WOW | Women in focus

Queen of words

On February, Smadar Shir and Dorit Silverman, prominent Israeli writers visited Kathmandu as a part of their tour to South Asia. During their stay, they met, shared and inspired many young writers to explore and widen their literary visions. Excerpts from our interviews with them:

Dr Dorit Silverman

What motivates you to write?

What inspire me are the things I see. The talent of observation is much more important when you are a writer. For example, my daughter was in India during the tsunami. I didn’t hear from her 10 days and I contacted everyone I could and put her pictures on the internet to find her. An Israeli newspaper even published her photo as one of the dead. But finally, it turns out she was in Goa. Many years later, I wrote a novel about it. I invented a lot of it, but it was inspired by the events of my life.

What will help foster the culture of reading and writing in youngsters?

In Israel, we have a lot of workshops. I also run many workshops for children and adults to write. Another good idea is to have competitions for short stories. One of my novels was turned into a movie and many people became interested in the novel that inspired the movie. As youngsters love movies, the adaptation of books into movies and vice versa could also help.

As a writer, how do you see the field of literature developing over the years?

Sadly, I have seen a reduction in the place of literature in the media. People now watch a lot of television and movies. So, it is hard for literature to compete. In literature, you have to invest much more imagination. In a movie, you see the characters. You don’t have to imagine. When I write the heroine has blue eyes, there are many shades of blue. If I say she lives in a little house, you have to close your eyes and imagine a little house. In literature, the work is 50-50 between a writer and a reader. In other media, the audience doesn’t have to invest much effort. Sometimes after a long day of work, people don’t want to put any effort or activate their mind. You just want to sit and enjoy. So, writers now must think how we can adjust to the new era.

What is your favourite genre of writing?

I generally stick to the realistic genre. Even with a lot of imagination my novels are realistic. I once tried to write a surrealistic novel, people found it quite hard to follow. I have written two children’s novel and one young adult. They were written after I had my children and grandchildren and I had something to tell them.

I always say my favourite novel is my next novel, the one I am writing. Maybe it is because that novel is alive in me. For now, I write of my grandmum, whom I never had a chance to know. She made a lot of effort to come to Israel. She and other Jewish people from all over the world made a lot of effort to establish the state of Israel. She died at the age of 42. Now my children are spread across the world. Now I have to chase them around the world to see my grandchildren.

Do you have any advice for young writers?

My advice is to be simple and take things from your life, but give it wings. You can write 90% as it happened but the 10% has to fly up. That way you give a second chance to things that happened in your life and you tell them in a new way, it can be therapeutic.