Making Art


So is anybody else excited about what Neil Gaiman is up to? Just the other day, he send out questions on twitter, 12 to be exact, to get inspiration for stories. More precisely, Gaiman is creating a Calendar of Tales, 12 stories inspired by tweets from people around the world and illustrated by people around the world.

If this isn’t a great idea, I don’t know what is!

I follow Gaiman on Twitter, so I read a lot of these tweets as they came in. Gaiman was impressed with what people shared and so was I. It was interesting to see

Gaiman joined up with Blackberry to make this happen. And now, the stories are written and it’s time to send in illustrations to these stories. The work of 12 artists will be selected by Gaiman and have their work made into a website, an e-book as well as a real life book. So if you have any creative talent, go make art.

I’ve read the 12 stories and what I like the best about them, is the process. Gaiman has read all these tweets and then chosen one for each month. It’s so fascinating to see how the tweets he wrote, inspired people or tricked a memory and this in turn then inspired Gaiman to write his stories – and now, his stories are out in the world to inspire visual artists to create illustrations for these stories. It’s a wonderful project.

You can read more about the project here as well as watch a cool video featuring Gaiman.

And if you go here instead, you can download a pdf with all the 12 stories as well as see some of the artwork that has already been submitted.

And I now know not to ever play poker with ducks.

Book recommendations from Salman Rushdie

I want to start by saying that I love twitter!

Salman Rushdie posted a couple of tweets about how he has presented Anita Desai with the India Abroad Lifetime Achievement Award and that she is a great writer. He even called her The Indian Austen. Naturally, this kindled my interest so I asked him which books he would recommend. He recommended two: Clear Light of Day and In Custody.

Now I’ve just finished reading Rushdie’s novel Shalimar the Clown. How amazing is it then to be able to reach out to this great author and get some recommendations to another writer? How amazing is it that he actually answered?!

I’ve done a tiny bit of research afterwards to learn more about Anita Desai and the books recommended by Rushdie.

Born in 1937, Desai is an Indian novelist who has been shortlisted for the Booker three times. Apparently, she published her first story at the tender age of nine! She is the mother to the Booker winning novelist Kiran Desai (who won the Booker award 2006 for The Inheritance of Loss – she is apparently in a relationship with Orhan Pamuk, the famous Turkish novelist).

Desai writes both novels, children’s literature and short stories. Writing in English, Desai writes about Indian life, gender roles, the importance of families, how women in India rebel against the traditional patriarchal society and it’s norms and values, and the complexities of modern Indian life and culture.

Since Anita Desai published her first book in 1963, Cry, the Peacock, she has written at least 16 books, the last being The Artist of Disappearance (2011).

Clear Light of Day (1980)

Set in India’s Old Delhi, CLEAR LIGHT OF DAY is Anita Desai’s tender, warm, and compassionate novel about family scars, the ability to forgive and forget, and the trials and tribulations of familial love. At the novel’s heart are the moving relationships between the members of the Das family, who have grown apart from each other. Bimla is a dissatisfied but ambitious teacher at a women’s college who lives in her childhood home, where she cares for her mentally challenged brother, Baba. Tara is her younger, unambitious, estranged sister, married and with children of her own. Raja is their popular, brilliant, and successful brother. When Tara returns for a visit with Bimla and Baba, old memories and tensions resurface and blend into a domestic drama that is intensely beautiful and leads to profound self-understanding.

In Custody (1984)

Touching and wonderfully funny, In Custody is woven around the yearnings and calamities of a small town scholar in the north of India. An impoverished college lecturer, Deven, sees a way to escape from the meanness of his daily life when he is asked to interview India’s greatest Urdu poet, Nur – a project that can only end in disaster.

I also got an answer from Susan Hill (I am the King of the Castle and more) who also thinks Anita Desai is a wonderful writer.

So what this means is that I’ve discovered a new author to add to my wish list, an author I hope to get around to reading soon since her books sound very interesting!

Read more:

In conversation: Kiran Desai meets Anita Desai – The Guardian