Writer Anita Desai is an award winning Indian author who writes novels, short stories and children’s books in English. Her books are renowned for their intelligent, sensitive and moving portrayals of real life characters. Thrice short-listed for the Booker prize, her novels are praised by critics and fans alike.
There are several things one can learn from this prolific author (and English professor at MIT):
1. Write Because You Love to Write
Authors who truly love to write often start early, and keep writing without aspirations to fame or fortune. Ms. Anita Desai started writing during her childhood, and published her first short story while still in school. Soon after completing her college education, she completed and published her first novel. Since then she has consistently produced one great book after another. It is clear from her writing that popularity and fame are not the motivators for her books. Her love for writing and her real interest in people are very evident in her unique writing.
2. Realism in Your Books
While fantasy, romance and other types of story-telling are popular, readers always connect with real characters in real life situations. Ms. Anita Desai takes pride in making her books as real as possible for a particular period and setting. Despite some criticism on her books seeming bleak, and characters being helpless against the fates, she maintains that she has captured the truth in the story. Real life is rarely a happy fairy tale. Her books and her characters are stark and real, and they make you pause and ponder.
3. Use Great Settings and Imagery
A simple story can be transformed into a magical journey through the use of great settings and beautiful descriptions. The visuals evoked can be powerful enough to linger and make the book unforgettable. Most of Ms. Desai’s books make use of this effect. They are all based on simple premises and plots, but built with such sensitive and beautiful imagery that the result is deeply moving stories and award winning books.
While writing what you know best is a great way to start, it is important not to settle into a particular niche. Explore and push your writing boundaries. Ms. Desai’s books range from stories about your average middle-class person in Delhi, to a German hippie’s tale, and to a story of self-discovery in Mexico. The range and depth of her numerous books are truly amazing.
5. Try Several Writing Areas
Be versatile in your writing areas and styles. As a writer, it is important not to restrict your creativity to a particular format. Ms. Desai started writing short stories, and then moved on to novels. Her initial books were serious tales of real people and their problems. In the midst of this bleakness of real life situations, she managed to write wonderful children’s books, which are like adventurous fairy tales. She has also experimented with different forms of novellas.
If you have not already read Anita Desai’s books, you might want to pick one up now. It is easy to see why she is clearly one of India’s most talented writers.
Image credit: hawncampbell on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/CS_Rajan.jpg [/author_image] [author_info]CS Rajan is a freelance writer who loves to write on various topics, and is currently working on her first novel. [/author_info] [/author]