This week we bring to you the very endearing and sassy Shweta Sharan, founding editor of The Affair Magazine. The Affair brings the short story alive in Bangalore and sets it free to the world. Three questions for Shweta by Team Leela.
1.What can the short story do for the culture of an expanding city?
The short story can be taken to people in different ways. You can plant it in the city and watch it take root and do interesting things. We plan to do this in simple ways that require very little investment of money: fuss-free little booklets of the stories we publish will be available in different parts of the city - cafes, the metro, theaters, schools and colleges.
2. Literary magazines make no money. It's a ton of work going through submissions piles and hunting for prose with craft, vision, humour and vast imaginations.What makes you do it? Why not sit back and just read good fiction?
It is exciting to discover new voices. It has its moments of frustrations but it is also the closest you could get to having the power to root and push for the kind of fiction that you want to dominate the market, instead of what actually does. So instead of buying a book because a popular publisher has published it, you motivate people to look for different cues -- language, the narrative arc, a different genre, the small indie bookstores, blogs, publishers, writing and reading communities that support the book, how different it is to anything else you have read before, how it breaks down and rebuilds your consciousness, how it brings so many ideas into your head.
3. What's something you didn't expect in your experience of being an editor and founder of The Affair?
The kindness of friends and strangers, especially famous writers, new writers and other people in the field, has really helped me soldier on despite the many little problems. A writer like George Saunders, who is the first winner of the Folio Prize and the next literary sensation, agreed to be interviewed by us, a small magazine in a city that is miles away from where he lives and teaches. Another little revelation has been the power of collaboration and communities. I think there are so many possibilities there.
Thanks Shweta for giving serious love to the short story and making our city that much more cooler and vibrant!
Check out The Affair here:
Web site: www.theaffair.in