- 09 Feb - 15 Feb, 2019
Creative writing can change someone's world - Sweta Vikram
- 17 Mar - 23 Mar, 2018
Sweta Srivastava Vikram, featured by Asian Fusion as ‘one of the most influential Asians of our time,’ is a best-selling author of 12 books, five-times Pushcart Prize nominee, mindfulness writing coach, social issues advocate, and a certified yoga and Ayurveda counsellor who helps people lead creative, productive, and healthier lives. Louisiana Catch (Modern History Press 2018) is her debut US novel and is featured on UK's list of ‘Books to Read in 2018,’ even before its release.
With numerous accolades, awards and good work to her credit, Sweta does not let fame go to her head and this interview is the proof of the very fact. MAG recently caught up with this award-winning author for an online tete-a-tete, a conversation that ended up having a lasting impression. Read on to find out more…
Born in India, Sweta spent her formative years between the Indian Himalayas, North Africa, and the United States collecting and sharing stories. “I grew up around words. My father is a poet by night and engineer by day. My brother wrote plays when he was in high school. My dad’s sister was also a poet, and all I have left of hers is a journal of poems inscribed in Hindi,” says the award-winning writer.
“My first piece of writing was a poem I wrote for my father. I still remember like it was yesterday – I wrote it in a blue diary that I carried with me in my school bag,” reminisces Sweta, adding, “But it wasn’t until I moved to a boarding school in the Himalayas did I officially start to call myself a writer.”
Sweta, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, amongst other publications, takes pride in writing about women, multiculturalism, wellness, and identity and strongly believes that a female writer can bring a change in the thinking patterns of an average woman.
“A woman writer can raise awareness, create a safe community, unite others, empower other women, break shackles of bigotry and ignorance, and offer opinions amongst other things. A small gesture through creative writing can change someone's world for the better,” opines the Columbia University grad.
Apart from writing, Sweta also teaches yoga to female survivors of rape and domestic violence.
“I started NimmiLife (named after my mother) to help other writers and professionals attain their goals and tell their stories by elevating their wellness, which impacts their productivity. Yoga and Ayurveda helped me a lot, and I wanted to share the benefits with others,” Sweta shares the details about her connection with yoga.
Living in New York City with her husband, she writes to make sense of the world around her. “While I consciously don’t deliberate my writing style per say, but I am friends with verbosity. I like storytelling and weaving anecdotes together,” the writer shares, and says she admires different writers for different reasons.
Sweta’s upcoming book, Louisiana Catch, is already on UK's The Asian Writer’s list of ‘Books to Read in 2018’ and will hit the shelves next month. The book is about “a 33-year-old sexual abuse survivor from New Delhi who must summon the courage to run a feminist conference in New Orleans, trust a man she meets over the Internet, and unravel the mystery of an online predator in order to find her power,” says Sweta while divulging the plot of her upcoming novel.
Being a successful woman, leading an ideal family life herself, what does Sweta think about women, especially successful ones, who believe that the tag of a husband is not necessary to lead a normal life?
“I don’t think there is one correct answer here, and I really don’t believe in generalisations. People have their own reasons for their choices and opinions. But for me, a stable personal life, a nurturing home, and healthy relationships with friends and family is key to creativity, it might not be the same for others,” opines the female figure of stength, whose favourite fictional character is “Elizabeth Bennet, the protagonist from the 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen. Her grace, sharp wit, intelligence, and complex character make her so timelessly relatable as well as endearing.”
Sweta believes that there is nothing that can beat originality and creativity, as she advise to “Stop following what others are doing and what’s selling. Write the story truest to you because there is no end to this madness of trends and ‘hot topics’.”
To Sweta, connecting with humans through one’s own work is more important. “Make a connection with people. If your work can touch one person, that’s good work right there. If you can impact one life, one person’s thinking, that is what matters the most.”
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