Writing Here

The literary scene is good in South Asia. Kind of like an ancient Banyan spreading it’s life across the horizon….


I’m telling you this because it wasn’t like this at all when I was growing up. I lived in the Middle East and my father being a voracious reader got us books mostly by foreign authors. So I grew up reading a lot of British and American and Russian writing because that was all there was. Except for the occasional Ruskin Bond or R.K.Narayan.

Of course all this has changed. Now everywhere I look, someone tells me in a conspiratorial voice that he or she is an aspiring writer or a closet writer or a blogger or a freelancer.

Publishing houses are excited about the next big thing. Editors are on the look out for a manuscript they can ‘clean’ up. Facebook groups by writers, for writers and of writers are atomically exploding online. Mine included.

Every writer has a blog has a twitter account has a pinterest has a tumblr has an instagram.

Every book is alive and speaking in its own voice asking for reviews @ Amazon and Goodreads.

The new Festival in this Festive land where holidays are the norm rather than the rarity is the Lit Fest.

Performance Poetry Workshops are seeing puppeteers, theatre artists, publishers, engineers, teachers and marketing gurus composing poetry and enacting them in open spaces.

Eminent writers chat pleasantries while sipping spiced tea with wide-eyed wannabes and discuss the publication scenario.

Tiny groups of writers get together in cafes to free write and find themselves.

So although there is a view that there are way too many writers and all the writing that comes out is not all that good- it is an exciting time to be a writer in South Asia.

Lucky to be here!

neelthemuse@ 2014

Check out my book Unsettled @ Amazon

13 thoughts on “Writing Here Leave a comment

  1. Someone once said, “One day everybody will be a writer.” So be it. The desire to let it out and have it flow around in the universe can’t be a bad thing, 🙂

  2. One of the best things since blogging anyway is that we can read around the world! Which leads me to ask a question, because I am trying to analyse my reading and when I got to your book, I was unable to fill in the nationality box, so although you wrote your book in English, with which community do you identify yourself as a writer? And is that the same as the country in which you were born? I don’t think South Asia is a category for nationality of author.

    It will be interesting to see what it will look like!

  3. You have a point Claire….there are some very broad generalizations when you talk about South Asia. The yakshi story I wrote is very connected to the oral tradition I have encountered in southern India where I partly grew up and now live. You can’t entirely divorce a writer from her geography. She’s a product of her life even though her imagination can add and subtract things.

  4. Now I am reminded of that quote

    “You can take the woman out of South India, but you can’t take South India out of the girl.”

    I first heard that one in connection with “the girl out of South London”. It is those connections you speak of that are so valuable to the reader, both one who is familiar with the tradition and those like me who want to access the authentic unknown aspects of culture. The Honey Thief was another I read last year that drew on an oral tradition and is a wonderful set of stories.

    Thank you for that, I have just finished looking at my reading for 2013 and am surprised to learn, I read books by authors from 22 countries. Without making it a challenge, it certainly is my wish to read across cultures and while it still doesn’t feel like enough, at least it is becoming easier to access. You are right, the world and its literature has never been so open and inclusive. Bonne Continuation!

  5. As an Indian writer in the US, it’s really good to know the excitement and buzz around writing in India. I have often felt torn about writing in English coming out of India in the past decade or so – on the one hand, because every person thinks she or he has a story to tell, the calibre of fiction suffers. But on the other hand, how great is it that everyone who wants to tell a story is able to do so, with publishers willing to invest money in them, and readers, time. Also very heartening is the fact that India (I can’t speak for the rest of south Asia) has a growing readership, nudged forward partly by the fact that no matter what your interests may be – long or short fiction, literary non-fiction, current affairs blogs – there is now something for everyone to read. And more specifically, it is writing placed within a familiar milieu. So unlike when I was reading as a child and young adult, your options aren’t limited to foreign fiction about pale-skinned heroines on rolling moors, or nothing at all.

  6. Thank you so much Neha for visiting this space. Everyone has a voice and now all voices are being heard and published. A chat with a reviewer surprised me. Over seven hundred titles for review, she said. Now that is a lot!

  7. “Every book is alive.” Picture that; I love it. But I hear you, the South Asian bookish world is fast expanding and it’s great to be a part of it.

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