By Aminah Sheikh

jayanthi.jpgLet’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

As is the case with most of us, constant inner exploration with strings and strings of questions ushers me towards the world of fiction, I suppose. And that subsequently widens my imagination more and more.

Fiction always fascinates me, both to read and to write. For me, it is like living one life in reality but tens of thousands in the fictional space.

I write for the creative experience itself more than the politics in, out of and behind the issues although I do appreciate and enjoy them all while reading others’ works. I’ve found myself narrating mostly with an anthropological approach but the characterization and dialogues in my fiction certainly don’t shy away from the political side of the issue. I let them be as political as required. So, naturally I’ve never believed in creating an ideal world through fiction nor have I ever tried to give any solutions to the issue. The characters take my stories forward. This could be one of the reasons for readers and critics’ ‘author is absent in the narration’ experience and comments.

Like I always say it is the creative experience that I always long for that has been helping me evolve spiritually, the person that I am and will be. It’s one of the important byproducts of my reading and writing fiction for twenty two years.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

With only two or three stories left to be written, ‘Dangling Gandhi and other short stories’ in English, is forming decently well. Although few of them talk of the contemporary issues in Singapore, some of the important stories transcend beyond eras and geographies. Thus the weaves, I hope, would subtly raise many intricate questions on several social issues of not just the modern multicultural societies and human migrations in this shrunken world, but also of the colonial India, Malaya and Singapore.

Zafar Anjum, the publisher cum writer with such a beautiful theme of ‘empowering and connecting Asian readers and writers, everywhere’, has been gracious to have launched ‘Horizon Afar and other Tamil short stories’ of mine, the second of its kind, at SILF16 at Kishanganj. How well he knows about the role of translation in filling the gaps and also in cultural sharing. I owe it very much also to the earnest and enthusiastic translator and writer P.Muralidharan of Chennai, and the editor of the book for her help in improving the text.

It may sound too ambitious or a little pre mature to say I wish to write a novel based on my transit experience at Delhi amidst the first week of demonetization woes, the SILF16 (Seemanchal International Literary Festival 2016), the town of Kishanganj, Bagdogra, Darjeeling but I hope some creative magic really happens.

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Farah Ghuznavi

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

I write in order to save my (admittedly fragile) sanity! Otherwise the voices in my head would drive me crazy…

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My most recent project was a short story written from two points of view — that of a Filipino man and a Sri Lankan woman. I was interested in finding out what it would be like to write a story with characters that I didn’t particularly like, and to use contrasting perspectives on the same set of events to tell a third story — one that was different from both versions offered by the protagonists.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

I’m not sure I have a writing aesthetic as such, because I enjoy good writing in many forms. But I do have a soft spot for humour and wordplay, a clever turn of phrase.

Who are your favourite authors?

I have so many! But my favourites include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alan Paton, Elif Shafak and J. K. Rowling.

What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.

The most challenging piece for me so far has been my short story Judgment Day, which was awarded in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition 2010, because it was my first — and so far, only — attempt to write science fiction. The story is told in the voice of a female robotics scientist living in 2250, and examines how human relationships change as a result of technology, and what remains familiar to those of us living in the 21st century. To make matters worse, the story originally had to be written within a word limit of 500 words, and it was one of my earliest experiences with flash fiction!

By Rituparna Mahapatra

Storytelling could have never been more interesting. The brilliant minds at Penguin have come up with a novel idea to sprinkle our lives and emails with a pixie dust of interesting tales.The stressful office emails can take a back seat

Their goal is to make your inbox a better , happier place- one story at a time.

Beginning October 11th, till December , they will email eleven fiction stories directly to you. All you have to do is sign up for it, which is very simple. You just have to provide your email id. You’ll receive a fragment of a story, one day at a time , till the full narrative wraps up just before the weekend. The stories are free and are exclusively available only on emails. If you have registered late , not a problem ; they provide you with a catch-up link, with a note : The catch-up link will expire every Saturday at midnight EST. From then on, the story will live only in your memory (and in your email).

jhumpa_lahiri-620x412First-time Irish novelist Eimear McBride beat five other authors including Pulitzer Prize winning Indian American writer Jhumpa Lahiri to win this year’s Baileys Prize, the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman.

McBride’s debut A Girl is a Half-formed Thing tells the story of a young woman’s relationship with her brother and the long shadow cast by his childhood brain tumour.

Today’s English literature reflects ethnic diversity and it’s not just the current fashion: Kate Williams in Al Jazeera

jhumpa_lahiri-620x412In early April, the Baileys Prize shortlist for fiction by women was announced. Although it is a UK-based prize, there are no authors who are sole citizens of the UK on the shortlist: Donna Tartt is American, Hannah Kent is Australian, Audrey Magee and Eimear McBride are Irish, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is from Nigeria and Jhumpa Lahiri holds both US and British citizenships.