In an earlier post, I wrote about an anthology of short stories from Unisun Publications called ” Only Men Please.” The book was formally launched on March 31, at a very well-attended function at The British Library at Bangalore. Annie Chandy Mathew and Meenakshi Varma, the people behind Unisun did a splendid job in arranging the function. Jagdish Raja, Shreekumar Varma , Mathew Vincent Menacherry and Jyoti Makhija read out extracts from some of the 35 short stories that make up this book.
After the book launch, we had an interesting debate. The topic being: “Do Men and Women Differ From Each Other In Their Writing?” Three writers whose short stories appear in the anthology represented the male viewpoint. They were Bangalore’s eminent theater personality, Jagdish Raja, the well-known Chennai -based writer Shreekumar Varma and Mathew Vincent Menacherry, co-founder and director of the Anthea Group. The women’s viewpoint was presented by a strong team of talented writers: Jahnavi Barua, Shinie Antony and Malathi Ramachandran. The content of the debate was interesting. Eminent writers, Shashi Deshpande and K R Usha contributed to the debate too, as did many enthusiastic members of the audience.
In my view, the choice of topics and the writing style, to some extent does differ but the hallmark of a great writer is being able to empathize and write from all points of view. If a male writer can describe the feelings and emotions of a female in a story just as well as a woman could, he would have done a great job. The same would be the case if a woman writer could do this about a male character in a story. There are many other aspects to be considered but I guess these very differences make for a wide variety of writing- and debate!