In this interview series where we ask questions to people who are making a difference, it can be big, it can be small, it doesn’t matter, what matters is their contribution to our society. It can be anyone from any walk of life and from any country. Please, do send us suggestions of people whom you think we should interview for this series.
Reetwika Banerjee marked her first appearance in the list published authors in 2014 with her collection of English “Micro” stories “Fantastic 40”. Her recent releases include Enta Habibi, Cuddle & Clash, Zenova 20 and Bhanga Moner DInga (Bengali poems). By profession she is a Information Security Advocate working in a US consultancy firm. She is also a member of The Script Writer’s Association and creative contributor to various magazines across nation. Apart from her love for English art and culture, she is interested in travelling and photography.
Following are her views on our questions
- Tell us something about yourself?
I marked my first appearance as a published author in 2014, arguably authoring India’s first assortment of English “Micro” stories under the title of ‘Fantastic 40’, published by All About Books Publishers. The book received a warm response from its readers and recently the 2nd edition has been released under the umbrella of Purushottam Publishers. In 2015, she came up with a book under the name ‘Zenova 20’. During the Kolkata International Book Fair 2016, her debut Bengali poem collection ‘Bhanga Moner Dinga’ (Broken Heart’s Boat) was released. Reetwika’s fourth title ‘Cuddle & Clash’ offers 25 feather-touch stories and her latest release ‘Enta Habibi’ is zipped with of 5 novellas of romance genre.
- How did you begin writing?
Writing started as a child’s play for me. During my childhood days, my mom inspired me to think, imagine fantasies and write whatever came to my mind. My parents love to travel a lot and that had infused a nomadic spree in me. Since my childhood I have been to many places across geographies which help me in setting scenes for many of my stories.
As I grew up, I started sharing my creative outputs with various literary magazines across the globe. Even I engaged myself as one of the Editors of my school and college magazines and soon after my graduation I went on to venture my own magazine named “Culture Flash”. Shortly my works happened to receive varied accolades at different platforms. With time, it was my husband who motivated me to write a book.
- Who is your favorite writer and why?
I love reading short stories – be it any language. One of my favourites being Anton Chekhov.
I liked to read fantasy novels in childhood. With time, I started feeling tired of waiting so much to know what finally happens at the end. So started reading short stories and soon became an avid reader of the genre. Be it in any language I kept reading them. I enjoy quickly getting into the climax. Soon short stories too seemed too long to hold my curiosity back and I was slowly growing impatient to read them as well. Started looking for even shorter stories in the racks.
- How do you approach controversial subjects in your writings like religion etc.?
I tend to avoid such topics. You can call me an escapist in that way.
- What does freedom of expression mean to you?
Freedom to express honesty and uprightness.
- When it comes to publishing do you thing women writers get less opportunities then male writers?
Ah not really in my case at least. I never felt side-lined while working with any of my publishers.
- What are some of the social issues that bother you most?
Hmmm…. I don’t want to sound like a feminist, but we still live in a male dominated society. Things should change now.
- How difficult is it to get published in your opinion and what would you suggest upcoming writers?
Getting a publisher itself was a big challenge due to the very genre of my first book – MICRO story collection. However, receiving the first positive feedback after more than 50 tries was a huge success to celebrate. Thereafter I have met no setbacks till the release of my latest title.
The second battle started when my book hit the market. The concept of MICRO STORY itself was very new to the Indian English literary world and I being just a budding part of it was bound to face challenges in placing it to the target readers. But I am thankful to my readers and reviewers who have accepted and appreciated my work sharing some honest and wonderful feedback.
The third battle which I am still fighting is to establish a new writing style…a not so perfect contemporary English…with broken sentences (of Bernardino style)…the way we tend to speak English in India. There are some veteran reviewers who are not so open to accept it yet as a literary style, but I am utterly hopeful to win their souls with my works someday. I know it’s always a tough conflict to gain acceptance for experimental creative outputs.
- Your message for our readers?
That our life is a mixed bag of events, governed by the nine emotions (generated out of our five senses) which keep ruling our life till the last day. It takes a sensitive mind to pick up those events and carefully string them together in a way that does not affect the coming days. There is no good in sticking to the past if it only brings tears to your eyes. Let’s accept it and take a step forward…who knows something better is not waiting for us?