Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pakistani author, Mirza Waheed  (Left) and Nepali author, Manjushree Thapa (Right)  at Sharjah International Book Dair on 14th November 2012. Photo by Sree lakshmi and Kavita Mehrotra. Click here for more photos.

On the 8th day of the Sharjah International Book Fair, writers, Manjushree Thapa and Mirza Waheed addressed students from schools across Sharjah and gave them helpful tips to be a successful writer.

ManjushreeThapa spoke about multilingualism, she went on to speak about the ‘power of expression’ and the ‘art of observation’ since she specialized in photography. The Nepali writer loved literature but was never sure of writing, until she wrote her first book, Mustang Bhot in Fragments (1992) at the age of 24

Thapa discussed the importance of creative writing and also informed the students about the new career alternatives like bachelors and masters in creative writing.

“Reading is a very large part in being a writer and is equally important for writing”, Thapa  said.

Thapa said that she spends 3-4 years on each of her novels and advices aspiring writers to “make active notes” alongside the book they are reading.

She also spoke of realistic issues like earning a living while writing. For a successful book, she said, a writer must have a good relationship with their team which includes a literary agent, a publication house and the most importantly, a great editor. 

Sharing the stage was Pakistani author and journalist, Mirza Waheed stressed on the importance of language to make one a global citizen.

Waheed remembered how his parents forced him to learn 4 languages; however he is grateful to them now as the knowledge of “language takes you into a different world”.

He confided with the students how he was a closeted writer and never shared his passion for writing with anyone. He urged the students not to follow his footsteps and instead share their works with someone like a teacher. The Kashmiri writer shared with the audience how getting published can be a gruesome wait.

Waheed agreed with Thapa’s views about how a writer should be well financed before deciding to take up writing as a full time profession. Together the two writers urged the audience to keep a daily journal.

“Writing is a solitary business; it is like actually going to the office. Writing every day, is practice, you get your voice right, and you get your tone right,” said Waheed as the session concluded.

By Nicole Xavier

The writer is a first year MA Media and Communications student in Manipal University, Dubai.

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