Conferring with prolific writer, Nasreen Jahan
Nasreen Jahan is a novelist, short story writer, playwright and literary editor of the fortnightly Anyadin. She started writing short stories in the early eighties. Her first novel Urukkoo was published in 1993. She won Philips literary award for that novel. In 2000, she received Bangla academy award for her fiction. She is a prolific writer with over fifty titles on her credit.
Noushin Mouli Waresi
Bonding between you and
Literature has been an indivisible part of my life since childhood. Stories held me spellbound, and the enchantment of Fairy tales with their powerful magic worked upon me. As I grew older, I swift brushstrokes of my creative imagination painted the wide canvas of knowable world in glorious colour. Gradually, I began to embroider life's cruel ironies, its sorrows and its paradoxes, in symbol and metaphor and weave them into my stories.
Excitement and exhaustion while writing
I have been writing from early eighties. Writing both excites and exhausts me. Whenever I start writing, a kind of pleasure and excitement both work. Another excitement works, when I am satisfied with my writing. I feel exhausted when the characters of my stories are in trouble. It feels that I am in trouble. Their pain and suffering exhaust me most. I became one of them.
I create the characters in my Imagination. But when I create them, I become one of them. Most of my characters have existential crisis. Even in our modern life, people are facing this crisis. So, my writing and its characters reflect upon the enigma of the existential human condition trapped within fragile moral limits. Sometimes I create tragic and surreal characters. Sometimes I create strange characters as they portray the puzzle of life. In one story, a character raises from grave after a hundred and fifty years to hunt down his wife's killer; in another a young cripple rapes his half sister to prove his virility.
Enjoyable parts of your literary journey
Actually every part was special. When I was young, that writing period was different. That time I used to write short stories particularly. That journey was enjoyable. Later when I wrote Urukkoo that journey was also wonderful, because my favourite people were around me. In fact, the young Nasreen Jahan's life as a writer is equally good with mature Nasreen Jahan's life as a writer. It is difficult to say which part was good or bad.
Novel that you found hard while writing
Ishwarer Bamhat (Left hand of the Almighty) was very tough book to write for me. I was detached from writing for few months. So I could not concentrate properly. So it was very difficult for me to write that book again.
Feelings after finishing a book...
I feel so wonderful that I cannot describe it in words. That satisfaction is marvellous. I go to the rooftop and start shouting. My family and neighbour also get to know that I have finished something. Initially, I feel like I have wings and I would like to fly. After that, book launching also creates a different excitement and suspense. How will the readers react? Do they like it? --- Many questions like these come across in mind. Actually excitement is an inseparable companion for a writer. But you know that self satisfaction is a different issue. I am always in a struggle to make my writing better, most of the time I feel lack of confidence. The mind always speaks my writing could have been better.
Duration of writing a novel
Usually one year.
Things that you like apart from writing
I love watching movies. My friend Parveen Sultana and I, we two hang out and watch movies. I love spending time in art exhibition. Listening to music and watching staged dramas are also very favourite activities. Actually anything related to art soothes my mind.
Your view about feminism
Feminism is not for women or men. It is for all mankind. I believe that feminism is an idea where men and women are equal and they stand for each other in every struggle.
Your favourite genre of writing
I have fascination for magic realism and surrealism. I have been influenced by Latin American magic realism. Readers may perceive that some of my writing has Edgar Allan Poe's influence, for instance "The Black Cat."
Your words to girls as inspirations
Nowadays girls are more enthusiastic about beauty and glamour. Today's girls are not that much passionate about writing. But they should. Writing sharpens your ideas and helps you become a good person. Creativity cultivates feelings and that feeling is a significant element for human life. So, I request girls to grow love for literature. Literature is like a new world, every girl should explore it.
Your suggestion for new young writers...
Every year in book fair I see many new writers are publishing new books. This thing is now very commercial. Some of them write books and spend money to have a title as 'writer'. This is very harmful for our Bangla literature. The most noteworthy thing is they don't practice creativity. Literature is an obsession, devotion and a strong connection with your soul and words.
I will suggest them to first write in the newspaper and magazines. That will give them familiarity. Gradually she/he will find some readers. The manuscript should be edited by the experts. And they must consult senior writers who are writing for long. Sometimes they may face rejections. Even we have faced rejections. We had to wait for long to publish in newspapers and magazines. Then we took review and comment from the senior writers.
The young writers should have good knowledge about the language. The writers should know the grammar and poet should know the basic of literary ornamentation. Actually an insightful knowledge on literature is essential to be a writer or a poet.