Interview with author Sagarika Chakraborty

This is a long-overdue interview with writer Sagarika Chakraborty. I have reviewed her debut book, A Calendar Too Crowded – a collection of short stories – here. Sagarika is not a full-time writer: A student of law from National Law University in Jodhpur, she recently graduated from the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. Sagarika is passionate about socio-economic development issues and her articles on corporate governance have appeared in many of the world’s leading journals on the topic.  Yes, I also find it hard to imagine how she managed to write and get a book published while she has so much else going on!

In this interview, Sagarika talks about her writing life, working on a book and getting a lot of her inspiration from travelling on buses

On her very first story

“I made up my first story when I was four years old, I think. My mom used to find innovative ways to keep me occupied, and one day she gave me a sentence and told me to spin a story out of it”

On discovering her ‘writerly’ gifts

“In college, I found that I was very keen on writing research papers. I was always eager to just write. Then one day, one of my professors called me and asked me if I had ever considered publishing my written work.  I was taken aback initially, but the idea stuck.”

On finding the right publisher

“I wanted to find a publisher whose objectives were similar to mine. It had to be someone who published more ‘serious’ work. I did a bit research, found that Niyogi books was the right fit and sent them a synopsis and sample chapters. Luckily, they too thought we would be a good fit.”

On how she gets writing

“I write a lot in my head, actually, and I don’t force myself to write. I’m a fairly methodical person: I get the chapters into place first, and spend some time on preparing a chapter outline. Then I fill it out.”

On how she balances her writing and her ‘corporate’ life

“I simply cannot do without my corporate life. It makes sure that I interact with lots of people and my writing grows out of these interactions. In fact, I need to be out with people to keep my creative side thriving. That is why I love travelling by bus too; one sees so many different and interesting people. In fact, I’m a stickler for public transport.”

On receiving fan mail…and hate mail

“The appreciation has been gratifying. I’ve actually had a lot of men, who’ve read my books, coming up to me and saying that they can now finally see things from a different perspective.  But I’ve also received hate mail, a lot of it from mothers of little boys who feel that my take on mothers who spoil their sons is all wrong.”

On why she doesn’t want the ‘feminist writer’ tag

“It’s incredibly frustrating when people describe me as ‘feminist writer’. I don’t like the term, principally because I feel that over the years, it has lost much of its original meaning. Male-bashing is not feminism. It’s about appreciating women, just as much as men.”


4 thoughts on “Interview with author Sagarika Chakraborty

  1. Pingback: My mother decided to paint toe nails this Sabbath Day! :) « Deviant Wave – not all waves of the sea soothe you!

  2. I believe some writers are just gifted. And she’s one of them. I haven’t read any of her stories but from this interview I’m guessing that (writing in four year old!).

    Thanks for publishing it. It must be a great feeling for you to be able to interview an author you like.

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