Tuesday, September 8, 2009

winnie j panicker talks

When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was in my 7th grade. I was 13 then. It was my dad who introduced me the site poetry.com and in the beginning I used to just write for fun. Later I started to realize that poetry was a medium through which I can express my thoughts freely.

*How, why and when did decide you wanted to be a published writer? How did you go about it? What did you do to achieve this end?

When I had a set of poems in my hand, I thought of publishing it. My first book “Loveliness of Dawn” was published in the 2004 when I was doing my 11th grade.

It was a collection with 33 of my poems. I contacted the “MaluBen” Publishers, Arayoor for this and finally they published my book. The foreword was written by Shri Ayyappa Panikker.

*How would you describe the writing you are doing?
*Who is your target audience? What motivated you to start writing for this audience?

I write about all topics. There is no particular topic that I focus on while writing. I don’t usually use rhymes or a pattern. Most of my poems are in the style of prose. I am 19 now and actually little inclined towards the emotional side of writing. I try to mix emotions with color, nature etc. Sometimes I make the people of the society the target audience. I also try to portray the ills of the society through my poems.

*In the writing that you are doing, who would you say has influenced you most?

Well…I personally don’t have a favorite writer or author. I like Sylvia Plath and Robert Frost. There is no particular person who has influenced me, but my parents have inspired me and have encouraged me to write a lot. I would right now say that they are the people who have given me the urge to write.

Apart from my parents, the literary associations in Saudi Arabia have helped me a lot. I would never forget the contribution and support “Pallikoodam” and “nice India” have given me. My friends too have a bog part in the support rendered.

*What are your main concerns as a writer? How do you deal with these concerns?

I would like the society to know about the ills happening. I just pen down my feelings and I believe it’s the obligation of every writer to portray to the common man about their rights and freedom. I have written some poems on social issues such as prostitution, war, corruption etc. my poem “Filthy Roads” is about the tragic life of some unfortunate women in the Red streets. Like this I want the common man to know their surroundings.

*How have your personal experiences influenced the direction of your writing?

Till my 10th grade, I was in Saudi Arabia. There, I used to miss my home. I never got the opportunity to stay with my grandparents. I used to miss that part of my life and have written some poems based on old age. Poems like “one day even you will be”, “grandfather memories, etc are of that type.

After leaving Saudi, I happened to experience hostel life and there too I used to write about the loneliness. Being in my teens, infatuations have also found a place in my poetry. I have not gone through any tragic experience in my life. I believe that I am person who has not gone through much problems. I have a very supportive family with me.

*What are the biggest challenges that you face? And, how do you deal with these challenges?

Being recognized as a writer is not an easy task. I am just climbing the steps to learn new things. If there is anything in my poems that readers find worth, then I would consider it my blessing. Right now I am not considering anything as a challenge. I have a dream to write some thing really different. Something with a mix of colors, love, passion, music, thoughts etc…I am trying to get that!

*How many books have you written so far? (Please include titles, publisher, date of publication and a brief description of the book/books.)

I have written one book, “Loveliness of Dawn” which was published by MaluBen Publishers, Arayoor, in the year 2004. The book contained my poems which I wrote till my age of 15. It had topics like old age, war, nature, friendship etc. the poems were all short ones and more of a prose type.

*Do you write everyday? How does each session start? How do you proceed? How, where and why does it end?

No, I don’t write everyday. I write when I get the urge to do it. Sometimes I keep the points that I want to write collected in my mind and jot them down when I get time. I usually like to write when it is evening and silent. Once I start writing, I finish it in around 10 minutes time. I never leave my poems incomplete or for a later time. Once I sit to write, I get up only after completing it.

*What is your latest book about? How long did it take you to write it? Where and when was it published? How did you chose a publisher for the book? Why this publisher? What advantages and/or disadvantages has this presented? How are you dealing with these?

My latest book has been named “Flowers on the Violin”. I didn’t write with an aim to publish my next book. It was just that I keep writing. When it came to a collection then I thought of making it a book. This book contains some of the poems that I have written since my 10th grade till now. I have contacted the Bluemango books publishers for the publication. Mr. M.K Harikumar is the CEO of Bluemango books. I came to learn that they publish only English Works. I felt an interest because they also have competitions for best student poet, best student short story writer etc. This inspired me. And I just sent my poems for the competition.

Bluemango books presented me with the best student poet award 2008. It was one big surprise life and God gave me. I was privileged because a noted literary group recognized me. As I said earlier, I consider it a blessing and now I am more responsible as a writer. I will have to concentrate on serious topics. And I am trying my level best to do it too,

I also got the opportunity to meet some of the great personalities in the literary field. My encounters with Harikumar sir, Leelavathy Mam, Ayyappa Panikker Sir,etc will be stored as gems in my memory.

*Which aspects of the work that you put into the book did you find most difficult? Why do you think this was so? How did you deal with these difficulties?

Actually I start writing a poem only if I am fully confident about it. So when I write I don’t find it very difficult. I sometimes find a difficulty finding the correct words. But, If I sit for a while, I get the right word or at least a similar satisfying line.

*Which aspects of the work did you enjoy most? Why is this?

As I said earlier, I write only if I am fully confident about it. In that way I enjoy everything that I write. To pick out a few, I enjoyed writing “Flowers On The Violin”. I felt there was some music in that poem. Then I enjoyed “Silence’. That was a poem that gave me some kind of emotional satisfaction. There are other poems too like “Axe Across my Heart”, ‘The call” etc.

*What sets the book apart from the other things you've written?

My previous book was written when I was just around 15. And that book contained the thoughts of a child. Current issues, love, war, nature, colors, music, and all have found a place in my new book.

I believe it’s the readers who are the ones to analyze the difference in the second book. As usual as a person grows, his/her way of thinking will also grow. And maybe I also grew that way.

*In what way is it similar?

I have written about nature, old age, parents etc in my first book too. And these topics have found place in the second one also. There will surely be similarity in the way I write. I really don’t know how to explain about the book. The topics that have been taken for the first book have been taken for his too, the only difference being, I wrote it in a different angle.

*What will your next book be about?

I find pleasure in writing poetry and feel that it’s the easiest medium for me to communicate. I will continue writing poems and if possible publish them . As of now I haven’t started tot think about my next book. If at all am doing another book, it will surely be poems.

*What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?

As I said earlier, at the age o 19, being recognized as a writer is an achievement. I consider this recognition a blessing and will surely be more responsible as a writer.
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