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Read transcript: Live Chat with Anjum Hasan

Live Chat with Anjum Hasan on 1st May 2012 Tuesday May 1, 2012 12:01 ht: Hello everyone! 12:02 ht: Anjum Hasan, author of Difficult Pleasures will be with us shortly, stay tuned 12:06 Anjum Hasan: hi, can you see me? 12:10 Anjum Hasan: Hi everyone, join me for a chat at 1pm today about Difficult Pleasures and the writing life. 12:46 ht: Hey guys! The chat will begin in 15min. 1:03 ht: Welcome Anjum Hasan, author of Difficult Pleasures and books editor of The Caravan 1:04 Anjum Hasan: Hi Priya, one of the inspirations was the short story format itself. I was excited by how

books Updated: May 01, 2012 09:06 IST
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Live Chat with Anjum Hasan on 1st May 2012

Tuesday May 1, 2012

12:01

ht: Hello everyone!

12:02

ht: Anjum Hasan, author of Difficult Pleasures will be with us shortly, stay tuned

12:06

Anjum Hasan: hi, can you see me?

12:10

Anjum Hasan: Hi everyone, join me for a chat at 1pm today about Difficult Pleasures and the writing life.

12:46

ht: Hey guys! The chat will begin in 15min.

1:03

ht: Welcome Anjum Hasan, author of Difficult Pleasures and books editor of The Caravan

1:04

Anjum Hasan: Hi Priya, one of the inspirations was the short story format itself. I was excited by how much could be captured by this short and intense form. Also, the nature of urban encounters are often short and fleeting so the form suits them well.

1:04

Comment From Priya

What was the inspiration behind your book?

1:05

Comment From PN

Do you ever get writer's block?

1:07

Anjum Hasan: Yes, every morning :-) I think you have to work through it. Writers block is often an euphemism for laziness or fear, and, hard as it is, one just has to try and face up.

1:07

Comment From Amit

Is us book autobiographical?

1:09

Comment From Puneet

The title of ur book is quite interesting...

1:10

Anjum Hasan: Thnaks, Puneet. It's a phrase tucked away in one of my stories. Amit, no it's not autobiographical but the cities I'ved lived in and places I've travelled through are present.

1:11

Comment From Rajatdeep

Are u working on a new book?

1:12

Anjum Hasan: Yes, I'm working on a novel that is in some ways about art. And love.

1:12

Comment From Shilpi

What does Neti Neti mean? Title of ur earlier book

1:13

Comment From Neha

What is ur book Difficult pleasure abt?

1:14

Anjum Hasan:

It's a quote from the Upanishads - it means "Not This, Not This." The book is very contemporary though - nothing to do with the ancient text. But a way of commenting on a young girl's search.

1:14

Comment From 007

Do you like thrillers?

1:15

Anjum Hasan:

Hi Neha, Difficult Pleasures is about what goes in the minds of people like you and me. It's about everyday dramas and relationships and how cities affect us.

1:15

Anjum Hasan: Sure, the last I read was the Japanese thriller The Devotion of Suspect X - loved it.

1:17

Comment From Tanmoy Sharma

I have often found that literature from NE is more of a elitist category, where only the new generation English writers are represented, where metropolitan issues of racism, urban living and insurgency get the primary focus. But if you look at the vernacular literary traditions of Assam and even in Manipur, these are some century long practices. They have a class of their own? Hence, is the Lit from NE category a result of our exotic desire to see NE as a land of Gun, Guitar and Girls?

1:18

Comment From Ritika Sharma

how do u write?

1:19

Anjum Hasan: Yes, I think there needs to be much more focus on literatures in the languages of the North-east. If you look at the catalogues of Penguin and Zubaan, they have published several works of Assamese in translation. I have come across less work in the other languages, sadly.

1:20

Anjum Hasan: Hi Ritika, do you mean the process? I write on my laptop, make notes, outlines and sketches in a notebook, and sometimes compose sentences in my head.

1:22

Comment From aman

Hi Anjum..have heard the book is a great read..am a regular with Caravan and love it...are you on twitter?

1:23

Comment From Ritika Sharma

I mean how do u concentrate and how long per day do u write?

