Novel Writers - Preti Taneja and 'We That Are Young'

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By Dylan Sutcliffe, third year Theatre and Performance Studies

Spike Island describes We That Are Young as 'brilliant in its fierce, incandescent storytelling and the energy of its prose'. Dylan Sutcliffe meets the author.

The Novel Writers event at Spike Island, which presented Preti Taneja discussing her novel We That Are Young, was a relaxed and social evening which offered brilliant insight into an author’s writing process and work. From literature students to budding writers, or anyone interested in the arts and fancying a new medium of entertainment, the Novel Writers series of events is undoubtedly not be missed.

In the relaxed atmosphere of Spike Island’s colourful café, one immediately feels welcomed and ready to listen to new writing and discussions of prose and writing processes. The night was hosted by Dr Madhu Krishnan, Senior Lecturer in 20th/21st Century Postcolonial Writing at the University of Bristol, and Krishnan made a wonderful host. She asked all the right questions and knew how to extract exciting and insightful information from the author’s novel and intention.

"an adaption of Shakespeare’s King Lear, set against the backdrop of the anti-corruption protests that spread across India in 2011 and 2012"

Preti Taneja was also a brilliant guest, offering honest and warm commentary on her novel and work. Taneja’s book We That Are Young is an adaption of Shakespeare’s King Lear, set against the backdrop of the anti-corruption protests that spread across India in 2011 and 2012. It was clear to see the care and research that Taneja had taken in order to simultaneously offer an exciting new adaption of King Lear and resonate with the contemporary issues in India. Taneja read to the room from the first few pages of her novel, and it was clear how much time, care and effort the book and its spectacular imagery had received.

The space was an exciting and open location, where questions from the audience were not only welcomed but consistently answered so articulately that Taneja's responses provided deeply fascinating layers of insight. As an arts student myself, it was also great to listen to a talk by someone who had worked tirelessly for the publication of their work. Taneja spoke about her long journey from writing to publication, and it was a refreshing experience to hear as it demonstrated the rewards of effort and hard work.

"in the relaxed atmosphere of Spike Island’s colourful café, one immediately feels welcomed and ready to listen"

The Novel Writers events are held monthly at the Spike Island café, details of which can be found on their website. I’d fully recommend anyone interested in writing, reading or just in search of a refreshing evening out to check out these events. This series is also a partnership with the Bristol Festival of Ideas, which has loads of talks and events on over the coming winter - so be sure to keep your eyes peeled.

(Featured image: Unsplash / Patrick Tomasso)


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