Prawin Adhikari talks books and challenges for Nepali writers

Prawin Adhikari

In an interview with The Kathmandu Post’s Anup Ojha, Prawin Adhikari talked about his love for books and challenges for Nepali writers among other things. He recently launched his short story collection ‘The Vanishing Act.’

Prawin Adhikari shared that he first come to love books because he had access to books in Nepali and Hindi when growing up in Abu Khaireni. He stated “I used to be a book-runner, so to speak—bringing a book from one person to another. But I’d hijack it for long enough to finish reading it. These were the days of Surendra Mohan Pathak and Ved Prakash Sharma. I also used to read magazines like Madhuparka, Garima and Rup Rekha—of which my father had a daraaj-full. At Budhanilkantha School, there were a lot more books to read.”

When asked about the specific challenges of being a Nepali writer writing in English, Prawin was very honest. He stated “We are dependent upon Indian publishers—for whom Nepal is only a small fraction of the market. Nepali publishers don’t want to risk publishing Nepali writers in English (NWE). I think that will change, now that it is possible to sell books printed in Nepal to the market in India. NWEs have to prove themselves to Nepali speakers, and to the international readership. The burden of idiomatic dexterity is doubled: We have to write good English with just the correct hint of the Nepali voice in it. I think the situation is ridiculous.” He added that “If Nepali literature isn’t made available worldwide in translations, the wider literary world will have difficulty imagining what sort of literature exists in Nepal. If Nepali writers are not known outside the borders of the Nepali-speaking populations, Nepali writers working in other languages won’t be recognised either.”

Prawin Adhikari has translated A Land of Our Own by Suvash Darnal, and Chapters, a collection of short stories by Amod Bhattarai, and has written a couple of feature films in Nepali. He is an assistant editor at La.Lit, the literary magazine. His debut short-story collection ‘The Vanishing Act’ is published by Rupa Publications and is on sale for 146 rupees (25% off) on their website.

Read Prawin Adhikari’s full interview at eKantipur

Some text from eKantipur
Image source: eKantipur