“Who are you writing for? For the reader or to tell your own story?” was the question moderator Esha Chatterjee asked all the panelists in the third session “New Writers, New Audiences” at Kolkata Literature Festival. The panelists were renowned authors, who’ve written books of different genres in the fourth session of the first day.
Lavanya Shanbhogue said that writing is a deeply personal process. “I began with writing for myself and including myself in part of the story”, she said. “Human aspirations and desires remain unchanged, so I write about history. Overall, I firstly write for myself but I am incomplete without a reader so I am writing as much for the readers as I am writing for myself.”
Priyanka Mookerjee said that most characters of writing should feel alive and relatable for the audience.
Sudeep Nagarkar said that the writer should be satisfied with his own writing. “But writing in today’s world, for example, if I am writing a life story I have to make it relatable to today’s age. I have a story to tell, but that story should make me happy first.
Devdan Chaudhuri said new structures can be made and innovation is a must and he tries to be very specific while writing. “I write for a reader because if I was writing for myself I would be writing a diary.”
Sion Tomos Owen said that when he was writing his novel, he wrote for a small Welsh-speaking audience. “Not everyone wants to read an essay so I try to include cartoons and other graphics in my writing. I wrote a graphic novel of the birth of my daughter from the father’s perspective.”
How important is marketing was also discussed. These days, each and every product needs marketing and books are no exception. Another aspect discussed was whether there’s a pressure to release a second or third book in quick succession. Priyanka Mookerjee said, “You need to take your own time. If you don’t do your best job, you’re being unfair to the whole process.” Devdan Chaudhuri added how he once took seven years to research before writing and people will take time to find you, get to know you and read your books. Literature having a life beyond the author’s lifespan was also one of the key points. Literature should be something that should transcend time, and authors sometimes have to pick between “art” and “business and numbers”.