Frontlist Book | City author Sakoon Singh speaks about the art of writing, essence of Punjab in her debut book

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In the book, Sakoon dwells on the burning issues of the region, like drug addiction, and also evoke the anguish caused by the Partition.


“Writing demands discipline and exactitude,” believes debut author Sakoon Singh, whose first novel ‘In the land of the lovers: A Punjab Qissa’ hit the shelves in April this year. The book that perfectly encapsulates the essence of Punjab, revolves around the life of an idealistic, young woman based in Chandigarh.

In the book, Sakoon dwells on the burning issues of the region, like drug addiction, and also evoke the anguish caused by the Partition.

An English Literature teacher, Sakoon says that it was the simple image of a young girl strolling through the Leisure Valley on a rainy day that flitted through her mind and got etched in her memory.

“This tale of a young artist slowly began to take shape inside my head. And I ended up taking a sabbatical from college so I could devote more time to write the book. Once I had finally reached a deal for the book back in 2018, I spent a lot of time revisiting, rewriting and editing large bits of the book.”

The novel explores the transformation of Nanaki Singh, from a naïve girl to an artist.

The protagonist is disillusioned with the rot in a system plagued with corruption and eventually finds herself falling for Himmat, an architect. Sakoon admits, “The character of Himmat is close to my heart. As a little kid, he had been abandoned by his own mother. He goes through the throes of bewilderment in the book.”

Writer’s block, she says, is a concomitant of the creative process. While it can be frustrating at times, it is also vital. “Sometimes it stems from a lack of direction, and the other times, due to a lack of conviction. But it is not always negative. After all, it can draw one’s attention our own shortcomings.”

It is not uncommon for budding writers to struggle to get published. Sakoon suggests, “You have to knock on every door. The right one will eventually open up if you keep persisting.”

She adds, “writing is your own journey. What you write is shaped by the individual you have become. It is influenced by the choices you make. If you feel like you have got what it takes, then you should continue to hone your skills.”

Bestselling authors like Margaret Atwood, Doris Lessing and Amitav Ghosh are some of her favourite writers.

Thespian Neelam Mansingh Chowdhry noted in her review of the book that Sakoon’s writing style is very cinematic. “It seemed like I was visualising each scene as it unfolded before me.”

Discussing Sakoon’s choice to revisit the Partition, Chowdhry says, “The fear, the uncertainty, the anger, hatred, journey, loss of home, loss of belongings. They were so sharp and so evocative that they almost jumped out of the pages of the book and left a deep impression.”

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