By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

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

To do otherwise would be to deny an integral part of myself. I write because I must, because of my addiction to the feel of an ink pen between my fingers scribbling word-code onto one blank page after another. To me, writing is an aesthetic pleasure that sets every fibre of my being into vibration, when I’m actually doing it. The other reason I write is to be able to make sense of my own thoughts and feelings, and creatively express them onto the page or screen. Sometimes, just the writing process is a form of catharsis for me, even though my scribbles make no sense.

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

My last book, Afterlife: Ghost stories from Goa, published by Rupa (2012) is a novel that follows the lives of X generations within a Goan family. At a get-together to celebrate the patriarch’s 75th birthday, there is a powercut that leads organically to the family swapping ghost-stories. Through the process or sharing oral histories, the family history and some secrets are revealed. The structure became an important part of telling the story of the family; I used a frame narrative device to interlink the individual stories. It’s more of a commentary about the social mores of South Goan society, diasporic culture and religious aspects among other things. My intention was to create a story that wasn’t just about ‘ghosts’ but about the things that haunt us emotionally and psychologically.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

Excavating words to reveal complex layers of emotion. At least, that’s the aspiration!

tishani-doshiTishani Doshi, an award-winning writer and dancer of Welsh-Gujarati descent, joined in May this year the International Dylan Thomas Prize, the world’s largest literary prize for young writers, as a judge for this year’s competition.

‌Tishani Doshi is the author of four books of poetry and fiction. Her most recent books include Fountainville (Seren), a retelling of a myth from the Mabinogion, and a collection of poems, Everything Begins Elsewhere.

Her appointment to the judging panel shows the global reach of the International Dylan Thomas Prize, which was launched in 2006. Sponsored by Swansea University, the Prize is aimed at encouraging creative talent worldwide. Previous winners have hailed from the US, Australia, Vietnam, Northern Ireland and Wales.