The great author Gustav Flaubert once said, “The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe."
I am not buying that entirely. I believe that the art of writing is to make others believe what you want them to believe.
And by that, I don’t mean only storytelling. I mean all writing. Direct and compelling prose can raise even the most academic and arcane subjects to literature.
Sometimes academicians couch their findings in thick and opaque prose—sometimes because they don’t know how to express themselves in a more comprehensible manner. You know, in simple sentences without using jargon as crutches.
Sometimes because they think they won’t be taken seriously if they expressed themselves in a less formal style.
And some of them are great writers and storytellers. So they go looking for an outlet for their creativity and happily some find it.
My guest today is author and historian, Devika Rangachari. Clearly, she found her muse. She is both versatile and prolific. Her writing has spanned everything from a post-doctoral thesis on 10th century women rulers of Orissa to children’s books.
Reading her is a delight. Her latest book is titled Train To Tanjore and is the absorbing account of a young schoolboy who battles small-town orthodoxy in the time of World War II.
Devika captures the period and the honest sentiment that RK Narayan once did in Swami And Friends. She does this with her unique literary sparkle.
As you can tell, I enjoyed reading this book. Equally I enjoyed reading some of her academic writing. And today, I am delighted to be able to share her with you. So here she is joining me from her home in Doha, Qatar.
ABOUT DEVIKA RANGACHARI
Dr. Devika Rangachari is an award-winning writer whose book, Queen of Ice was on the White Raven list, won the Neev Young Adult Book Award, was shortlisted for the Sahitya Akademi’s Bal Sahitya Puraskar. Her other books include The Train to Tanjore, Queen of Fire (Parag Honour List 2022), Queen of Earth (Parag Honour List 2021; shortlisted for the Neev YA and the JK Women AutHer awards), 10 Indian Monarchs Whose Amazing Stories You May Not Know, Tales of Love and Adventure, Swami Vivekananda—A Man with a Vision, Harsha Vardhana, The Merry Mischief of Gopal Bhand, The Wit of Tenali Raman and Growing Up (IBBY Honour List 2002). She also received a prestigious national fellowship of the ministry of culture in India to research aspects of gender and historical fiction in Indian children’s literature.
Buy Train To Tanjore (Penguin Random House): https://amzn.to/3dy8Gh1
WHAT'S THAT WORD?!
Co-host Pranati "Pea" Madhav joins Ramjee Chandran in "What's That Word?!", where they discuss the word "QUEEN".
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