Deepa Agarwal: Author Interview

With around 50 books to her name, we thenotoriousreader team were curious to know more about Deepa Agarwal, her books and her exceptional way of storytelling.

Deepa Agarwal is an author, poet, and translator. She grew up in the pristine Kumaoni region set in foothills of the Himalayas. Deepa writes for both children and adults and has over fifty published books to her credit, including Puffin Classics: Chandrakanta and Listen, O King! Five-and-Twenty-Tales of Vikram and the Vetal. A frequent contributor to magazines and journals in India and abroad, she has edited, compiled and contributed to several anthologies. Here is a gist of our conversation with the author:

Can you tell us what inspired you to be a writer?

I have always been an avid reader. All the books I read inspired me to try and write my own stories one day.

 Please tell us more about your book.

The book I’m going to talk about is titled Blessed. It’s a fantasy for young adults on the theme of education for girls. It is set in the imaginary land of Kote and is the story of Selentra, the “Blessed Child”. She’s a girl born in a poor weaver’s family in a country where women are forbidden to read and write.

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Can you please shed some more light on the main characters of the book?

Selentra is the main character, a girl born with the ability to read and write without ever being taught. She is the Blessed Child, destined to save her country from destruction.
Tarash is a priest who first recognises her gift. He becomes her guide and mentor and helps her to understand the value of her powers.
Dumor is Selentra’s brother. He hates her because she ruined his “First Letter Ceremony” by grabbing the chalk to write before he could.
Apart from these, there are Selentra’s parents and two older sisters, Tarash’s superiors in the priestly order and Karz, an enemy agent who tries to kidnap Selentra to prevent her from fulfilling her destiny.

Why did you choose to write about this particular topic?

I chose this topic because it disturbs me that even today there are people who oppose education for girls.

 Will you try your hand at any other genre?

I have already written books in many different genres. For further information please check out my website www.deepaagarwal.net

When should we expect your next book? What will it be about?

Hopefully by the end of the year. It’s a collection of short stories for young adults about youngsters living in conflict prone areas.

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 What would you have been if not a writer?

A journalist.

Who is your favourite author?

I have many favourite authors, too many to list here!

How do you like to spend your free time?

Mostly reading, watching movies or listening to music.

 Is there any message you would like to give to your readers?

Read as many books as you can. Books offer a range of experience that no one can find in a lifetime. They not only help us to understand ourselves better, but provide insights into different ways of life. Thus we learn to develop empathy with people from other cultures and religions. Reading is especially important at this troubled time.

You can read more about her book here.

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