Listen To Me
Author: Shashi Deshpande
9789387578920 | HB | pp. 380 | 2018 | Westland Context
This autobiography of one of the most celebrated authors of our times, Shashi Deshpande, provides a deep and personal account that elaborates on the shaping of a writer’s sensibility.
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Shashi Deshpande’s name is synonymous with Indian writing in English. Everyone you know has read her. Deshpande’s novels, with their assertive and modern themes, are as urgent today as when they were first published. Yet, little is known about her. She is famously reticent.
In Listen to Me, Deshpande opens up about her life and work. She writes about being a writer and a feminist, and the shaping of these selves. She draws us into her world: growing up in Dharwad as Kannada littérateur Shriranga’s daughter, moving to Bombay as a student, figuring out her identity as a newly married woman, and negotiating the unfamiliar world of Indian publishing — and always, always her love of reading. As she talks about influences, detractors and challenges, the genesis of her own work shines through.
This book is not a fight to claim a piece of public memory, and definitely not an act of self-aggrandisement. It is an acute observation of an eventful era in Indian literature and history, and a micro-history of Deshpande’s own engagement with it, through her certain and uncertain recollections. With its chiselled prose and honest self-knowledge, it revitalises that most delicate of endeavours: the writerly memoir.
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About the Author
Shashi Deshpande (born in 1938 in Dharwad, Karnataka, India), is an award-winning Indian novelist. She is the second daughter of famous Kannada dramatist and writer Sriranga. She was born in Karnataka and educated in Bombay (now Mumbai) and Bangalore. Deshpande has degrees in Economics and Law. When she was living in Mumbai she did a course on journalism at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and worked for a couple of months as a journalist for the ‘Onlooker’ magazine.
She published her first collection of short stories in 1978, and her first novel, The Dark Holds No Terror, in 1980. She won the Sahitya Akademi Award for the novel That Long Silence in 1990 and the Padma Shri award in 2009.
Shashi Deshpande has written four children’s books, a number of short stories, and nine novels, besides several perceptive essays, now available in a volume entitled Writing from the Margin and Other Essays.
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