BANGALORE: The book reading of Jahnavi Barua's second novel 'Rebirth' was held recently. What makes this more special is the fact that Rebirth was nominated for the Man Asian Booker Prize in 2011, Asia’s most prestigious award for writers, along with Indian writer Amitav Ghosh (River of Smoke), Pakistani writer Jamil Ahmad (The Wandering Falcon), South Korean writer Kyung-Sook Shin (Please Look after Mom)and many more who made it to the acclaimed list.
Rebirth is about a young woman, Kaberi, who comes to grips with an unexpected crisis- an uncertain marriage, an unfaithful husband, a troubled relationship with her parents and how she deals with them with courage.
The theme is universal and makes you realise that the protagonist doesn't crave for sympathy. It's a story which could happen to anyone and the author manages to find a voice for Kaberi's character in a quiet, but confident way.
The book is set in Bangalore and Guwahati and also makes a mention of the ongoing political unrest in Assam. Though set in the Indian subcontinent, the story doesn't really have the noise which is usually associated with the stories from our country.
"No matter how dark my stories are, I always like to end them with a positive note and with a ray of hope," said Jahnavi.
Though she is a medical doctor by profession, Jahnavi took to writing almost 10 years ago, around the same time when she became a mother.
This doctor-turned-writer won the Short Fiction contest hosted by the British Council in 2005 and then the second prize in the Children’s Fiction category of the same prize. Jahnavi was also awarded a Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship to study Creative Writing in the UK in 2006.
Jahnavi's first book, Next Door, a collection of short stories, was published in 2008 to wide critical acclaim. At the book reading session, she also read extracts from the Next Door.
This petite writer and mother of a 10-year-old describes herself as a full-time mom, writer, wife, and reader.