Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ishiguro, please call me home

The first time I read Kazuo Ishiguro's novel Never Let Me Go, I couldn't let go of the novel. Its limpid prose weaved a literary world that I had never experienced in my life before. I wanted to meet Ishiguro, to learn from him in person, to write like him someday. Little did I know that his book's influence would soon prod me to follow his footsteps, by aspiring to become a part of the programme that nurtured him as a writer.

I am 24 now, having been writing for over six years. In the past six years, I have published four books. Three of them have been in the genre of light fiction, and the fourth one, a serious fiction. Over the years, my reading has exposed me to many such masters, from Amis to Barnes to Rushdie. The more I read them and about them, the more I understood that honing the craft of writing can best happen in the company of good writers, something that all of them had access to.

Last year, while travelling across India, I attended the Delhi launch of the book Calcutta by the acclaimed writer Amit Chaudhari. Chaudhari mentioned, during his conversation, that he taught prose writing at the Creative Writing programme at the University of East Anglia, the same programme that polished the craft of my favorite writer, Kazuo Ishiguro. I came back home and read about the UEA's school of literature and drama in detail. Reported to be one of the most reputed writing programmes in the world, having renowned faculties and alumni, it sent me into an aspirational frenzy. I wanted to be a part of it.

The entire 2012 and half 2013, I travelled across India with the motive to grow as a writer. It was a conscious step to broaden my experiences of life, to understand which stories are worth telling by discovering India and a little bit of myself. This journey had a life-changing impact on me. It made me realize how little I knew, and gave me the time to read more. Two years later, last December, as I was weaving those strands of my journey into a travel book, I felt a dire need of a mentor, of a circle of writer friends who could critique my writings, give me suggestions to polish it. And there was just one such programme in my mind, the one which bred my idol Ishiguro. For a Japanese writer now living in the UK, Ishiguro is a living testimony to how welcoming Great Britain is in promoting literature, arts and drama. I checked the website of the University of East Anglia. To my surprise there was a fellowship offering for the South Asian writers.

That I have already applied to the Creative Writing programme for writers, the Charles Pick Fellowship, by the University of East Anglia shouldn't come as a surprise to you. Holding my favorite novel Never Let Me Go, expectantly waiting for the results of the programme, I am just wishing: Ishiguro, please call me home.

Written for indiblogger's contest: Knowledge is Great

1 comment:

Pratik Kashiramka said...

Harsh, best of all wishes to you for the UEA programme. Meanwhile, I suggest you give Haruki Murakami's 'What I Talk About When I Talk About Running' a read; that is, if you haven't already. It should be a must-read for every aspiring writer.