10 Years of Wit and Wisdom at the Jaipur Literature Festival


Creative Tips

  1. Vikram Seth: ‘Write only what is absolutely essential to your soul. Life is short, so live by your own lights.’
  1. McCall Smith, who writes an average of four novels a year: ‘You can’t wait for inspiration. I have to write every day, including this morning between 3am and 5am in Delhi.’
  1. Ben Okri: ‘Poetry is about restoring you to the freshness the pristine nature of seeing, to bring you back to the original nature of consciousness.’
  1. Michael Ondaatje: ‘Too much research paints you into a corner. Begin with a real place and time and improvise off it.’
  1. Tom Stoppard jokes about hearing audience comments on his plays: ‘If this was on television, I’d turn this off’ and ‘I’m sorry I brought you to this play darling, it was a bad idea.’
  1. Pico Iyer wanted to move out of a linear mode of writing into ‘the more interesting domain where the unconscious resides, because anything that matters to us as humans is that which we cannot explain.’
  1. Mahasweta Devi: ‘I think a lot, mull over it, until it becomes crystal clear in my brain. I take notes, talk to people, find out and then I start. Wherever I go, I jot down things, catching words and sounds from the air, like catching butterflies in nets.’
  1. Prasoon Joshi: ‘The three essential tools of any writer are a dressing gown, a hot water bottle, and whiskey if you can get it. And inspiration.’
  1. Devdutt Pattanaik: ‘I was trained to be a doctor, and somewhere along the line, stories became the best medicine.’


Photo Credit: Chetan Singh Gill


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