Panaji, Dec 8: Award winning, gay, Kannada author Vasudhendra held the audiences spell bound on day one of the 9th Goa Arts and Literature festival being held at the International Centre Goa (ICG) on Friday.
The author of 13 books, largely based on rural Karnataka themes, was discussing the recent English translation of his very popular Kannada novel, Mohanaswamy with author Annie Zaidi at the festival.
The author, a gold medallist engineer by training, first shared with the audiences the deep anguish and depression that he had to undergo when he could not disclose his sexuality for 37 years of his life.
“There came a time, when I could not sleep for three weeks in a row. I was so disturbed and depressed,” Vasudhendra said.
However, all this changed, when he began penning his novel on Mohanaswamy, a fictional gay character. “This novel acted as a catharsis for me and released me of all pain and suffering. I could actually get a good night’s sleep after I wrote the first few chapters,” the author said.
According to the author, the book was received with mixed reactions by his readers. “I lost many readers who were upset that I had disclosed my gay status. On the other hand, I gained many, new, young readers from across rural Karnataka,” Vasudhendra said.
Speaking about his traumatic childhood, Vasudhendra mentioned how he was teased and tormented at school and even at home for his effeminate nature and mannerisms. Vasudhendra, who first self-published his books after 50 publishers rejected his work, has now ventured into professional publishing himself.
“I encourage first-time writers in the Kannada language and give each of the selected writers a sum of Rs 30,000 and also publish and market their books,” Vasudhendra said. According to the energetic writer, he had published 75 first-time books in the last 15 years, which had collectively won 200 awards. (UNI)