"The biggest achievement is yet to come" - Lopamudra Banerjee



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lopamudra Banerjee is an author, poet, editor and translator, currently based in Dallas, Texas, but originally from India. She is the author and editor of eight published books in Amazon and Goodreads. Her memoir 'Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant's Wayward Journey' and her debut poetry collection 'Let The Night Sing’ have received honorary mentions in The Los Angeles Book Festival and New England Book Festival 2017 respectively. Her manuscript of Thwarted Escape has been First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014 hosted by Chanticleer Reviews and Media, USA.

Very recently she has been a recipient of the prestigious Woman Achiever award instituted by International Women's Short Film Festival (IWSSF 2018) and Green Tara Initiative, India. She also received The International Reuel Prize for Poetry in 2017 and The International Reuel Prize for Translation in 2016 (for The Broken Home, her English translation of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore's novella), both instituted by The Significant League, an esteemed literary group. The Broken Home and Other Stories, her translation of two novellas and six short stories of Tagore has received much critical acclaim since its release in 2017. Her latest book is 'Woman And Her Muse: Poetry and Memoir', which has been launched recently at Intercultural Poetry And Performance Library, ICCR, Kolkata, and featured in The Sunday Statesman, Setu, an international bilingual journal from Pittsburgh, USA and Get Bengal, among other places. She has also been a featured poet at Dark Moon Poetry, Dallas and has been invited to Houston PoetryFest as a bilingual writer/artist.

INTERVIEW

Q. Characterize yourself in one word? Wordsmith/Storyteller

Q. Please describe what the story/book is about in one sentence.

My recently released book ‘Woman And Her Muse’ published by Authorspress is a combination of poetry and memoir based on art, photography, travel and cinema, and where my inspiration has been Kolkata, the city of my love, Durga, the elemental feminine energy, feminism and social issues and last but not the least, Indian cinema, as I have discovered it.


Q. Briefly, what led up to this book? What were you writing (and getting published, if applicable) before breaking out with this book?

Before this book came into being, I have published a memoir/autobiographical narrative ‘Thwarted Escape’, a poetry collection and two books of literary translation. While in Thwarted Escape, I had essayed my inward journey as an immigrant woman from Kolkata in the US, since then I had been thinking about writing a collection of prose and poetry which would serve as a cumulative tribute to the city in which I have grown and evolved from a girl to a woman, its art, literature, cinema, among other things. Also, my background in English literature provided me the stimulus to pay my tribute to Henrik Ibsen’s ‘Doll House’, Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, Maya Angelou and her rising from oppression. So in a word, the birth of ‘Woman And Her Muse’ came from an insatiable urge of mine to write about the kaleidoscope of literature and art that I grew up on.

Q. What has been your biggest achievement?

The biggest achievement is yet to come, but there have been several milestones in my writing career. The first one came when ‘Thwarted Escape’, my memoir was a recipient of the Journey Awards 2015, hosted by Chanticleer Reviews & Media, USA, then the International Reuel Prize for translation for the English version of Tagore’s ‘Nastanirh’ (‘The Broken Home’,2016) and the International Reuel Prize for poetry (2017) gave me the much-needed recognition in an ever-expanding writing circle, both physically and virtually. This year I have received Woman Achiever Award at International Women’s Short Film Festival in Nandan, Kolkata, hosted by Green Tara Foundation, and I consider it as a blessing in my career as a poet/writer and spoken words artist.

Q. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in?

I have only one answer for this question, believing in my own voice since the initial days, and trying to chisel it as a more powerful voice with every poem, every story of mine, no matter what the obstacles be in my way. The publishing world, or any creative world for that matter, is extremely cut-throat and competitive, so once you lose your faith in yourself, how would you make others believe in you or your work?


Q. Did you have a platform in place? On this topic, what are you doing to build a platform and gain readership?

When I started out, I didn’t have access to many platforms, other than Writerscafe.org and Facebook, where I made many writer/artist friends over the years.

But in due course of time, my Amazon author central page, Goodreads page and my own website are already there. In my own website, I share snippets from my published books and my other unpublished poetry and essays, memoir and short stories from time to time. ‘Woman And Her Muse’ has been launched in Intercultural Poetry and Performance Library, ICCR Kolkata, which is a very famous and prestigious venue and the media coverage has been good. Besides, I have created a Facebook page for the book where I share updates about the book regularly. I also perform poetry and storytelling in various performing arts circles in USA and also India, so I guess I am on the right track regarding gaining readership.

Q. Favorite novel?

Many to list in a single interview. But in English, recently I have been stunned by the depth of narration of Draupadi’s life and her travails in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s ‘Palace of Illusions’, and went ahead and wrote a tribute poem ‘Panchali’ based on it, which is a part of my book ‘Woman And Her Muse’. In Bengali literature, any novel by Ashapoorna Debi is my soul-food, I consider her my Goddess.

Q. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

Two things:

(1) I am fascinated by butter, so much that I rummage it from the fridge during unearthly hours still

(2) I dream of having a date with the king of pop, Michael Jackson, even after 9 years of his sudden tragic demise! You know, I had tried to imitate some steps from his signature dance ‘Moonwalk’, without any success…he is invincible!

Q. Future of SALISMANIA.com through your eyes?

Platforms like Salis Mania are instrumental for promoting the works of new authors and poets who might or might not have enjoyed the attention of the mainstream media. Online portals like yours are essential as new age media which will act as a bridge of connection between the authors and readers. While the author interviews will spark enough curiosity about the authors, the book reviews will give the books the much-needed visibility in the social media and otherwise.

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