Indian writers’ focus on personal agonies denies them place in world literature, says novelist Sethu

Lack of profound experiences and harsh realities like war and mass exodus are forcing regional writers in India to hold on to themes like personal agonies and dilemmas in their works, eminent Malayalam novelist Sethu observed. The choice of such themes deny them a place in world literature as Indian writers are often forced to harp on personal sorrows, Sethu said here last evening on the sidelines of the release of the English translation of his short story collection A Guest for Arundhati and other stories.

“Foreign writers, especially European authors, write about the rejects in the backdrop of war and exodus. As we are lacking in such experiences, we maximise our personal sorrows in our works. So it is very difficult for us to get a space for ourselves in the world literature,” Sethu, also chairman of the National Book Trust (NBT) said. A Guest for Arundhati and other stories, published by Palimpsest, has English translations of 10 Malayalam short stories written by Sethu.

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