Indian authors muse over what will influence post-pandemic literary works

Writer Perumal Murugan on how the pandemic has affected Tamil literature

Perumal Murugan   | Photo Credit: S R Raghunathan

I have attended so many literary meets, despite not stepping outdoors. I even inaugurated a literature festival from home. Over the past several years, I have been hosting Koodu literary meetings in the terrace of my home in Namakkal. It is attended by students, teachers, readers… we discuss books, have read-ups, and book introductions by guests. It is a monthly event, and so far, we have had around 60, with 70 people attending each of them. Over two months in lockdown, we have already had 28 Koodu meetings on Zoom. Three of my students facilitate them and we meet for 40 minutes every evening. Even those who did not come for any of our previous meetings are attending these.

I expect a lot of changes post the lockdown, most of them to do with how we meet people. Book release functions and literature festivals will be held online. Although I enjoy travelling to these functions, I end up spending a day or two on travel alone, which can get exhausting. So, having them online may be better in a lot of ways.

Literature is changing too. I am seeing an upsurge of online literary magazines in Tamil. Print will be back, but for now, even the chiefly print ones, such as Kalachuvadu, have gone completely online in the last two months. Tamil writers are putting out their stories on social media, and this trend has given rise to micro-stories that are 50 to 100 words long; these are much smaller than short-stories that can run up to 500 words.

A lot of changes are set to happen, and it is best we make up our minds accordingly.

Tamil writer Perumal Murugan’s latest book is Amma

(As told to Akila Kannadasan)

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 7:11:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/writer-perumal-murugan-on-how-the-pandemic-has-affected-tamil-literature/article31686080.ece

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