Crime Writer’s Association of South Asia launched at lit fest

Jaipur, Jan 20: In a bid to encourage crime writing in India for mediums like books, films and television, the Crime Writer’s Association of South Asia was launched at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) here Monday.

This association was formed by festival co-founder Namita Gokhale and author Kishwar Desai, who collectively feel there is an “explosion” of crime writing in the country.

“Wave of crime in literature is better than having crime wave in the country,” said Gokhale, who added that this genre reflects social issues and captures this essence in the narrative.

“There is an explosion of crime writing in the country and we hope to bring the publishers and writers of South Asia together on this platform,” said Desai, adding that a basic website will be launched soon.

This forum is open to all people who want to write on crime as the association is planning to launch a short story writing competition by the end of this week and memberships are open for everyone.

“We want to promote crime writing in various mediums like television, cinema and books,” said Desai.

She said a two-day crime writers’ festival will be organised in the capital in September.

“The crime festival will be over the weekend and we plan to have the best of writers from our country and some from Britain and Norway,” said Desai.

Also present at the conference was Norwegian crime fiction writer John Lier Horst who said the noir crime genre has had a deep impact on reading in Norway.

“These (crime) writers are concerned writers and not just there to entertain. They function as mirrors of society keeping readers informed about social evils,” said Horst.

“Hope this impact is seen in Indian crime writing with the formation of this association,” he added.

Seconding him was Somnath Batabyal, journalist-turned-writer, who used to cover crime and criminality.

Batabyal hoped this platform will help writers to go beyond stereotypical writing.

“We need better crime writing skills and hope this platform where all creative minds are coming together will be able to learn and share ideas to improve our imagination and writings,” he said.

According to Margit Walso, director of Norwegian Literature Abroad (NORLA), crime genre is pretty popular in Scandinavian countries.

“These writings are quite refreshing and come with a social message though they always have a cold, dark winter night setting,” she said.

“Scandinavian crime has reached the world and it is settled in local surroundings, local places which are partially populated and have dark settings,” she added, hoping this association allows crime writers in India to bring forth social issues with interesting stories.