Authors and editors take on their books to be launched at Ncell Nepal Literature Festival
THE WEEK BUREAU
The second edition of the Ncell Nepal Literature Festival, organized by The Bookworm Trust, in collaboration with the Nepal Academy, will host the launch of many new books. The launch will be held at the Pravachan Hall at Nepal Academy in Kamaladi. From interesting anthologies of poems, short stories to a novel by a renowned Nepali author, the marathon launch looks promising.
The Week’s Cilla Khatry met up with authors and editors of the soon-to-be-launched books for quick previews of what’s in store. Here’s what they had to say.
Jagadish Ghimire onSAKAS
Sakas in Nepali means pain. My latest novel focuses on the pain of conflict experienced by the Nepali society in the past 250 years. There are many characters in the book, from historical figures to politicians, but the basic problem of each individual is the same, and that is also what connects them all and binds the story together.
The concluding chapter of the book is called “Mission Accomplished” and that was recently published in the Kantipur daily. The story ends with the recent dissolving of the Constituent Assembly, so you can say that it’s an updated story and hence one that people can relate to.
Everybody has a story. If you look around, there are stories to tell. We’re surrounded by stories. I find that writing calms me down and gives me a daily mission. I’ve just completed “Sakas” but I’m already looking forward to writing another one.
I’ve been writing for over 40 years now and I write poems, essays and plays as well. But I enjoy writing novels the most. I think a writer can depict a complete life story in a novel. My first novel “Lilaam” was published in 2027 BS (1970) and there’s been no looking back ever since. Writing is all I know and something I think I’m pretty good at, modesty aside.
My last book “Antarmannko Yatra” was fairly successful and I have my fingers crossed for “Sakas” as well. I hope I don’t disappoint my readers. It took me a year to work on this novel and it’s been a delightful journey. Now I present it to my readers who are my biggest critics.
Dr Laxman Prasad Gautam on Ratna Brihat Nepali Samalochana
A compilation of literary articles written by various authors, Ratna Brihat Nepali Samalochana comes in two parts – Saidhantik Khanda (Theoretical Part) and Prayogik Khanda (Practical Part). Both are pretty hefty books – over 500 pages each – but the ideas presented are exceedingly fresh; so I think the thickness will be gladly welcomed.
Experts were given specific topics to write on, so we have Dr Abhi Subedi who has written on cultural criticism, Dr Govinda Raj Bhattarai on diasporic literature, and Dr Indra Bahadur Rai on Nepali literary movements, among others. It is my 21st book on Nepali criticism. Prof Rajendra Subedi has books on poetry and other non-fiction works to his credit whereas I’ve written exclusively on Nepali criticism.
Being professors of Nepali at Tribhuwan University, I think both of us have tried to exploit our expertise to come up with a latest and in-depth book on the subject.
The book is a result of 15-16 hours of hard work everyday for the past year. The book is something we think will remain fresh for the next 20-25 years. That may sound preposterous, coming from the editor of the book, but that’s just how sure and proud I’m of this work.
This book on Nepali criticism isn’t for general consumption, though. It’s targeted more at MA, M. Phil, Ph D and research scholars. I think the insightful write-ups will greatly benefit these students. We started with a mindset of providing a complete and updated package on Nepali criticism for specific readers, and by coming up with this two-volume corpus, I think we’ve succeeded in doing just that.
Khagendra Sangraula (Kunsang Kaka) on Kunsang Kakaka Katha
Kunsang Kakaka Katha is a compilation of short stories published in various newspapers and magazines over the years. I’ve been writing short stories ever since I can remember, and it’s something that gives me immense pleasure. I’ve been inspired by Guru Prasad Mainali and have to tried to imitate his style of writing.
This collection has around 47 short stories. Since my writings are inspired by from Marxism, a lot of the stories revolve around liberation, the period of unrest in the nation, and characters who that are lagging behind economically.
