Bringing poetry to the foreSarita Tiwari is a poet and author of various anthologies and has penned books like the popular Aaastitwa ko Ghosana. Her latest book, Prashnaharu Ko Karkhana, has been short-listed for this year’s edition of the prestigious Madan Puraskar—Nepal’s highest literary honour. In this conversation with the Post’s Samikshya Bhattarai, Tiwari talks about her
Sarita Tiwari is a poet and author of various anthologies and has penned books like the popular Aaastitwa ko Ghosana. Her latest book, Prashnaharu Ko Karkhana, has been short-listed for this year’s edition of the prestigious Madan Puraskar—Nepal’s highest literary honour. In this conversation with the Post’s Samikshya Bhattarai, Tiwari talks about her
inspirations and her love for reading and writing. Excerpts:
Can you tell us about your book Prashnharu ko Karkhana?
Prashnaharu ko Karkhana is a collection of poems on various subjects.
The poems in the book cover a various range of issues from psychological changes in the society over the decade, gender inequality, social issues and much more. I wrote this book so as to reflect about the society that we live in and also to question, ‘What is peace?’ I have used an overtly political language in the book and have even written poems on topics that people usually tend to avoid. I think this is one of the reasons that it has received such a good response from the readers.
What was your reaction to being nominated for the illustrious Madan Puraksar, along with popular and respected figures in Nepali literature?
It is a great honour to be nominated for the award. Unlike the rest, my book in a collection of poems and it happens very rarely that a book of poetry gets nominated for this award. If I am correct, there have only been three collections of poems nominated in the history of Madan Puraskar. So, I think this is the proud moment for just not me but all poets. Nowadays, poets turn to writing novels as it provides more fame and recognition. I hope my nomination will help increase the value of poetry and serves as the inspiration for future poets.
How did you come to love books?
I grew up surrounded by books. My siblings used to buy newspapers and books all the time; so I started reading as a result of their influence. Growing up, we never had the sources of entertainment that we have today, so for me books were my companions and sources of entertainment.
How do you select books to read?
I usually go with what my friends recommend. And now you can find out about books through newspapers and the internet; so, I browse through it sometimes to look for new books. Also, I make it a point to read all the books mentioned or referenced in autobiographies of famous writers.
What kind of books do you love to read?
I love to read all kinds of books but recently I have come to love books related to history and politics of the country. I identify myself as a feminist so I love to read books related to feminism. I believe that our life is entangled with politics and we are political animals, so I love to read and write books that can help redefine the society and bring about change. I think that it is my responsibility as a writer and as a citizen of the country to help change the society. So I am more inclined towards reading books that are social or political.
Who are your favourite authors?
My favourite author has always been Parijat. Her books, memoirs and stories have always been a great source of inspiration to me. When I read her work and about her contribution to Nepali literature, it never fails to motivate me. To be a female writer at that time must have been very difficult and so her work inspires me to do better and work harder. I also love the works of the French writer Simone de Beauvoir. In the contemporary writers, I love to read non-fiction by the Indian author Arundhati Roy.
Any books that have been a source of inspiration for you?
Chain ra Yaun by the Bangladeshi writer Tasleema Naslin was really inspiring. It poignantly portrays the difficulties that women have to endure. Another book that has had an impact on my life is Parijat’s Sangarsha.
Any advice to readers?
It’s good to read different kinds of books but I think people should at least read book that reflect on the history, culture, literature and tradition of their country written by Nepali as well as foreign writer. I think one should know about their country before anything else.