Life & Style

Two friends launch Reading Room Co., an online publication platform for budding authors and poets

Shruthi Dileep is one of the co-founders of Reading Room Co.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

 

Voracious reader Shruthi Dileep observes that while writers in many Indian languages, especially Malayalam and Tamil, have plenty of publications, online and print, to showcase their literary creations, the space for Indian writers in English is quite limited.

To do her mite, Shruthi and her friend Richu Jain launched Reading Room Co., an online publication platform for new writers to launch their creations, whether it be poetry, fiction or non-fiction. Budding authors and poets can upload their works on to the site.

A post-graduate in Sociology from Manipal University, Shruthi says that while she was able to read new Malayalam writers in many magazines in the language, the same was not the case with those writing in English. “Many of my friends were writing fiction and poetry. However, leaving aside a couple of publications, there was no way they could publish their works for wider readership. There are few websites offering a platform for fiction. College magazines carry some pieces but that are read mostly by students and not easily accessible to other readers,” points out Shruthi.

Richu Jain is one of the co-founder of online publication platform Reading Room Co.

Richu Jain is one of the co-founder of online publication platform Reading Room Co.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

 

While she looks after the literary side, Canada-based Richu, an engineer, takes care of the technical aspects. “Within less than a month, we got more than 30 uploads. I expected about ten views and a few submissions. But the response has been overwhelming. We got more than 6,000 views,” says Shruthi speaking over phone from Kottayam.

Reading Room has also been carrying writer-translator J Devika’s superb translation of select short stories of late K Saraswathy Amma. “No, it is not click bait,” laughs Shruthy. “Devika has been kind enough to give these stories to us. I discovered her stories while in college. Her stories and characters bowled me over. She was such a radical. But I found that while many of her contemporaries were well-known and widely read, Saraswathy Amma’s works were not all that popular. I was keen to introduce her to readers and this was an ideal opportunity. We have published eight of her stories,” explains Shruthi.

Shruthi has opened the space for non-fiction as well: essays, reviews and analytical pieces. Novelist Gayathri Prabhu, who happens to be Shruthi’s teacher in college, has given the publication an excerpt from her memoir.

Reading Room Co., an online publication platform, has eight stories authored by the late K Saraswathy Amma, which were translated by writer-translator J Devika

Reading Room Co., an online publication platform, has eight stories authored by the late K Saraswathy Amma, which were translated by writer-translator J Devika   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

 

Since the workload has increased, Reading Room now has an editorial team who are as enthusiastic as Shruthi about discovering new writers.

Plagiarism, the plague of online publications, does not worry her because “the onus rests on the writer. Before we opened up the space for uploads, we consulted a legal expert on intellectual property rights. So when an author uploads a piece, he/she has to agree to a list of terms and conditions before the piece gets uploaded,” says Shruthi.

Eventually, she hopes it becomes a profitable venture that helps earn for its authors and founders. “We have big plans. But we will have to wait and see. One thing is that there is no dearth of good writers,” she concludes.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 7:34:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/reading-room-co-is-a-new-online-publication-platform-for-writers-in-english/article32335247.ece

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