You can call this work semi-autobiographical, as the stories are inspired byfrom my feelings and experiences. One story is over 6,000 words long and I don’t think it fits into the description of a “short story,” but it’s the one I’m most satisfied with. I wouldn’t call myself a master storyteller, but I think readers who like a tale well told will enjoy this collection – if not all, then at least some stories will grip them and stay with them. I want the stories in the book to stay in the readers’ mind long after they’ve shelved the volume.
Some stories they should want to narrate during conversations with friends and family. I’ve always tried to connect with my readers by telling a relatable storiesy. This compilation should become a welcome addition toin their library. That’s my hope.
I didn’t want to publish a collection of my work but the publishers contacted me and I couldn’t say no. Now I’m glad that I didn’t oppose the idea. I’m actually looking forward to the response from my readers. It’s nerve- wrecking but exciting.
Chandra Ghimire on Don’t Touch Me, O Kabitaharu!
This anthology has 42 poems in four clusters that I’ve written over a period of almost 25 years. The first part has poems on marginalized communities and their stories. The second has basically love poems. The third part has poems on life and they are mostly my musings and philosophical works whereas the fourth part is slightly revolutionary.
Being born and brought up in Dharan, I think I’ve been greatly influenced by the literary scene of the place. I started writing from a very young age. I’ve always been writing poems. For as long as I can remember, I’ve expressed my feelings through poetry. Though I’m currently working on a story collection as well as a full-fledged novel, penning down poems has and always will be my priority.
In 2048 BS (1992), I had decided to stop writing poetry and wrote a poem “Don’t touch me, O Kabitaharu!” as a declaration of that decision. But I couldn’t stay away for long and started writing again while compiling this work. I look around and want to write about something or the other, so it was difficult for me not to jot down my thoughts. The last poem in the book is “Touch me, O Kabitaharu!” and that marks the start of my poetry journey once again.
My inspirations are Bhupi Sherchan of Nepal and Sarveshwor Dayal Saxena, the noted Hindi writer, poet, playwright and columnist. Their writings always motivate me to better my craft. This collection has some of my best works and I hope readers will like it.
Bimal Nibha on Dinosaur Jiundo Chha
This is my third essay collection. I also have two anthology of poems published. But satirical essays on social and political situations of our country are my forte and something I enjoy writing immensely.
The essays mostly revolve around the social and political conditions of our nation. There has been a lot of inspiration and motivation to write satirical pieces. Just one look at the state of our country and I have so much to write about. It’s been my muse though I’m not very happy about that. But I think expressing my anger and sadness through satirical pieces has been therapeutic for me. I’ve given my feelings a creative outlet instead of a destructive and submissive one.
I also enjoy writing poems, but like I said, by writing essays I’ve been better able to deal with the situations that surround me and at times overwhelm and consume me.
Compilations of stories, poems and essays have always been published by different publication houses. When Phoenix Books approached me with a proposal to republish my essays, I gave them the go ahead. Now I’m thinking a compilation will be a good way to have all my published works together instead of scatterings in various magazines and papers. That way I’m quite excited about it.
There are some additional new write-ups as well, along with previous published works of mine. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing each and every piece and I hope readers will enjoy reading them as much.
Pratyoush Onta on Autocratic Monarchy
The book is a collection of articles on politics during the Panchayat regime written by political historian and literary scholar LS Baral.
Lokranjan Parajuli and I started working on it in 2002 but we stopped working on it midway and then picked up where we had left off a few years ago. You can say it’s been a decade-long project.
Baral’s writings were published in various journals and books but not many Nepali readers had access to them.
So we thought of coming up with a book that could be beneficial to academicians while being enjoyable for the general readers.
I think we’ve managed to do that to a certain extent.
Editing is my job and I enjoy it. I’ve had the opportunity to read a lot of Baral’s work while completing this project and I’m glad that the book is finally coming out for mass consumption.
Byakul Pathak on Nepali Niyatra
This book is a collection of travel writings by over two dozen writers. I’ve done extensive research and reading and have selected the crème de la crème of travelogues published in various newspapers and magazines over the years.
