About The Author – Karunakaran Shaji teaches English Literature at RIE, Mysore. His other books are ‘Enchanted Aeolian Harps — Readings in English Romanticism’ and ‘Dark Primeval Male in Thomas Hardy’. He is a native of Chengannur, Kerala.
Briefly describe your journey until now. Have you accomplished what you wanted or still have a mile to go?
It had been quite tough, but pleasant at times. Well, it all depends on the way you look at reality. Sometimes it appears to be nearly unbearable, when your academic philosophy will not bail you out. There is no point in bragging about accomplishments or bewailing on the losses. It is all part of life.
You have rich experience in writing. Give us some tips on the “art of writing in English”.
When your mind is trained on great writings, your own writing will begin to reveal a certain meditative tranquility and lyrical charm. It need not be sought elsewhere.
What is your book “Sreedevi Talkies” all about?
It is related to the haunting nostalgic memories of a Talkies with which my generation grew up. In the inexorable passage of time, the Talkies and all it represented became part of the local folklore. Many a myth and archetype is fused into the complex fabric of the fiction which like a cinematic illusion becomes a journey on the slippery paths of the human unconscious.
What is the most fulfilling part of writing this book? And what is the most challenging?
A special language had to be invented for the novel capable of creating and sustaining the difficult stages of transition between reality and fantasy. Almost all characters in the novel are caught on the crossroads of gradual decline that begins to grip the Talkies and the rustic population.
A character like Philips Kunjappi proved to be quite challenging, as he is perennially trapped in a kind of inertia, losing all contacts with the world outside.
Why is it that Indian writers don’t frequently win big awards such as Booker/ Nobel Prize/ Pulitzer in Literature?
The question is too ‘big’ for me to answer.
How would you like to inspire the creative people wishing to make their career in the field of literature?
Literature has to born out of compelling experiences and deep awareness. When you entirely try to conjure it up, it could be suicidal.