The Zoo in My Backyard
Usha Rajagopalan with Tony V Francis
Tony V Francis
Tony V Francis is the author of the best-selling historical fiction The Autograph Seeker. His novel opened at No 13 on Amazon Hot 100 New Indian Releases and received a Best-fiction nomination at VOW Awards 2018. It was longlisted for Jio MAMI 2018-Word To Screen Mumbai Film Festival and is optioned by major production houses.
The Autograph Seeker featured in Deccan Herald Writers Choice 2017 and New Indian Express Authors Choice 2017
Having spent his formative years in Calcutta, the smells, taste and sound of the grand dame of the British colonial empire finds its way into his stories.
Tony is a National Manager with The WPP Group , world leader in advertising, marketing and communication services. He is the former station director of 93.5 Red Fm Bangalore and under his leadership the station won its first Gold at the New York Festival International Radio Awards.
Tony is the recipient of the Distinguished Toastmaster Award(DTM).The award represents the highest level of educational achievement in Toastmasters, an international leadership and communications club.
He is an alumnus of St. Xavier’s Calcutta, Alliance Business Academy and IIM Bangalore and lives with his family in Bangalore.
Usha Rajagopalan is a writer, translator and lake conservationist based in Bengaluru. She is the author of three novels, a collection of short stories, two volumes of Mahakavi Subramania Bharati’s poetry translated from Tamil to English, and a writer’s manual (ed.). She has ventured into writing for children with The Zoo in My Backyard, a memoir of her childhood with a variety of birds and animals as pets. This book was released on 2nd Oct. 2020 at the inauguration of Wildlife Week by the Kerala Forest Department.
Usha has received national and international recognition with The Quest Poetry prize and three times consecutively in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition organized by the Commonwealth Broadcasting Foundation. She was the Andrew Fellow in Fiction at the University of British Columbia, Canada and Charles Wallace Fellow at the University of East Anglia, UK. She was a writer-in-residence at the Sangam House International Writers’ Residency and at Le Château de Lavigny, Switzerland.
She led a campaign to save the Puttenahalli Lake in south Bengaluru in 2008. Usha continues to nurture the lake through her Trust. Among others, they were awarded the Earth Day Network-India’s शहर GREEN करो – It’s Our Turn to Lead award, 2015 and Namma Bengaluru Award, 2012. They were featured as “Water Heroes” in Republic TV’s Har ek Boond campaign, Jan. 2020 and as eco-saviours in Times Now “Amazing Indians” Series 1, 2012.