“We live and love on a fissure”: an Interview with author Jerry Pinto
Jerry Pinto is one of India’s most prominent names in literature; equally appropriated and applauded by staunch critics and connoisseurs. Apart from being an author, he has worked as a journalist and as a faculty member in his native city of Mumbai. Apart from his fiction, non-fiction, poems and memoir, he has written books for children and has put together some very well-received anthologies. Jerry Pinto’s works have won him a plethora of accolades. His first novel, Em and the Big Hoom (2012) was awarded India’s highest honour from the Academy of Letters, the Sahitya Akademi, for a novel in English; the Windham-Campbell Prize supervised by the Beinecke Library, Yale, USA; the Hindu ‘Lit for Life’ Award, and the Crossword Award for fiction. Helen: the Life and Times of a Bollywood H-Bomb (2006) won the National Award for the Best Book on Cinema. His translations from Marathi of Mallika Amar Sheikh’s autobiography I Want to Destroy Myself was shortlisted for the Crossword Award for Fiction. Furthermore, his graphic novel in collaboration with Garima Gupta was shortlisted for the Crossword Award for Children’s Fiction. His translation of the Dalit writer Baburao Bagul’s When I Hid My Caste won the Fiction Prize at the Bangalore Literary Festival in 2018 and his novel Murder in Mahim (2017) won the Valley of Words Prize, and was shortlisted for the Crossword Award for Fiction and the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image Prize.
But there was a time when he feared rejection. In this interview Jerry Pinto touches on various issues, revealing the story of how he became a writer, a career option which wasn’t then recognised as a very reliable job prospect in India. He also discusses his social engagements and his connection with the city of his birth, Mumbai.
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