The fourth day of the Jaipur Literature Festival saw the launch of the Crime Writer’s Association of South Asia, which aims to encourage crime writing, both in fiction and non-fiction.
Kishwar Desai, founder and convener of the association, launched the initiative with fellow founding members, Namita Gokhale, director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, novelist Margaret Mascarenhas, who promotes Norwegian fiction and non-fiction literature abroad, Jørn Lier Horst of the Nordic Crime Writers Association, Gautam Chakrabarty, who critiques crime novels, and Somnath Batabyal, author of The Price You Pay.
An attempt to provide a platform to crime-writers, the founding members believes the genre goes much beyond just writing thrilling stories. “Crime novels function as mirrors to society; they highlight all that is unfair in it,” Horst said.
Crime and Punishment is also one of the themes at the festival, which explores the nature of accountability, culpability and morality. This genre involves a lot of “intra-social elements and emotional chasms within society. Writing about crime is extremely complex and has interesting possibilities and counter-possibilities,” Chakraborty said adding that crime writing needs to be encouraged to better understand the “phenomenon of crime”. “This will work towards creating a more transparent society,” he said.
The association aims to hold a two-day festival of crime writers in September this year in Delhi where the work of authors will be showcased and workshops on crime writing held.
To those who wonder about the interest in a genre that seems to have an unnatural interest in sundered bodies and depraved minds, Namita Gokhale’s comment that “a wave of crime writing is better than a crime wave” seems a fitting response.
The association has also launched a website http://www.crimewritersassociationsouthasia.org/ where those interested in becoming members can register.