& occasionally about other things, too...

Monday, May 16, 2016

GAB talks to Pratap Reddy

Pratap Reddy is a Toronto author whose first collection of short stories Weather Permitting and Other Stories (published by Guernica Editions) is being launched at the Supermarket Restaurant & Bar Toronto on Sunday June 5. 

In a interview with GAB, Pratap talks about his stories and himself

Congratulations on your forthcoming short story collection, Pratap. When and why did you start writing fiction?

I started writing after I immigrated to Canada. All the new experiences, the challenges one had to face as an immigrant gave the kickstart to an urge which was lying dormant. I love to read, and I had always hoped that one day I too would start writing.

What is the short story collection about? Is there an overarching theme that binds the stories together?

These fictional stories use immigration experience as the background – lack of jobs, non-recognition of credentials, absence of affordable daycare – there was a rich vein waiting to be mined. It’s a world as seen through the eyes of people who have recently immigrated to another country.

You have published short stories in several other anthologies; please name the anthologies and the stories that were published in these anthologies.

I’ve been published in magazines like Anokhi and The Maple Tree Literary Supplement. And in anthologies like Canadian Voices, Indian Voices, South Asian Review and, I am most proud to add, ‘Breaking the Bow’, an anthology of speculative fiction brought out by the reputed Indian publisher ‘Zubaan Books’.    

You are working on a novel, please let us know how the creative process is different while writing a novel and working on a short story collection.

This is only my first collection and I’m writing my very first novel – so I would like to be guarded in my response. The first thing is the matter of theme, in short stories most of the action is around an event or an idea, novels can be more ambitious and can encompass many elements. If I could draw a parallel, short fiction is like a snapshot whereas a novel is more like video shoot. Secondly, the treatment. In short stories you cannot range too far out from the plot – everything needs to be absolutely relevant. While writing novels, you have more elbow room, and you can be more discursive.

How significant is your identity to you when you write?

As of now, I write, and I want keep writing, about things I know best. So the matter of identity is not really uppermost in mind. My writing is about an individual’s reaction to the world around him.

How do you describe yourself? As a Canadian, Indian, or a Canadian writer of Indian origin. Please explain your choice.

I would like to be described as person who ‘loves to read and loves to write’. But the fact that I have lived more than half my life in India and that I’m now working in Canada will have bearing on my work, whether I like it or not.

If you liked the interview, you may be interested in reading another between Pratap and his publisher: Guernica's interview with Pratap Reddy

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