Pragya Bhagat is a spoken word poet and author based in Uttarakhand. She is author of a poetry collection, More Than a Memory, which has been called “a melodious autobiography. “Yarn: An Interwoven Memoir” is her second book.
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Yarn: An Interwoven Memoir
“Naniji, tell me your story.”
What begins as a young woman’s question to her grandmother unexpectedly turns into a family saga. Compiled through family albums, home videos, journal entries, and interviews, Yarn follows the life of Pragya Bhagat’s grandmother, Shyama. Poignant and vulnerable, it is the extraordinary tale of an ordinary Indian family, its joys and fears, its silences and secrets.
We will talk with Pragya about her new book ‘Yarn: An Interwoven Memoir’ and other aspects of an author’s life.
What is the story behind your book. Where did you get your idea for the book?
Since I was a child, I was fascinated by my grandmother, I called her Naniji. In a world run by men, she was a woman who called the shots. All the memoirs I read were of important people, and in my world, Naniji was an important person. So I decided to tell her story, my family’s story.
Challenges you faced while writing this book and in your life as an author?
So many, but there’s one challenge I faced both in writing Yarn and in my writing in general. As a memoirist, I write personal stories, and I struggle with publicizing the personal. At the same time, doing so helps sort out the muddle in my head, it makes me feel less alone.
What is your life mantra?
Change is the only constant.
What is your writing process like?
Create something everyday. Then edit the shit out of it.
Anything special about your book that you want to share?
Yarn is the story of an ordinary Indian family. It carries beauty and ugliness and challenges and uncertainty and bittersweet memories.
According to you, what are the three qualities an author must have to achieve success?
When I achieve success, I’ll let you know. Until then, all I can do is write.
What are your plans for next book?
I’m in the process of creating something, but I’m yet to figure out what it will become.
What advice do you have for young writers?
Whether you do it part-time or full time or as a hobby, make sure writing is a habit in your life. Also, carry a notebook.
Share a quote or line that has been your inspiration.
“Perhaps in this world, it’s the good who do all the harm…Perhaps the best of us are sinners and the worst of us are saints.” – Graham Greene