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All about erotica

In what author Janice Pariat described as a “delectably named session”, Amrita Narayanan, Ananth Padmanabhan and Margaret Mascarenhas spoke about erotic fiction in response to the writing they have done. Janice engaged them in discussions on how their writing grew, what influenced them, how feminist erotic writing is perceived in India and representation for queer communities in the genre.

Amrita Narayanan

On the readings and non-readings that inspired her writing:

“I avoided reading the newspaper, especially Indian news, for the constricted way that they reported on rape and sexual harassment. By shielding myself from this, I had a safe space from which to write in.”

Erotic writing in India:

“So often, sex in India is outsourced to the United States, or to Goa! The goal of our writing is to show that it happens everywhere.”

Margaret Mascarenhas

On her ‘literary witches’:

“I was born in the U.S. and moved to Venezuela; so I cut my teeth on a lot of Black and South American literature. One of the authors who influenced me the most was Alice Walker, the first feminist black novelist. We are all literary witches in a way, as we are creating a sort of alchemy.”

What is love?

“Romantic love is a terminal illness. It’s not a normal state, and I don’t think it can be sustained with one person throughout life. Which is why when it doesn’t work out, you think you’re going to die.”

On labels

“I have moved away from definitions such as feminist or gay, and I’m focussing more on the right to be fluid. The idea of gender fluidity was introduced to me a while back, but it only came to fruition over the last eight years in my life and work.”

Ananth Padmanabhan

On his novel Play with Me :

“I never thought I would write an erotic novel. The idea came to me when I was having filter coffee at a restaurant; I told a few of my colleagues, but didn’t do anything about it. A few years later, it came up in a discussion, and I was asked to write it. And as boring as it sounds, I went home, opened an Excel sheet and charted out characters. I wanted to approach erotica from a male, first-person view. The strong women in my life helped me create women characters who knew what they wanted. The book had to be about pleasure and what it does to a sense of love.

Promoting erotic literature:

“I’m not a fan of anthologies, but in this case, they do help. It gives people a place to begin and explore.”


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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 10:27:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/All-about-erotica/article14003220.ece

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