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On the second day of the 41st Sharjah International Book Fair, Geetanjali Shree shared her experience of becoming a writer with a large number of students.
“I am nervous about meeting tomorrow’s generation”, said the 2022 Booker Prize winner from India. While meeting the younger generation who will lead tomorrow, I feel nervous. These are people to whom the world belongs, and who will save the world from the challenges currently impacting humanity”.
Talking about writing in her mother tongue, Hindi, she said: “I grew up at a time when regional vocabulary was much more common. Hindi is my comfort language and it is through this language that I want to express myself better”.
Shree, whose Booker-winning novel Tomb of Sands, follows the journey of a grandmother who takes the initiative to change her course of life, said: “All languages have their own vast rich history and we cannot compare one with another. English is today a primary language for global communication but other countries, including India, have a wide variety of languages and dialects, and we must take pride in these”.
Sharing her experience of becoming a writer, Shree said: “Becoming an artist or a writer is not always a lucrative activity. It is for each one of us to decide how we can sustain it bearing in mind the needs of our families. Pursuing your passion is about how well you can blend it with your career and sustain it”.
According to Shree, honesty is one of the most important qualities in becoming an author. Creating an overall picture requires being sensitive to different viewpoints that differ from one’s own. For stories to flourish and be expressed, one must also expand the horizons of their imagination”.
Having moments of self-doubt is “sometimes a good thing”, said the award-winning author, adding, “Uncertainty can be healthy and helps in pursuing excellence. If you are a writer, write diligently and express thoughts eloquently – leave the rest for readers to decide!”.
“Words are all about the meaning you put into it. Using a term in the informal sense might lend a light, casual touch while using the same in formal language gives it a more refined tone,” she added.