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Love Of Literature: A Book Podcast Creating a Global Community for Aspiring South Asian Writers 

Love Of Literature: A Book Podcast Creating a Global Community for Aspiring South Asian Writers 

  • "It shifts the attention from the creation to the creator and aims at building a friendly community for the most lonesome part of art, the creation itself.”

The solitary nature of writing has its moments of beauty but it comes with sticky challenges as well. Writers live in their heads and limit social interactions so that they can focus on marinating their thoughts before putting them down on paper. Still, it’s the same self-inflicted arrangement that can isolate and demotivate them at times. That’s why being a part of a community that understands them matters. A podcast that goes over and beyond to facilitate that is Love Of Literature (LOL) hosted by the Singaporean award-winning novelist, Jayanthi Sankar, and the talented India-based writer Sredhanea Ramkrishnan. The podcast was started to help aspiring writers towards the end of 2020. 

While most of the book podcasts are focused on the content of the book, the characters, or how the author developed an interest in writing and their other literary credentials, LOL was created to give a peep into the behind-the-scenes of not just the literary process but also the publishing process undergone by the author. “It shifts the attention from the creation to the creator and aims at building a friendly community for the most lonesome part of art, the creation itself,” said Ramkrishnan when asked what set their podcast apart. 

The hosts interview authors, reviewers, publishers, literary agents, illustrators and others connected to the publishing and writing fraternity and pick their brains about their process, product, and progress in the field. 

Today, LOL boasts of holding together a community of more than 200 authors from 4 continents who have felt at home and shared their wisdom through its platform. It was inspiring to learn the germ of its conception. When one of the hosts Sankar helped the rookie co-host Ramkrishnan in turning her debut novel from a draft to a ‘publish-able’ book, the duo realized there were so many heart-warming stories out there that didn’t make it into a book, just because the author couldn’t navigate the publishing world. The hosts decided to not just use Sankar’s expertise but also bring in novelists from all over the world to give motivation and ideas to aspiring authors out there and coalesce a community for the authors to collaborate and assist one another.  

Into the fourth season of LOL, the hosts stated that it has been humbling and enriching to understand and be inspired by the various authors “Some of our best takeaways have been the unique techniques some authors have used in their fiction writing, like utilizing letters, text message conversations and, e-mails as a way of communication between the characters in their works,” said Ramkrishnan. 

LOL not only brings aspiring authors together, but also helps them get in touch with veteran authors like Alka Joshi,  Tanushree Podder, Latha Gwalani, Chirashree Bose and, Ranjani Rao who don’t just share their expertise and knowledge but also run newsletters and book clubs to keep themselves connected.

“The aspiring authors and debut novelists could become writing companions, beta readers, and social media promoters for each other,” stated Jay. “That’s why LOL has had publishers like Zero Degree Publishing and Literary Agents like Lalitha Ravindran on it who could help take the authors’ books to the right hands.”

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The audience and the guests on the show are not restricted by geographies, genres, or even forms of literature like poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. The podcast has had authors from the U.S., Canada, and South Africa. As the hosts are from the Asian continent, incidentally most of the authors that approach them have South Asian roots.  

In present times as South Asian literature the world over is flourishing more than it has ever done before, there’s still a lack of awareness and acceptance of the nuanced differences in storytelling from the diasporic point of view. Only a handful of dominant South Asian voices are found at the global publishing tables. The LOL hosts though are optimistic about the future of the writers emerging from the diaspora. Sredhanea specified, “As India doesn’t leave the Indian even if the Indian leaves India, the desi-ness of the Indian community abroad is one that is most interesting to authors of the century to explore. The seamless marriage between cultures, languages, ideas, emotions, and policies could spark a note-worthy story for the American publishers or Literary agents who are usually on the lookout for something unique.” 

Sreya Sarkar is a public policy analyst based out of Boston. She is the author of the novel “Beneath the Veneer” published earlier this year.

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