This week, Bangalore-based writer Jahnavi Barua’s second book, Rebirth, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for 2012. The novel was also in the shortlist for the Man Asian Literary prize 2011. The writer tells DNA what gets her up, what pulls her down and what keeps her going.
Why do you write?
Maybe because I can express myself better than when I speak. It may be a way of connecting with the larger world.
What got you started?
I have always read a lot, but there was a certain period when I read masses of short fiction in a short time; I wrote my first short stories after that.
What are you most proud of?
I am equally proud of all my work. Hard to choose there.
Who or what inspires you?
The living, pulsing world around me, with all its joys and all its difficulties—that is what inspires me.
Tell us some myths about writing.
That it is easy if you keep at it; that it can be learnt; that writers get rich quickly!
What has been your biggest challenge?
Finding enough time to write—that remains the biggest challenge.
The best advice anyone ever gave you?
To stick to my own voice.
The worst thing anyone ever said about you?
Everyone has been incredibly generous; cannot really think of anything bad that has been said.
That one book you wish you had written?
The Sound of the Mountain by Yasunari Kawabata.
What’s your ultimate ambition?
To keep writing for as long as I can.