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An anthology with a feminist viewpoint


Amrita Tripathi,CNN-IBN
Sep 13, 2006 at 12:44pm IST

New Delhi: The Indian wave of writing isn't just about the Vikram Seths and Vikram Chandras. There's a generation of new writers, waiting in the wings.

Says writer Susan Koshy, "I don't think I write easy things to read."

Another writer, Annie Zaidi, who doubles up as a Frontline reporter, says, "If I need an outlet, my experiences would probably be crystallised through non-fiction."

Susan and Annie are being published by a small feminist Indian publishing house, Zubaan, which invited women from the subcontinent to send in short stories, back in May this year.

Says Commissioning Editor, Zubaan, Anita Roy, "We had limited it to one submission per person but people out there are so enthusiastic and so creative that they could not help but send us two or three."

Entries included stories from a 12-year-old girl and a 75-year-old man, who was ineligible on the grounds of both gender and age!

And after sending over 180 rejection mails, Anita says the overwhelming response may partly due to the fact that the world of the short story is something women are more comfortable with.

"All the big novels that are coming out from our part of the world all seem to be written by men like Vikram Seth and Vikram Chandra (his latest novel's huge) and I think women don't tend to be so comfortable with such kind of grand pictures," says she.

A mother of three, Susan takes four to five hours out of her busy daily schedule to write.

"You work all day when you are a mother and it's actually the most gruelling work, not just physically but intellectually too it's demanding work. And when you get to sleep for six hours, just to get up in the middle of the night because you're seized by an idea, it is no joke," says Susan.

Annie Zaidi too juggles her dual career - as a reporter and an author - making time for her writing. But she isn't too comfortable talking about the two stories she submitted for the anthology.

"I think I would be rather interested to see how my stories would be perceived from a feminist perspective," is all she has to say.

Unlike the somewhat stereotyped women's writing, it sounds like this anthology will feature more varied voices - more like stories by women, who write.

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