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While I have always had a great interest in literature, it was only a few years ago that I took the plunge into writing and ventured into that dreaded territory called literary fiction. I have completed a novel called Twice Written to be launched in October 2011. The experience of writing Twice Written has been wonderful -- it has given me a lot more than I could have imagined. It has spurred me on to commence work on my second novel, Ajita.

But the world of literature has been with me for longer. Books have always been a source of immense pleasure for me. Even as a child I read every book I could lay my hands on and given that I did not have access to so many books as I would have wanted, I had to read some of the ones I liked over and over again. An English rendering of the Mahabharata was my constant companion and I knew every detail of each story it had to tell me. There was a phase in my late teens when I turned away from fiction to academic reading but that phase lasted only a few years and I returned with glee to the books that had always given me so much. It is so difficult to make a list of the books that mattered, of the writers who left a deep impression but if I were to name just three of the most important influences I would name Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino and Milan Kundera but even as I do this I know I am leaving out several other names. But these three writers are in the manner of distant images which you can admire even though you do not see all the details.

I am also very fond of poetry and grew up on a stock diet of English poets with T.S. Eliot being one of my favourites. But in the last ten years or so, I have read Fernando Pessoa with much interest and have grown to like him, I mean all of them-- all those poets who reside in him (!), immensely.

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Ajita