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Amrita Tripathi

Writer/ Founder/ Former Journalist

Books by Amrita Tripathi

Blog posts : "jaipur literature festival"

We Did It!

Thoroughly enjoyed the Jaipur Literature Festival, and all the sessions I got to moderate! Perhaps understandably, I was most nervous before my first session -- this was where I was talking about my own book, after all. This is where The Sibius Knot made its debut! And we had a bit of a book signing afterwards. 

I thought it might be interesting to put up the email q&a with Anindita Ghose, Features Editor at Vogue India, ahead of our session at the Jaipur Lit Fest. (Was tempted to remove the smileys, but have left them in... judge away!)


1. Was Broken News almost entirely autobiographical? 


Broken News (and indeed TSK) is fiction - it's not drawn from life but is real to life, I feel - it talks about the frenetic pace of 24/7 news, it talks about relationships fraying under that kind of pressure, and also the wave of young people coming in essentially wanting to become stars. (This still holds true!) But the story also worked in sexual harassment, people looking the other way, how easy it is to lose track of reality and perspective.


(In some broad sense, as I'm writing this to you,I realise that is a common theme with TSK - losing perspective/ losing oneself is remarkably easy, even in this hyper-connected world)


 2. What drove you to address fucked up 90s kids and mental health in your second book? Was there a moment of sorts? Any literary inspirations for The Sibius Knot?


I don't think anyone's really written our generation's reality yet - but it's quite possible, I've not been reading those who are doing so. Deepti's book I have been meaning to read - I was in her batch at school for a year, actually! So we have friends in common and do know each other :)

I think that adolescence and young adulthood can be devastating - it's remarkably easy to not just lose yourself, but say, OD and die. It's remarkably easy to not realise there is help available... And depression is a nasty beast -- under-discussed even in urban India. I have done several stories on mental health, and that forms the basis of some of the research - the fact that 1 in 4 people at some point will suffer some sort of depression to me was a mind-blowing revelation. India still has a long way to go, but I think the younger lot - the millennials - are much more clued in to a lot of stuff. They're also more plugged in and driven and practical, so I suppose that also fascinated.

No direct literary inspirations as such - but I love Murakami, Neil Gaiman, and just discovered David Mitchell (after writing TSK... and I think LB's character would fit in with one of those in Bone Clocks, at some very fundamental level!)


 3.    Are a lot of your characters composite characters?


I'm not entirely sure - some of them I got to know while writing this book, and they sort of decided who they were going to be - I found their voice by tapping into something, that's for sure! But some of them have a specific take-off point - or some of the conversations will be triggered by a line that strikes me from somewhere... If that helps answer the q!


 4.    Did you have an agent ( I ask because Deepti's agent David Godwin has been talking about a "bold, radical Indian female voice" emerging)


Yes, for this book, my agent is Shruti Debi of Aitken Alexander (UK-based)


 5.    Were you worried about offending people (family, friends) while writing the book? Were there any repercussions from the time you wrote Broken News? As a writer at what point do you stop caring about what family/friends will think? 


I wasn't worried about offending anyone, but I wanted to sensitise some of my family and closest friends - this book is very very different from Broken News, and I wanted to make sure they're aware it's got a darker theme and is quite strange! It's not what people who know me/ even are acquainted with me are expecting, that's for sure. 

I'm so glad you read it, I have to say! My first reader :) I'm going to tweet that, actually!


With Broken News: people were expecting a tell-all, so some colleagues were maybe disappointed not to be reading who's sleeping with whom, etc! :) 

But there have been interesting reactions, which thanks to Twitter, one gets exposure to- and one of them was recently when the Tejpal case came out, someone wrote to say it was eerily reminiscent of my book. What can I say.

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