31 Jul 2016

Hung up over literary awards

Although I have seen many works lauded and such, I’m not inspired as to go out and buy them simply because of their premise. The matter with literary awards is such that they expect writers to be a certain sort of people and a certain style or content.  I am totally done with coming to terms with identity, having to rely on my multi-cultural ethnic origins and squeezing an imagined story of my forefathers for a tale. In fact, if we continue lauding tales of coming to grips with identity based on ethnicity, culture, religion and such, (the sort that I consider depressing literature and all too often adopted as part of text for literary studies) we overlook the greater picture that in seeking a common ground for humanity and an identity for oneself, the more we remove the things that divide us, the more in common we have.

There are only a few books that were best sellers of recent past that truly resonate with me because of their universal values. Why not laud a well-written work of humour or action without particularly placing any emphasis on any particular region, creed, ethnic origin?

I'm hung up over literary awards and parading of authors who wear their ethnic origins as a selling point. 

I do not wake up and start thinking what a person of my birthplace, ethnicity or cultural surroundings should do. I think of what a decent being with feelings and a brain ought to do. Most of my major decisions made are bereft of considerations regarding ethnicity, religion, cultural context and gender bias. They only come in when the matter involves them.

I write because I have yet to see such a book written. Regardless if whether I get a prize or not, whether I sell many copies or not. If literary glory means having to write a depressing story and squeeze every ounce out of my exotic origins and imagined stories of my forefathers, I’ll pass up that prize and that glory. I can only be true to myself, not what a panel of judges expect me to be.