Saturday Features

I draw inspiration by observing, listening and reflecting on what I’ve seen and heard

Dec 15, 2018-

Shradha Ghale is a name familiar to non-fiction readers, as her journalism has appeared in many newspapers and periodicals in Nepal and India. But now Ghale has transitioned smoothly into fiction, with her first novel, The Wayward Daughter, published just recently to rave reviews. Ghale is known for her expansive writing style, representing marginalised voices in relation to prevalent social and power structures through her writings. Her novel also received plaudits for her simple yet powerful portrayal of a middle-class Janajati household struggling to navigate Kathmandu’s socio-political realities. Apart from writing, Ghale has also worked with various national and international organisations on issues related to social inclusion, environment and natural resources, and disaster response. In this interview with the Post, Ghale shares her favourite reads and the inspirations behind her writings. Excerpts:

How did you first come to love books?

I didn’t grow up in a house filled with books. I began to appreciate books only in my late teens, after I joined the AWON library in Kupondole and discovered books outside the school curriculum.

What was the last book you read and did you like it?

The last book I read was Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States by James Scott. Yes, I liked the book. It  expanded my understanding of the rise of states and encouraged me to continue questioning the dominant narrative of progress and development.

What are the five books you’ve read that you would recommend as must-reads?

There are many books I’m grateful to have read. Five that come to mind, in no order are Thatched Huts & Stucco Palaces by Mahesh Chandra Regmi; Parijat’s memoirs; Annihilation of Caste by BR Ambedkar; This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate by Naomi Klein; and all writings of Arundhati Roy.

What books are currently on your wishlist?

I can’t think of any at the moment. I have yet to get through my current reading list!

Why do you think reading and writing is important?

I think reading is more important than writing for obvious reasons—to better understand the world and to get motivated to try to change it. Though I admit the second reason doesn’t apply to me.

What book has influenced you the most and why?

I’ve been influenced by so many books it might be unfair to single one out. The books listed above are among them.

How do you draw inspiration for writing?

I mostly draw inspiration by observing, listening and reflecting on what I’ve seen and heard.

Do you have any advice for young readers?

I would repeat the advice that the brilliant Doris Lessing once gave: “There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag—and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement.”

Published: 15-12-2018 10:19

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