BHUBANESWAR : An author of historical fiction is the connect between the past and the modern day society.
Speaking during the last session of Odisha Literary Festival, 2014, 'The author as a chronicler of history', authors Ravi Shankar Etteth, Sumedha V Ojha and Rabishankar Bal said a historical fiction writer is a person who digs out other voices from the past.
Ojha, author of ‘Urnabhih: A Mauryan Tale of Espionage, Adventure and Seduction,’ said a historical fiction writer brings the past to the present day readers in an interesting manner.
"We cannot term a historical fiction writer as a chronicler of history because, what a chronicler does is an extended account in prose or verse of historical events. But, what we do is reinterpret certain facets of history in our own way and present it to the readers in a captivating manner," she said, adding authors of this genre shine a light on the past from a certain angle. "A historical fiction writer cannot divorce a story from history from his or her own value system or bias. There is too much of himself or herself in the writing," she said.
Bal, whose latest book 'Dozakhnama' is an interaction between Urdu literary legends Manto and Ghalib from their respective graves in Delhi and Lahore, also opined that history is a contentious subject because authors try to recreate or reinterpret it in their own way.
Etteth, however, said history is completely immaterial from an individual context. "Putting a character from the history into a story does not make sense if we have not read the history in detail. Like someone told me the other day, no one has time today to read the 8,000 pages of War and Peace. We live in times of instant gratification and unless we listen to the history carefully, we may actually miss the real story," he said.
The session was chaired by Priya Kapoor, co-founder of Roli books.