In Photos: Five Indian Writers Take Us Into Their Reading Spaces
‘Reading Spaces’, a photo series by Saswata Bhattacharya, takes for its subjects the 2019 jury of the JCB Prize for Literature.
‘Reading Spaces’, a photo series by Saswata Bhattacharya, takes for its subjects the 2019 jury of the JCB Prize for Literature.(Photo Courtesy: The JCB Prize for Literature)

In Photos: Five Indian Writers Take Us Into Their Reading Spaces

Nine decades ago, Virginia Woolf wrote that women need a room of their own if they are to write fiction. A writer’s ‘room’, however, is no longer limited to four plastered walls; it has expanded and contracted.

While some find comfort in writing outdoors, others prefer the meditative indoors or perhaps a trusted desk or an ‘office’. There are also those for whom this ‘room’ is simply a laptop and a pair of noise-cancelling headphones.

Indian filmmaker and environmentalist, Pradip Krishen in his study. Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, 2019.
Indian filmmaker and environmentalist, Pradip Krishen in his study. Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: The JCB Prize for Literature)

What hasn’t changed, though, is the sense of intrigue attached to a writer’s writing environment — the relationship between writing environment and genius is a topic of much debate. There are also those who proclaim the author dead or think that a work of art escapes the meanings ascribed to it by the author, for once it’s ‘out there’, it may be given many meanings by readers.

The complicated but unmistakable relation between space, habits, reading, and writing is captured by ‘Reading Spaces’, a photo series by Saswata Bhattacharya that takes for its subjects the 2019 jury of the JCB Prize for Literature. The prize, which is currently in its second edition, celebrates distinguished works of fiction by Indian authors.

Shot in Delhi, Shillong, and Udupi, these stunning images give you a glimpse of the reading and writing environments of writers Arvind Subramanian, Pradip Krishen, Anjum Hasan, KR Meera, and Parvati Sharma.
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Indian economist and the former Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India, Arvind Subramanian reading in a cafe. Khan Market, New Delhi, 2019.
Indian economist and the former Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India, Arvind Subramanian reading in a cafe. Khan Market, New Delhi, 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: The JCB Prize for Literature)
 Arvind Subramanian reading on his commute. New Delhi, 2019.
Arvind Subramanian reading on his commute. New Delhi, 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: The JCB Prize for Literature)
Novelist and poet Anjum Hasan in the Shillong Public Library. Shillong, 2019.
Novelist and poet Anjum Hasan in the Shillong Public Library. Shillong, 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: The JCB Prize for Literature)
 Anjum Hasan in the Shillong Public Library. Shillong, 2019.
Anjum Hasan in the Shillong Public Library. Shillong, 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: The JCB Prize for Literature)
Pradip Krishen in his study. Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, 2019
Pradip Krishen in his study. Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, 2019
(Photo Courtesy: The JCB Prize for Literature)
Indian writer KR Meera, who writes in Malayalam, in her apartment. Udupi, Karnataka, 2019.
Indian writer KR Meera, who writes in Malayalam, in her apartment. Udupi, Karnataka, 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: The JCB Prize for Literature)
 KR Meera in her apartment. Udupi, Karnataka, 2019.
KR Meera in her apartment. Udupi, Karnataka, 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: The JCB Prize for Literature)
Author Parvati Sharma in her home. New Friends Colony, New Delhi, 2019.
Author Parvati Sharma in her home. New Friends Colony, New Delhi, 2019.
(Photo Courtesy: The JCB Prize for Literature)
Parvati Sharma in her home. New Friends Colony, New Delhi, 2019
Parvati Sharma in her home. New Friends Colony, New Delhi, 2019
(Photo Courtesy: The JCB Prize for Literature)

The JCB Prize for Literature longlist of ten titles will be announced on 4 September 2019. View the entire series at thejcbprize.org.

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