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

Catch a glimpse of the reading ‘rooms’ of Arvind Subramanian, Pradip Krishen, KR Meera, and more.

3 min read

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.

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.

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

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