SIBF 2022:International Booker Prize winner shares her passion for written words with young minds
Geetanjali Shree, author of Tomb of Sand, delights UAE students at SIBF 2022 with deep thoughts, insights and an unwavering honest approach to the art of writing
Sharjah, November 03, 2022
Kicking off the opening session on the second day of the 41st Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), Geetanjali Shree, winner of the International Booker Prize 2022, engaged with a large number of students from various schools in the UAE.
Admitting to “being nervous about meeting tomorrow’s generation”, the 2022 Booker Prize winner from India, said: “I write for adults and know them well. While meeting the younger generation who will lead tomorrow, I feel nervous. These are people to whom the world belongs, and who will save the world from the challenges currently impacting humanity.”
Talking about writing in her mother tongue, Hindi, she said: “I grew up at a time when regional vocabulary was much more common. Hindi is my comfort language and it is through this language that I want to express myself better.”
Shree, whose Booker-winning novel Tomb of Sands, follows the journey of a grandmother who takes the initiative to change her course of life, said: “All languages have their own vast rich history and we cannot compare one with another. English is today a primary language for global communication but other countries, including India, have a wide variety of languages and dialects, and we must take pride in these.”
Sharing her experience of becoming a writer, Shree said: “Becoming an artist or a writer is not always a lucrative activity. It is for each one of us to decide how we can sustain it bearing in mind the needs of our families. Pursuing your passion is about how well you can blend it with your career and sustain it.”
In response to a question on the qualities required to become an author, Shree said: “I believe honesty to oneself is prime when it comes to writing. Staying sensitive to different points of view that may differ from one’s own is very important to create an overall picture. Also, one needs to widen the horizons of their imagination to nurture stories and express them.”
Having moments of self-doubt is “sometimes a good thing”, said the award-winning author, adding, “Uncertainty can be healthy and helps in pursuing excellence. If you are a writer, write diligently and express thoughts eloquently – leave the rest for readers to decide!”
“Words are all about the meaning you put into it. Using a term in the informal sense might lend a light, casual touch while using the same in formal language gives it a more refined tone,” she added.
Attending SIBF for the first time this year, the 2022 Booker Prize winner is set to have a public appearance on Saturday, November 5, 2022, at 7pm at the Intellectual Hall at Expo Centre Sharjah.