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UK Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah inaugurates Jaipur LitFest

In his keynote address on ‘writing as a form of resistance’, the Tanzania-born author said, “Writing is not just a form of resistance but it is also about resistance to distraction, neglect, and forgetfulness.”

SNS | jaipur |

Inaugurating the 16th session of Jaipur Literature Festival here, Nobel Laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah said here on Thursday that writing is not just a form of resistance but it is also about resistance to distraction, neglect, and forgetfulness.

In his keynote address on ‘writing as a form of resistance’, the Tanzania-born British author of 10 novels and Nobel Laureate in literature in 2021, said, “It is a good way of describing what writing is. It sounds noble, brave and taking on whatever – resisting. But resisting what? Or what is it that writing is resistant to? Or can there be resistance too?”

He further said, “It really is not about nobility or bravery alone. It is also about just working. And working at perhaps things which go on over time, rather than inspirations or sudden epiphanies. Probably resistance to forgetfulness, resistance to distraction and resistance to neglect were the three other forms of writing as a form of resistance.”

“It is resistance to neglect, to ensure that the things we care for, the things that are important, are not neglected, are not distorted by other narratives, are not pushed away by people who wish to inform us that the world is different from what all knowledge tells us”, he who has been professor of English at Cantt University, explained.

“Above all,” he said, “It is upholding those ideas and beliefs that we think are important and that we value. So if somebody says writing is resistance, those are the kind of things I think of, rather than necessarily fighting tyrants or necessarily standing on platforms and making powerful speeches to energise people.”

“Writing is a continuous process. This should be a part of your daily routine… While writing, don’t think that you have to become someone’s inspiration, or that you will get an award, or that you will ever be noticed. You just have to keep away from distractions. And that’s the truth… In the process you will find it easier to have thoughts and beliefs that are important and matter to you”, he suggested.

The inaugural session of the festival was opened with the melodious vocals of Sushma Soma, award winning singer of Carnatic music. Among others who addressed the inaugural address included Sanjoy K Roy, its producer & director, and two co-directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalyrymple.