Eminent author and co-founder of Jaipur Literary Festival (JLF), Namita Gokhale, said she was “happy, but not elated” that American song writer and singer Bob Dylan was awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature.
She said, “John Lennon comes first.”
“I am happy that Bob Dylan has got it because it recognises the role of lyrics and popular culture. I always feel that in music and poetry the barriers are down when they write. And Bob Dylan did the same thing.
“Having said that, I would have been delighted if it was posthumous and John Lennon had got it. To me, Lennon was a great poet,” Gokhale said, during the first public reading of her new book “Things to Leave Behind” at Sahitya Akademi’s Kathasandhi programme last evening.
Notwithstanding others who are rather “perturbed or upset” with the Nobel committee for recognising Dylan for Literature, she said she understood peoples’ criticism because they have “more traditional interpretation” of things.
“To be frank, I have problem with prizes. I don’t believe with the exact and immediate ennoblement that comes with the prize. What I am happy about is that: popular culture is taking on the joys and responsibility of literature,” she said.
Talking about JLF’s next edition, which is scheduled to begin on January 19, 2017, the writer said it was difficult to comprehend the legacy of this giant of a literature festival.
“Hundreds of thousand of people have come to JLF in the last 10 years. As for the impact, I think these are intangible things, may be someone writing a novel on this after 15-20 years will be able to tell better.
“Spoken or written words leave an echo behind and find new resonance. JLF is a very sacred spot. It’s great that many more festivals have come around, but they are doing good because they are interpreting literary experience in their own way,” the author said.
The penwoman who has 14 books to her credit said that it was the words of one of her editors that tempted her to write her latest book, that has stories from her native place, Kumaon.
“I distinctly remember the day when an editor called me and said that you are growing old, and time has come for you to write your big book. He also said that your big book should be rooted in Kumaon,” the writer, who is currently working on a children’s book, also set on the same landscape, said.