On the second day of Dhaka Lit Fest 2017 British Novelist Esther Freud spoke with Sharbari Ahmed in a session titled 'Hideous Kinky'. Held at the main stage Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad Auditorium. The session, named after her autobiographical debut Novel, had the writer talking about her books, life and writing. Right after Esther Freud came out of the session Weekend Tribune caught up with her for a quick chat. Here is that transcript for our readers:
Have you been to different panels at DLF today and yesterday?
I saw some panels yesterday. I saw the opening ceremony and wonderful dramas. I saw Adonis speaking and also various international writers. Then today I did a tour of the old city. I wanted to make sure I saw some of Dhaka.
What was it like seeing the old Dhaka?
Fascinating. I loved that. I'm glad I did it.
Was there any panel you enjoyed particularly or was insightful for you?
It's interesting as a writer, because you don't actually hear writers talking that often. When writers meet they don't talk about writing. So, it was nice to hear people like Lawrence Osborne, to hear about his process of writing. And I'm hoping to go see Ben Okri, who is talking now. So, as soon as I finish this interview I'll go.
What in your opinion are the transcending qualities in a piece of writing that make people relate regardless of language or boundary?
I think it's very personal. Everyone has a book that they love I'm sure they have experienced that somebody else doesn't enjoy that book. For me, I have certain books that transcend the usual books because they speak to me so directly. But that's because I make a personal connection with that book. And that's what's interesting about being a writer is that, you know, someone doesn't like your book it's ok.
What is your advise to someone who lost touch with reading? Lot of people say that they used to read a lot but now they just YouTube?
Well, I'd say go to a quiet place and rebuild your connection with books. There is certain kind of peace and tranquility you get from reading. It's a wonderful thing.
British novelist Esther Freud was recently in Dhaka attending Dhaka Lit Fest 2017. Born in 1963, Freud was named as one of the Best of Young Novelists under 40 by leading literary magazine Granta after the publication of her second novel Peerless Flats (1993). She has written eight novels. Her first book, a semi-autobiographical novel, Hideous Kinky (1992) was made into a film in 1998, starring Kate Winslet. Her writings have been admired for “her absorbing stories of family relationships, children and lovers, as well as for the wealth of sensuous details that she brings to the storytelling.” With the famous lineage of the Freud family (she is the great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud), her writings unsurprisingly contain “the psychological insights that one might expect from a member of the distinguished Freud dynasty” (Dr Jules Smith, 2013).