Bengaluru: Women writers lament being typecast

Bengaluru: "I think labels are a lazy way of thinking,” said Anuja Chauhan, a bestselling writer on being called the ‘queen of chick lit’.

While taking part at an interactive session of women writers’ festival, organised by SheThePeople in the city on Saturday, she wondered why female authors were slotted into genres?

"Men expect me to give them a medal when they tell me they have read my book," said Chauhan. She emphasised that her books weren't just for women.

There was also the Bengaluru launch of Feminist Rani, co authored by Shaili Chopra and Meghna Pant and published by Penguin.

“Feminism is ageless, and my feminism is not greater than yours," Shaili Chopra said in conversation with IPS officer D. Roopa and radio anchor Vasanthi Hariprakash.

Another point of discussion was how women are writing about women and how that narrative is changing with more emphasis on everyday women. Priya Ramani talked of Revolver Dadi whose Instagram handle was a storyteller of its own kind.

The panel also reflected on regional storytelling spaces that were putting the spotlight on women from across India, and different backgrounds.

During a panel discussion on "Book Clubs and the Reading Culture of Bangalore", in which Sowmya Rajaram, Milan Vohra, Monika Manchanda Marianne Furtado De Nazareth and Jayapriya Vasudevan took part, the speakers pointed out that these clubs have brought them out of their comfort zones and made them read books that they would never have read otherwise.

The audience connected to the discussion on "Short stories: The Challenges of Capturing Brevity" with speakers Keerti Ramachandra, Jahnavi Barua, Shinie Antony, Monideepa Sahu and Madhavi Mahadevan.

The session – “Off the Shelf: Do women authors have to shout louder to be noticed?” which was moderated by Amruta Dongrey with panelists Nandita Bose, Kiran Manral, Tarangini Sriraman and Kavitha Rao talked about the difficulties in getting publishers to look at their work and how it was always a struggle when it was fiction and easier when it was non-fiction. 

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