Sharjah: Geetanjali Shree, the author of Tomb of Sand and winner of the International Booker Prize 2022, delights UAE students at SIBF 2022 with deep thoughts, insights, and an unwavering honest approach to the art of writing. Geetanjali Shree shares her passion for written words with young minds. She said, “kids are the hope for the future, they are honest and away from cynicism. We need to talk to students and here is the duty of the school to make their hope alive. We are already done.” Geetanjali Shree, winner of the International Booker Prize 2022, engaged with a large number of students from various schools in the UAE at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).
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: old age negligence problem is in every sector of society now, but yes, your life is not going to end with your age. If you observe, you can see my protagonist everywhere, they are living their life with full energy.
Geetanjali Shree took a stand on the social media debate about her work and translation. She said, “I don’t believe in any debate which is not constructive, but translation is the only way to reach the world with your indigenous work. Award or race is not my motive to work, but we should appreciate our own indigenous Hindi content and booker who recognized that indigenous Hindi novel.”
“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 them. 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 7 pm at the Intellectual Hall at Expo Centre Sharjah.