishing House AMARYLLIS is a literary fiction and non-fiction imprint that brings to readers the best in writing from across the globe. AMARYLLIS brings to readers books of the highest quality, elegantly designed with exceptional production standards. AMARYLLIS has full support of its parent company, Manjul Publishing House, established in 1999 that publishes in 10 Indian languages, has as many as 250 titles on its list, several of which have recorded sales of over 100,000 copies. AMARYLLIS comprises a highly experienced publishing team that has worked with several bestselling national and international authors, as well as international agents and publishers.

 
 

.05

CONTACT THE AUTHOR

 

Subscribing to theautographseeker.com will give you access to  newsletters,  bonus chapters and new stories from the Upcoming 'The Autograph Seeker' short stories.

The author is a sought after speaker in the fields of motivation, effective communication and media. He has conducted powerful sessions at Top educational institutes and Corporate organisations for over fifteen years. He is a certified Advance Communicator- Gold with Toastmasters International and his rich experience in media makes him an engaging public communicator to share his experience on topics such as Human Relation Principals, Speaking with power and Leadership among others.

To know more about The Autograph Seeker Lecture Series please download the promo below after filling in your contact details.

 

 
Tony V Francis, author- The Autograph Seeker

Tony V Francis, author- The Autograph Seeker

The Book Tour

Follow the characters of The Autograph Seeker as they take you around the 'whispering landmarks' of Calcutta, now Kolkata in the theatre of your imigination.

St.John's Church Where:2/2, Council House St, Lal Dighi, BBD Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal Build: 1787

St.John's Church

Where:2/2, Council House St, Lal Dighi, BBD Bagh, Kolkata, West Bengal Build: 1787

Pathure Girja-Stone Church

One evening he reached ‘Pathure Girja’ before her and finding the church empty sat down, closed his eyes as if praying. When he opened his eyes, he found Alice sharing the same pew but looking at him directly. He had been right all along as to the colour of her eyes. They were a dreamy blue. Unprepared for what had just happened, Lawrence began to cough uncontrollably, making Alice laugh a little. When Lawrance got hold of himself Alice spoke.

 ‘Is it just my imagination, sir, or have you been following me?’

St.John's church

Have you been staring at me while I had my eyes closed?

Now why would I do that? I signed getting up.

This place is known for stalkers.

Alright, I’ll mention it in my research, St.John’s Church, home for stalkers.

You can also mention that if you walk into the church compound, you will find the mausoleum of Job Charnock.

And that was the reason my friend had got me to the St.John’s church.

Tomb of Henry Louis Vivian Dezorio Where: South Park Street Cemetery,Park Steet, Kolkata Build: 1767

Tomb of Henry Louis Vivian Dezorio

Where: South Park Street Cemetery,Park Steet, Kolkata

Build: 1767

Derozio's tomb

Lips parched, skin bluish-grey and eyes glowing with fever, DeRozario imagined himself to be at Hindu College. DeRozario began whispering lines from The Poet’s Grave, one of his own compositions.

DeRozario breathed his last before he could finish the last line. With tears warming his cheeks, Addy completed it for him.

‘There never pilgrim at his shrine shall bend
But holy stars alone their nightly vigil keep.’