Sunday, November 25, 2012

"You have to write no matter what, especially when you're writing as a profession. When you're starting out, it's true you're inspired to write more when you're angry, you're sad and when you're moved by something, and you do tend to write more at the time. But, when you're writing as a profession, you need to write no matter what."
- Manjushree Thapa, Sharjah International Book Fair

Manjushree Thapa had always believed in the power of expression - from the time she was a child, she always felt that her need for self-expression was very strong. So, it was only natural that she chose to become a writer.

On the 14th November, Thapa shared a book panel with Pakistani author, Mirza Waheed (The Collaborator) and spoke to an audience of school children and teachers of about her change in profession to writing, her writing plan and a variety of other subjects.

Nepali author, Manjushree ThapaPhotos by Sree Lakshmi and Kavita Mehrotra
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The Nepali writer, Thapa spoke quite highly about the Sharjah International Book Fait (SIBF), and said that one of the primary reasons she's attending the fair is because she has "gaps in her education about other countries", what she found most attractive about coming here was getting exposure to Arab literature and the feel of the entire region. Thapa also said it was her first time visiting the UAE, and that she's looking forward to the UAE and meeting other Nepali nationals.  

"I hear that there a lot of Nepali nationals living here, I'm very interested in meeting them and interacting with them,"

One of the main reasons she started writing was because her need for self-expression was strong. She had moved from painting, to photography before finally settling down into creative writing. Thapa says that when she was in her twenties, she wrote "to make sense of the world" and was one of those people who found the world confusing, unless she wrote about it and that marked her foray into writing.

But, every author has a preferred genre and Thapa is no different. When asked whether she would tackle any other genre other than her usual norm of autobiographical novels and history books. She stated that she has a very narrow interest in terms of literature, and she's primarily interested in two genres - literary fiction and long-form non-fiction, which is a more personal style of writing non-fiction. 

Thapa asserted that she's not interested in writing in other genres like romance, spy thrillers or action and detective fiction, despite being a fan of those genres.

Her writings are influenced by what she's read and her own personal experiences. Thapa said she is used this particularly in her only fictional novel, Seasons of Flight (2010), where the protagonist is a young Nepali woman who's moved to the States. 

Thapa said that Prema (the main character) was like a lot of Nepalis she knew and that the book was based on her experiences, and anecdotes from her friends and family. Thapa also commented on her upcoming novel which is currently untitled is due to be released next year.

By Sharanya Paul Raj

The writer is a second year BA Media and Communications student in Manipal University, Dubai.