Each successive year, Karachi Literature brings together literary figures, authors, publishers, journalists, artists, columnists, poets etc. under one roof, looking beyond national and cultural boundaries. Last year, Nandita Das, the Indian film actor and director marked presence at the Karachi Literature Festival and Laxmi Tripathi, Transgender Rights Activist’s attendance at the premises made waves. But people have been complaining about the dearth of international authors time and again.
This year, on the 8th edition of KLF, some inspiration that I got was from Piyush Jha, a Crime Fiction writer who has quite a few books published under his name. Well known for his critically acclaimed best sellers Raakshas and Mumbaistan, I got all pumped up knowing he was going to bless Karachi with his presence. A panelist for the discussion ‘Murder, They Wrote’, he said some things, making me consider crime writing myself.
I’ve always been into crime fiction. Sherlock Holmes has been an all-time favorite and Sherlock, the TV series featuring Benedict Cumberbatch has caught my attention. Recently I’ve fallen in love with Shameless (US version), and all this fascination is for the classic amalgamation of crime fiction and drama. After this session at Karachi Literature Festival, I’m exploring crime fiction as my goodreads.
A few pointers that Piyush and other panelists Omar Shahid and SS Mousoof touched about Crime Fiction, answering important questions are critical for any emerging writer in the genre. They said female have largely been ignored as protagonists in crime scenes when they can play pivotal roles in setting up the stage. Part of the reason why these writers didn’t have female leads was because they themselves wouldn’t have been able to do justice to the character as men. As offensive as it sounded at the moment, I believe females have a penchant for drama and scheming and I might want to revolve my first criminal story around a strong female character.
While answering whether crime writers have any social responsibility, the authors said portraying the complexities of mental illness is challenging. Trying to keep a balance is the key in crime fiction, so the reader empathizes with the character but does not necessarily like him/her. So, Social Responsibility is something that a journalist might want to keep into consideration but authors have no such responsibility. Fiction is fiction after all, and has no creative or moral boundaries.
I have developed a huge fascination for this genre, as evident. You might see a book or two by me in Crime Fiction in the near future. Amen to that! :D