“Each writer brings his or her particular perspective to the writing, giving it a ‘stamp’ and a unique flavor.”
Anjali Banerjee was born in India, raised in Canada and California. She has written four novels for youngsters and two novels for adults, and she’s at work on her next novel for children.
Her novels for young adults, Maya Running and Looking for Bapu has received much critical acclaim. In this interview, she tells us about her writer superstitions, writing as an Indian not living in India and much more.
Q- Looking for Bapu deals with rather adult themes of death, racism, gods. How did you maintain the fine balance which made it still remain Children’s Literature?
The main character is a child. I tried to stay in his viewpoint so that children could identify with him. However, I think the book appeals to adults as well. The themes of death, racism and gods are universal, suitable for any age.
Q- Is there any particular audience that you keep in mind while writing?
I probably should be thinking of a specific audience, but instead I’m thinking about the story. Anu, the main character in Looking for Bapu, desperately wants to bring back his grandfather’s spirit. So while I wrote, I tried to think of what Anu would do next. What funny antic did he have up his sleeve? How was he going to resolve his problems?
If I get all the story elements down, and I write the best book I can write, I have to trust that the book will find its audience.
Q- You were two months old when your family immigrated to Canada. Does your never having really lived in India change the way you recreate India and Indian identity in your novels?
Absolutely. I grew up “between cultures.” My personal world view colors my writing and the characters in my books. I think this is true for all authors. Each writer brings his or her particular perspective to the writing, giving it a “stamp” and a unique flavor.
Q- Do you have any favorite authors or novels?
I have many favorite authors, too many to list! I encourage aspiring writers to read widely, in many genres. I love nonfiction (science and nature writing) as well as general fiction, mysteries, biographies, and children’s books.
Q- And out of the ones written by you, which is your favorite, and of course, why?
I can’t say I have a favorite, but I’m hoping my books will keep getting better.
Q- Do you have any writer superstitions? Like using a particular pen or wearing some particular clothes when beginning to write?
No superstitions. I write in my office, but lately I’ve found I can concentrate better when I’m away from home, away from distractions. I’ve been writing in a local café.
Compiled by Shravya Jain