Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chinua Achebe on literature and ethnicity

"The creative enterprise is a magical space onto itself - the mind in mutual collaboration with the world and its elements to produce something of aesthetic value. Creative writers are like painters, using words to paint a literary tapestry. I think that words have a magic, that human situations- one's environment, culture, ‘ethnicity' as we have spent time re-discovering - can be unburdened to join other factors wordsmiths use to create literary magic - that extra dimension that the writer can conjure up by placing ideas about the human condition side by side on paper.
I suppose that cultural contexts is another name for what we have so far been calling the factors of ethnicity. Quite clearly these factors do shape literature. The cultural context within which a writer finds him/herself is relevant in so far as it brings something of literary value - contributes to the world story - and does not claim superiority over, deny, obscure or jaundice, even oppress other perspectives or stories. But having said that let me now admit that there are other factors and not least among them is the genius and free-will of the author."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What I write is politics: Arundhati Roy

"What I write is politics. Traditionally this is what writers have done. So to separate commentary from writing, from politics, minimises politics, minimises writing, and minimises commentary. This has historically been the role of writers. I could surely go and wear a khadi sari and sit in the forest and become a martyr but that’s not what I plan to do. I have no problem being who I am, writing what I have because I am not playing for sainthood here. I am not playing for popularity. I am not asking to be hailed as a leader of the masses. I am a writer who has a particular set of views and I use whatever skills I have, I deploy whatever skills I have, whatever means I have to write about them, not always on my own behalf but from the heart of the resistance."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chad Harbach: a writer to watch out for!

If you consider it in material terms, the last big writer was J. K. Rowling. She has lived her full course with glory and all, but she is dud now. So who would be the next big writer? The long search seems to have come to an end. And the new winner is a a young man in her early thirties: Chad Harbach, born and raised in Racine, Wisconosin, a founder- editor of n+1 magazine.

His 500 -page book is being released this week. A whopping advance( $665000), rave reviews even before the publication, excerpts in a popular magazine, authors like Franzen showering praise on the debut author, and the usual hypes that the publishing business embellish their blue-eyed boys with. The mammoth publicity machine is already at work, touting him as the rare hitter of contemporary fiction.

As ever, I have my doubts. Note the title of the book is "The Art of Fielding". Sounds atrocious as a fiction title. No play of imagination. Then it's about baseball. I don't want to mean that there can't be a good literary(?) novel about baseball. But it's somewhat repulsive for me.

Nevertheless, I find Chad a bit intriguing too. He seems kind of awkward, polite, candid, and even authentic in this interview. May be he's a real writer.

Before I sold this book I was kind of pretending I had money by spending so much time by working on N+1 and writing when I didn't have any money at all. I was kind of just barely...well, I was actually in a pretty dire financial situation. The point is I was devoting an awful lot of time to the magazine and I didn't actually have the luxury to do that.

I should have been working at a job that paid me money because I did not have any money. So after I sold the book, it wasn't hard to think about how I am going to spend my free time when I'm not working because I had this book to edit and I already had all this work I was doing for the magazine which I don't get paid for but have been doing anyway. But now I can do it without being kind of anxious the whole time. So it has changed my life in that I'm less persistently anxious.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Ben Okri interview

"The fundamental freedom is the freedom to be exactly what we're capable of being, and as a writer that's a very huge problem because every writer comes into the world with a geographical label on them. My ambition is to be a true, living, clear-seeing writer, and it's the most difficult freedom, as first you've got all your own internalised negativities, your mind, to get over. On top of that you've got the rest of the world saying you should write in the way your tradition has laid down. The challenge is constantly trying to escape straitjackets and see clearly without any labels."

Search This Blog

My Blog List