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Literary Heroines Who Have Influenced Bangalore Writers

To celebrate  2014 International Women’s Day, The Hindu, asked women writers from Bangalore who their literary inspirations were. It was interesting to see that out of the six writers not a SINGLE writer mentions a heroine of South Asian origin while only two writers mention  colored heroines, Shikha Malaviya credits Janie from Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God  and Anita Nair credits O’Lan from Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth. Instead we have the usual influences: Emma Bovary, many Jane Austen characters, Scarlett O’ Hara. This of course implies that the reading material many of us, including myself, were exposed to while growing up was limited to British and American writers, and  that, for those of us who were most comfortable reading in English there were, at the time, few South Asian novels/stories either translated into English or written in English. Times have, of course, thankfully changed!! And hopefully newer writers will state not only the Western staples but also influences from within their own cultures.

Writers interviewed: Anita Nair, Shikha Malaviya, Andaleeb Wajeed, Anjum Hassan, Shashi Deshpande, Shinie Antony.

Hermione Granger to Annabeth Chase, Katnis Everdeen and Daenerys Targaryen may be the stars in today’s bestsellers, but names like Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Darcy ( Pride and Prejudice ) or Emma , Scarlett O’Hara ( Gone With The Wind ) or Emma Bovary ( Madame Bovary ) have endured over the years for their strength of character, whether as heroines or anti-heroines. Literature has always brought forth admirable women and, some for their beauty, some for their wit, some for their strength, some for the lessons they taught through their mistakes. But most of all, they are remembered for being who they were, and their writers, become as much heroes of their stories, remaining in the hearts of their readers.

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