The first session of the day involves Saskya Jain, Deepti Kapoor, Lipika Bhushan, Farah Ghuznavi.
Saskya Jain is a renowned author whose work has featured in literary magazines including Intelligent Life, Hyphen and The Baffler and has written popular books like Fire Under Ash.
Deepti Kapoor has written books like “A Bad Character” which offers a frank portrait of what it is to be a woman living alone in Delhi
Farah Ghuznavi is a writer, translator and newspaper columnist, with a background in development work.
This happens to be a topic I wrote about about a couple of days back, as part of the marathon blogging contest. So needless to say, I had my own opinions and views about the topic which was about to be discussed.
Farah comments, eariler on, expression of women came mainly from frustrations and the atmosphere around them but now, women write about everything. At the beginning, women writers used to write about the contemporary situation of women at that time, and they explored constraints and hardships. But now, women write about “what they want to write about” and basically, everything. She highlights Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a book that changed the perception of many Americans’ of the Civil War.
Saskya Jain says she’s been asked questions like “Do you write because you have emotional baggage, as you are a woman?” Everyone lives with some or the other sort of emotional stress, but that is not necessarily the reason why women authors write. She would perhaps prefer sitting on a panel of “writers” and not “women writers”. She talks of Arundhati Roy’s “God of Small Things” as a book
Deepti says, the portrayal of women characters sometimes have brought about positive changes in the society itself. She enjoyed reading the works of Shobhaa De, involving the sassy women characters but also felt, they were often depicted as stereotypes. She has tried portraying a woman, with all her complications and desires, without making her seem “good” or “bad”.
“Change often defies stereotypes” and now most of the writers, publishers and even readers happen to be women. Publishing is shrinking and writers happen to be facing marketing challenges.
I found Deepti to be a very interesting author. She quit her job as a journalist to study yoga in Goa. She said, she did so, because she had to write and she needed to detach a little.
This session brought to the forefront the changes that have come about in the lives of women writers as well as the women characters today.