“My daughter asked if she could choose my wig after chemo…”
In this episode, I speak with Susmita Bhattacharya. She’s an award-winning author with many books to her credit. Her debut novel, The Normal State of Mind, was longlisted for the Mumbai Film Festival prize, Word to Screen. Her short story collection, Table Manners, won the Saboteur Award in 2019 . Susmita’s work has been featured in many magazines and BBC Radio 4. She also teaches creative writing at universities and to young people in the community, and has judged many short story competitions.
We talk about the taboo around discussing any major illness in our culture. Particularly, cancer. Susmita shares her own journey of discovering she had cancer, going through chemotherapy, learning to talk about it with her kids. She talks about the silence around the issue within the South Asian community as well as the support she received from some community members.
MORE ABOUT SUSMITA:
• Creative Writing Lecturer, Winchester University
• Creative Writing faciliator for Mayflower Young Writers, an ArtfulScribe project in collaboration with Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
“A deliciously bold debut novel …vivid and tender, funny and bittersweet. It’s fearlessly full of surprises about what it meant to be young and female in 1990s India on the cusp of change.” Rosie Dastgir, A Small Fortune
Table Manners on BBC Radio 4 Extra:
“These triumphant, sharp eyed humorous stories mark the arrival of an intriguing new voice; tender, poignant and wry.” Irenosen Okojie, Speak Gigantular
If you’ve been affected by the themes of this episode, please check out these resources:
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