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Ranjana Niraula on literature and literary festivals

Ranjana Niraula on literature and literary festivals

Ranjana Niraula is a writer, editor and poet based in Kathmandu. She has written and published three poetry books and an essay collection, and has been honored with several awards, including ‘Golden Heart International Award 2022 (Kazakhstan), KLF Book award, 2023 (India), Nayirajat Medal 2022, Nepal, and East West Literature Honor 2021 (Bangladesh. Ken Subedi conversed with Niraula on books, literature and the literary festivals.

What types of books do you like to read? Which genre attracts you the most and why?

I love reading literary books more because these books provide a deep understanding of academic language, style, and plot construction. Reading classics, modern literature, and books written in different genres helps a writer learn different writing techniques and structures. This makes the writing rich and multi-faceted. The depth of thought found in literary works, the exploration of human nature, and the timeless stories provide inspiration and creativity to a writer. The study of literary and philosophical works helps to understand the power of words and the artistry of writing, the world of life, which brings originality and depth to writing.

I like to read philosophical books because they enrich our minds, increase our logical powers and encourage deeper exploration of both the world and ourselves. But poetry is my favorite genre and I enjoy reading essays as well. 

Poetry and essays are different in nature. How do you come to write essays after penning a lot of poems?

First of all I wrote a poem. It was officially published in the Nepal newspaper in 2001. Poetry is often short and concise, conveying deep feelings in fewer words, so for me personally, it seems easier than other forms of writing. Essays are detailed and lengthy, presenting in-depth analysis and reasoning of ideas, and require slightly more attention. So my poems were published in book form at first. The essays came later. 

As the director of Kathmandu Kalinga Literary Festival, what is your opinion regarding the literary festivals in Nepal?

I think literary festivals should be held in numbers. Based on my experiences, literary festivals are necessary for several reasons as they offer many benefits to various stakeholders, including authors, readers, and the broader community. Literary festivals play a crucial role in promoting literature, fostering cultural exchange, supporting the literary community, and stimulating intellectual and economic growth. They enrich both individuals and communities, making them valuable and necessary components of cultural life.

How is Kathmandu Kalinga Literary Festival different from other literary festivals?

Literary festivals give knowledge and joy. Almost all festivals have this aim. A little more than other literary festivals, we conduct interviews with foreign writers and artists, so that international writers can listen to our writings and we can listen to them. And we encourage literature in different languages ​​in different forums. Promoting Nepali literature abroad is also the objective of Kathmandu Kalinga Literary Festival.

In your opinion, how can we globalize Nepali literature?

Based on the fact that I have joined many literary festivals, I can say that literary festivals promote literature, art and culture in one way or another. Globalizing Nepali literature requires a multifaceted approach that includes translating works into major world languages, promoting participation in international literary festivals, utilizing digital platforms and social media for wider reach, fostering academic and cultural exchanges, and seeking recognition through international literary awards. Collaborating with international publishers and literary agents, engaging with global media for coverage, and obtaining support from government and cultural organizations are also essential. By leveraging these strategies, Nepali literature can be introduced and appreciated by a global audience, enriching the world's literary diversity with its unique narratives.

Why should literature enthusiasts in Nepal join the upcoming Kathmandu Kalinga Literary Festival?

I say that all literature lovers, art lovers, readers, writers, and publishers should attend the upcoming Kathmandu-Kalinga Literary Festival that is being held on Sept 7-8. Literary festivals are where writers, readers, and publishers can meet face to face. You can listen to conversations and ask questions. It is a wonderful forum for literature enthusiasts and everyone should take advantage.