‘I am hopeful that the market of Nepali literature will expand as new avenues have opened up’: An interview with writer Aswini Koirala

Today, my guest is writer Aswini Koirala from Nepal.

Aswini Koirala started his writing career while pursuing journalism at the Kantipur Publications.

His book ‘Uni’, written on women’s issues, made the highest-selling record in Nepal in 2013. Three years later, a collection of short stories ‘Zuckerberg Cafe’ also became the best-selling book.  A novel by Aswini Koirala ‘Premalaya’ received the prestigious ‘Shadananda Award’. His fourth book is ‘Parijat’, a Haiku collection.

Koirala also received the ‘National Talent Award’, ‘Eastern Distinguished Journalism Award’, and the ‘Search Journalism Award’. Currently, Koirala is busy writing his fifth book ‘He’ and the sixth book ‘House’. Writer Aswini Koirala is popular among youths in Nepal.

Aswini
Aswini Koirala

SS: How is the situation of writers and poets in the country?

You are probably indicating towards economic and social status [of writers and poets]. Writers and poets have enjoyed high social status from the very beginning. Nepali people take them as leaders of the society and champions of democracy. If you are talking about financial status, they don’t have a situation to make a living with royalty from books, except for a few exceptions. Reading culture hasn’t grown to the extent of supporting a writer towards strengthening their financial status.

AK: What about professional writing?

As most writers and poets cannot make a living solely with the royalty of purely literary books, they are forced to incline towards journalism and other genres of writing. It has its impacts on literary writing. I am a writer myself who has a good number of book sales, but I am forced to do journalism too [to make extra income].


 

Zuckerburg Cafe, Author: Aswini Koirala, Publisher: Book Hill, ISBN: 9789937895521
Premalaya, Author: Aswini Koirala, Publisher: Book Hill, ISBN: 9789937910187

Both of these publications are yet to publish in English. Currently, Zuckerburg Cafe is being translated into English.  



SS: What about the market of literature, the image of litterateurs and relation with publishers?

The market of literature is continuously growing after the country became a Republic. However, it has not grown at the speed that we expected. Some studies have shown that social media have had impacts on the literary market. Even then, it is found that the image of writers and poets is better than it was in the past. At the same time, professional publishing houses are also growing. They are helping writers to engage in fulltime writing. The overall situation of the literature is positive.

AK: What do you think will be helpful in expanding the Nepali literary market?

I am assured that the market for Nepali literature will grow. Nepali literature has started to be translated into English and other languages, and readers from other countries have started showing interest in Nepali literature. In the past, only hard-copies of the literature books could be sold in the market. But now, because of the Internet books can be sold through other media too. I am hopeful that the market of Nepali literature will expand as new avenues have opened up.

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Translation & Editorial support: Thakur Amgai

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Thakur Amgai is a writer and translator based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He hails from Gorkha, in western Nepal. Travelling and farming, in addition to writing, are his special passions.

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Written by Dr Sangita Swechcha

Dr Sangita Swechcha is a Communications Professional, Researcher, and a Fiction writer. She has over 15 years of experience in international communications and media relations. She is a Guest Editor for Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) and coordinating ‘Nepali Literature month’ – November 2019. She is a novelist and a writer who has written a novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’, a joint collection of stories ‘Asahamatika Pailaharu’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’ in Nepali.

Forthcoming in English translations in 2020 in e-book formats first: A novel ‘Pakhalieko Siundo’ and a collection of short stories ‘Gulafsangako Prem’, titled in English as ‘The Rose: An Unusual Love Story’ (looking for international publisher/s for publishing print versions of these books). Her twitter handle: SangyShrestha. Email: sangyshrestha@hotmail.com Connect on Facebook.

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