GLF: Being a language writer, do you think you are not getting due recognition at the national level?
A. I have written my debut novel ‘The Friendless God’ in English interspersed with Tamil terms. Some readers have given the feedback that this has made it harder for them to understand the book. This shows that anyone writing in a regional language finds a limited audience. That said the written word is facing so much competition from the visual medium that even authors writing in English have to work hard to get readership.
GLF: Can literature influence social life? Do you think a writer should be socially responsible?
A. Yes literature influences social life as the ideas put forward by an author can affect the thinking pattern of readers. Writers need to write boldly about ideas not voiced by people but at the same time they have to be alert that they are not agenda mongering. It’s tight rope walking for authors. Besides being socially responsible, authors have to also accept that they will be subject to severe criticism especially in a multicultural society where every event and idea will have several versions.
GLF: Can literary festivals make progressive changes to the language literature?
A. Yes, for some decades now urban Indians have known only English writers and literary festivals help them get exposed to authors writing in different languages. Even if some of us can’t read the original works of language authors we can make an attempt to read the translations. Not everything is lost in translation. Literary festivals can give an impetus to the translation of the works of authors writing in Indian languages.
GLF: There are numerous glitzy events packed by glitterati being celebrated in the country under the guise of literary festivals in up-market show places. What do you think about `Gateway Litfest’ and how is it different from such up-market events?
A. Gateway Litfest is unique because it showcases the linguistic variety of India. This is particularly important at a time when multiple generations of urban Indians have stayed away from regional literature.
GLF: Your views on the dominant plot of storytelling in year 2018.
A. The recent past and the ancient past will be vigorously reexamined through works of fiction. Through fiction each generation will reclaim and reinterpret its heritage.