"A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. " ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Writers, write! Or something like that.

I am a writer. Agreed. But I want something more - I want publication - is that wrong? Given, I want it eventually, on my own terms and when I believe my work and I are ready for the commitment. Of course, writing in itself is a commitment.

But that's not the point. Of course.

To this end, I've tried to do my research. There are options here, but not many - there's your traditional Oxford University Press, who until recently had stopped their liaison with local authors - and then there's Al-Hamra, which also runs it's own literary journal but circulation and printing is just alright. I've bought a few books Al-Hamra's reprinted and they're passable - the grammar freak in me shudders and dies every time. But that's beside the point.

So what else is there? The publication industry in itself is a relatively impossible one to break into in any country, but in Pakistan it seems a conglomerate of red tape. That Pakistani authors are published by non-locally affiliated publishing houses (Fabier, Bloomsbury, Penguin India etc) says they are publishable. So why doesn't anyone pick them up locally? That, my friends, is the world's biggest mystery.

We've got some very talented writers who aren't branded or even publicized under the local banner. We do have playwrights associated with well known theater houses who write about socially tabooed subjects, but that's not the same thing. There's nothing in the mainstream, and it's not for the lack of talent.

It's extremely frustrating.

Why should local artists look outside the borders of their country to their neighbors, or cross the Atlantic in search for better opportunities? Why can't there be a market for writers within our own? So yeah, DesiWritersLounge.net might seem a little ambitious in its goal for creating literary awareness and encouraging literary voices to be heard. It's a slow process, absolutely but it needs to be done.

There's been another update - our main section forums split into your traditional poetry, prose and non-fiction - have now branched into more specific sections. Non-fiction was more like creative rambling - well-written to be sure - but not groundbreaking or anything. So we've renamed one of our e-zine sections to The Rambler and taken the existing section The Abstract Thinker and given it a complete face lift, encouraging writers to write political rhetoric, creative commentaries or any other journalistic venture, where thinking outside the box and writing to set the world on fire (to spark a "hmm...s/he's got a point") are the definition. I'm hopeful. Our members seem to have responded well to the playwriting ordeal.

So there is a market for local writers - sure, it's a small publication and we're picky with who we choose to let in - but we're a committed band of people. And chances are, our policies although in core values remain the same; will shift to incorporate a set of differently evolving, and opinionated set of writers. We want quality. That's all we're promoting.

Take a look, and if you like what you see then hey! Join.

You've got nothing to lose.


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