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Book Interview: Apostrophe by Barnali Ray Shukla

Barnali Ray Shukla is a writer and filmmaker. Apart from story and scriptwriting, she writes fiction and poetry. Her writing has featured in literary journals and anthologies including Indian Ruminations, Kitaab.org, The Sunflower Collective, teksto.in, madrasmag.in, Vayavya, Outcast, Anthology of Contemporary Indian Poetry II and ‘A Portrait in Blues’  (Platypus Press, UK).

Barnali is the India-winner of the RL Poetry Award 2016 and her first book of poetry, Apostrophe, was published earlier this year. Her debut feature-film as a writer-director, Kucch Luv Jaisaa, was released in May 2011. Her documentary, Liquid Borders, was invited to film festivals across North America and Europe and has been screened at fourteen film-festivals in India. She is currently working on her second book and scripting her next feature film. She lives in Bombay with her plants, her books, and a husband. When she is not doing any of the above, she goes trekking in the Himalayas.

  1. Why Apostrophe?

Finding affinity to un-belong and yet belong to a newness, that space.

  1. With each passing book, the next is an evolved one. Do you agree? Explain.

Not necessarily. If imagination is the most influential nation, then with each passing book, we are different states of that ‘nation.’

  1. Barnali Ray Shukla, what are your three favorite poems in the book?

‘You are not late,’ ‘Uncommon happiness’ and ‘Blue sunrise.’

  1. Barnali Ray Shukla, talk about one particular memory that is buried in the pages of the book.

The November 2015 Paris attacks led to the poem ‘Lost and Found.’ I was en route to Paris from the ‘International Peace Film Festival’ in Orlando, with an award. France and terror had never before been uttered in the same breath. Irony felt like my middle name.

Author Barnali Ray Shukla
  1. Did you work toward any particular theme?

Didn’t feel like a conscious decision then but yes I questioned all that one takes for granted, danced with contradictions.

  1. How did you know your manuscript is ready for publication?

I didn’t, but am glad my publisher did. The RLFPA Editions was a catalyst in all of this. RL Poetry Award birthed new voices and garnered support from seniors who stood by this endeavor. The platform was convincing and encouraging. My first round of participation was instinctive. Finding my name in the long-list, then in the shortlist and eventually being announced the India winner of the 2016 RL Poetry Award made ‘Apostrophe’ possible.

  1. Barnali Ray Shukla, which contemporary poets are you reading now? 

Contemporary poets I am now reading are, ‘Three Doors’ by Dion D’ Souza, ‘Bound’ by Claire Schwartz and ‘When Home Is An Idea’ by Rochelle D’Silva

  1. Barnali Ray Shukla, any book/s of poems, in particular, you would recommend?

I would recommend, ‘When God Is A Traveler’ by Arundhathi Subramaniam, ‘I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded’ by Ranjit Hoskote, ‘Collected Poems’ by Federico García Lorca, ‘Call me Ishmael tonight‘ by Agha Shahid Ali and ‘Rilke: Poems’ by Rainer Maria Rilke.

  1. If you had a chance for bartering your poems for anything, what would that be?

Dreams that I have never known.

  1. Three reasons why people should buy Apostrophe?

People should buy Apostrophe if they are looking for-

  • A new pair of eyes,
  • sense of fearlessness, 
  • and that glimpse of a parallel universe

Buy Apostrophe by Barnali Ray Shukla in India here and abroad here.

If you wish to be interviewed on P&P for your recent book of poems, contact us here.

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