Editing this volume of travelogue has been a daunting task but I think I’ve managed to select the best in travel writing and I’m positive that it’ll appeal to a lot of readers.
The book features writers from Dr Tara Nath Sharma to the latest travel writers. It covers a wider generation of writers and is a result of extensive work over a period of nearly two years.
Prior to this, I had edited several volumes of short stories under the title “Prakhyat Nepali Katha” which was very popular among readers.
Many suggested that I should come up with a book on travel writing as that was a genre that people took an instant liking to. That sparked the idea of compiling a book of travelogues and “Nepali Niyatra” is a result of that idea.
I was the editor of Nepal Samacharpatra for 18 years and though I’m currently the director of Capital FM, editing is what I do best. I’m also working on editing the 5th and 6th volumes of “Prakhyat Nepali Katha” at the moment.
I always enjoy editing and I’ve enjoyed editing “Nepali Niyatra” immensely. Depending on readers’ reaction, I may make this a series like the short story collection as well, (but) I’m a bit nervous about the feedback I’ll get.
Ramesh Kshtiz on Ghar Farkiraheko Manis
This is my third published work but my second poetry book. The 120-page volume has 45 of my latest poems. I think poetry is the best artistic form of language. There’s so much that can be expressed through poems that I don’t think is possible through prose. I write short stories as well, but writing poems is what provides me an outlet for my creative expressions.
Poetry, I think, is a form of language that will inspire and connect people at some level or the other. But many people don’t get poetry, and that’s because they want things to be told to them rather than taking a moment to contemplate about things and figuring them out. If you take a minute to sit back and enjoy the rhythm of words, then you’ll begin to see the beauty behind it.
So much can be expressed in such fewer words through poetry. I think the idea itself is beautiful.
This latest collection is an outcome of 12 years of travel experience from Berlin to Tokyo. Some of my favorite poems among the collection are “Baaki Katha,” “Naya Sapana” and “Tokyoma Ek Din.” I hope people who enjoy poetry will find them refreshing. I would also urge those who don’t read much poetry to pick up this book and take a moment to enjoy the beauty hidden in the play of words. I think my poems are pretty simple to understand and I hope, apart from my faithful readers, more people will be able to relate to what I’m trying to say.
Bhisma Upreti on Ek Patak Tokyo
In 2010, I had the opportunity to travel to Tokyo, Japan, to attend the 76th International PEN Congress. I was one of the three writers representing Nepal.
In the weeklong event, I had the opportunity of meeting many international writers and speakers. It was very inspiring and a whole new learning experience for me and I wanted to share it. “Ek Patak Tokyo” captures the essence of my travel journal.
I’ve been writing from a very young age and had won the National Poetry Festival in 2050 BS (1994) besides winning a youth poetry contest many years prior to that. That taste of success was a motivation, besides the fact that I love to write.
I also have six poetry collections published besides countless essays and articles in many national newspapers and magazines. This is my first travel writing and I hope readers will like it. It took me nearly six months to write but the effort has been worth it.
I think it’ll appeal to all kinds of readers but it’ll definitely strike a chord with those who love to write and also those who are fond of traveling.
– Sakas will be launched on September 20, 3-4 pm.
– Ratna Brihat Nepali Samalochana will be launched on Sep 21, 12-1 pm.
– Kunsang Kakaka Katha will be launched on Sep 21, 4-5 pm.
– Ghar Farkiraheko Manis will be launched on Sep 21, 2-3 pm.
– Don’t Touch Me, O Kabitaharu! will be launched on Sep 22, 2-3 pm.
– Ek Patak Tokyo will be launched on Sep 22, 2-3 pm.
– Autocratic Monarchy will be launched on Sep 22, 4-5 pm.
– Nepali Niyatra will be launched on Sep 23,12-1pm.
– Dinosaur Jiundo Chha will be launched on Sep 23, 2-3 pm.