Odisha Literary Festival: Crime exists all around us, says Kishwar Desai

Crime exists all around us. No matter where you look - even in Ramayana and Mahabharata - at the heart of the story, there is a crime, said author Kishwar Desai.

Published: 23rd September 2019 10:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd September 2019 10:18 AM   |  A+A-

Authors Damayanti Biswas and Kishwar Desai with Consulting Editor of The New Indian Express Ravi Shankar Etteth speak on crime writing |( Photo | Biswanath Swain )

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Crime exists all around us. No matter where you look - even in Ramayana and Mahabharata - at the heart of the story, there is a crime, said author Kishwar Desai.

Desai who recently wrote a book on Jallianwala Bagh massacre said crime novels she is writing aimed at bringing social change as well as awareness. 

At a session on ‘Crime Writing: Thrills and Spills’ at the Odisha Literary Festival, she said Jallianwalabagh also fell in crime category. “Firing on defenceless people in Amritsar exactly 100 years ago was a horrible act.” 

Damayanti Biswas, Indian author based out of Singapore, said she takes into her work a realistic view of crime. Issues like the justice delivery system in the country which takes its own time reflects in her literary work.

“I would rather go with what actually happens. If you get your reader to connect with the character and justice it is awaiting, that becomes a huge point,” added Biswas, author of crime novel ‘You Beneath Your Skin’.

Desai, winner of Costa First Novel Award, recalled her days as a journalist when she was instructed to be objective and emotions were not encouraged. “People will read a story about an incident for five minutes and forget it.

However, a novel stays with you because the writer can talk about the emotions involved. Some of us turned towards writing novels to engage the readers and bring them into the story,” she said.
Desai said she was disturbed by prevalence of female feoticide.

“Women are not only missing around us because of gender imbalance, foeticide and infanticide but they are also missing in literature,” she added.

Asked how authors deal with murderers in their stories, Desai said more crime novels are published now as there is much more coverage of the law. At east the reader gets to know who was behind it and the circumstances under which the offence was committed.

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