1:23

Comment From Arjun

Why dont u write about sex in ur books?

1:23

Anjum Hasan: Thanks, Aman. I hope you'll read it and decide for yourself. Not on twitter but recently joined Fb.

1:24

Anjum Hasan: I write for 3 or 4 hours everyday. It's easier to concentrate if you give yourself a target - something like a page every day.

1:24

Comment From Shyam Banerjee

What issues of modern identity do you focus on in your books? Relationships are usually dominant.

1:25

Comment From Girl09

Who is ur fav author?

1:26

Anjum Hasan: Hi Arjun, I have written about sex in both my novels. But if you're looking for a description of the sexual act, no, I haven't yet felt the need to do that. Perhaps in the next novel.

1:27

Anjum Hasan: Yes, I write about all kinds of relationships - between immature parents and mature children, siblings who don't love each other, couples who are close and yet can fall out over a small thing. I like going into nuances and I don't find a lot of nuance in the Indian fiction I read

1:28

Anjum Hasan: Vladimir Nabokov is one!

1:28

Comment From Asha Madan

What is ur inspiration? life arnd ur?

1:28

Comment From Nayantara

Who would you consider a good magazine writer?

1:29

Anjum Hasan: My inspiration is the books I read and urban life which is always full of fascinating stories crying to be told.

1:30

Comment From Preetam

You say you write about relationships--Naipaul will call your work chick lit :)

1:30

Comment From aman

would be lovely if you join twitter..its always a pleasure listening to the views of some good writers

1:30

Anjum Hasan: Hi Nayantara, a good magazine writer has a point of view which s/he is able to communicate clearly. Does not patronise the reader. Has a sense of humour. AND a very good sense of language.

1:31

Comment From Muzamil

Who is ur fav contemporary writer - indian and international?

1:31

Comment From Nayantara

What do u look for in a books editor?

1:32

Anjum Hasan: Hi Preetam, I know... poor Sir Naipaul. Someone should tell him.

1:33

Anjum Hasan: One of my favourite contemporary Indian writers and critics is Amit Chaudhuri. Internationally, I love the work of Michael Ondaatje.

1:34

Comment From Desai

hv u faced any discrmination as a woman writer?

1:35

Anjum Hasan: A books editor ... well, a huge appetite for books and a willingness to try original themes.

1:36

Anjum Hasan: I think it starts with yourself. You have to take yourself seriously as a writer and I feel that sometimes women writers don't.

1:36

Comment From Falgun Shah

Are u intrested in writing non-fiction?

1:37

Comment From Varnika

Hi Anjum, I read ur Street on the hill... It ws really awesome.... Keep the good work up...

1:38

Anjum Hasan: I would love to write non-fiction some day. It's one of my dreams. At the same time, I want to resist the current trend that finds non-fiction more exciting than fiction. I think they have different appeals.

1:39

Anjum Hasan: Thanks, Varnika. I'm delighted to hear a mention of the poetry amid all this talk of fiction!

1:40

Comment From Guest

Is there a genre or style of writing you favour?

1:40

Comment From Ashish

How many books do you own? How many have you read of them? Be honest

1:42

Anjum Hasan: I like fiction that is meditative and richly descriptive while at the same time giving me an original story. So again, Vladimir Nabokov would be a good example.

1:43

Comment From Amrita

Where are Indian authors on the world map as far as writing is concerned?

1:44

Anjum Hasan: I'm not quite sure how many books I own... have never counted them. Perhaps a 1000. Out of which I may have read 300 or 400. I often give away books I have read, so these figures keep fluctuating.

1:44

Comment From Guest

What makes you such an authority on relationships?

1:47

Anjum Hasan: Hi Amrita, I don't really know where Indian writers are on the world map. I don't find it interesting to look at writing in this way - as an international competition. A book's success is a very subjective thing. A book you may find marvellous could have very few readers and yet it still has value.

1:48

Comment From guntam

How do u make ur writing so lyrica? Is it coz ur a poet?

1:50

Anjum Hasan: Hello guest, I'm an authority - or trying to be one - on how to WRITE about relationships - a very different job from a psychiatrist's. I constantly meet people