A long-distance conversation with the Indian author, Sabarna Roy
Making it big in the literary world or being the author of best-selling books is challenging. Yet, there have been many successful authors with long, successful careers in writing such books. Sabarna Roy is one such critically acclaimed author who has survived challenges all through the years ever since he got his first book published in the year 2010. Today, he is the author of six bestselling books that have been commercial and critical successes. How does he pull it off so well? Tag along as we take you through the life of this inspiring author.
Meet Sabarna Roy, the Technocrat
Sabarna Roy is a senior engineering professional who graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in civil engineering. Working as the Senior Vice President of Electrosteel Group, he leads Applications Technology, Business Development and other key strategies in the organisation. Even though he has been a technocrat all through his life, he developed a fervent passion in literature, thanks to his natural flair for writing.
Being an avid reader, Roy developed an interest in writing during his college days. He started by penning down poems in Bengali and English. After graduating, he didn’t consider writing seriously, so he put his creative aspirations aside to establish a successful technical career. The tides began to turn after 19 years and eventually, he went back to something he was passionate about – writing books. He took to writing again in the year 2007 after a long hiatus to reconnect with himself.
Roy’s Bestselling Books
The prolific writer got his first book, ‘Pentacles,’ published by Leadstart Publishing in the year 2010. This set him off on a long and successful writing journey. Following the first book, within a span of the next ten years, he published five more books: Frosted Glass, Abyss, Winter Poems, Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018 Time Frozen in Myriad Thoughts, and Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020. Each of these books is deeply carved and richly woven in Roy’s narrative fabric texture, thus getting them all listed amongst bestselling books.
Natural Flair for Writing
Roy’s speciality of switching between different genres effortlessly has left critics in awe. Be it prose, poetry or play, he nails it all with ease. He accomplishes all these while making the language as simple as possible for his readers to understand.
The way he presents things is indicative of a trained author. But in reality, Roy hasn’t received any formal training. He is a natural writer with a knack for lucid story-telling. The way he delves deep into the psyche of characters and gives meticulous description of circumstances has earned him a special place among post-modern authors. His work ethics along with his writings have been nothing short of amazing.
Awards and Recognitions
Sabarna Roy has won several awards for his prolific writing skills. Among the many recognitions and awards, are the Literoma Laureate Award that he received for his fictional work in the year 2019, and the Literoma Star Achiever Award 2020. Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018 won the best book of the year in 2019. The author also won the A List Award for excellence in fiction by the News X Media House and Certificate for The Real Super Heroes for spreading a spirit of positivity and hope during the COVID-19 pandemic at the Forever Star India Award 2020.
He has also been prolifically writing on several complicated technical topics in national and international journals. Besides the six literary books, Roy has also written Articles on Ductile Iron Pipelines and Framework Agreement Contracting Methodology, a technical book.
Roy was invited as a speaker on the inaugural day at Noida International Literature Festival 2019. He was also a panellist at the opening day session that discussed the Dark Side of the Mind at Tata Steel Literary Meet. He often participates in national and international conferences to deliver speeches on several matters related to the environment and ecology.
A Long Way to Go
The popularity of this acclaimed author is on the rise among the people who love to read English fiction. Considering the kind of books that he has written till now, he is a mighty inspiration to all those aspiring authors out there. All of his books are engaging, yet intellectually stimulating, works of brilliance. He certainly has a long, long way to go to achieve bigger milestones.
Why is it that whenever you are remembered, reference is always made to your darker fiction?
Life is made out of intersections of various binaries. There is a deeply hidden self in our mental life as well as our social life. I think, as an author, if I have any task, it is that of puncturing the holy curtain. If authors do not bring out and examine the hidden selves of our mental lives and social lives, then who will carry out this task? It is also significant in an anthropological sense to understand people and cultures at a definite point in time and space, years afterwards.
Literature in that sense has an anthropological duty more than organized history. It is true that I write dark fiction. But I have also written An Improbable Love Story in Frosted Glass; the ballad, The Tower in Pentacles; many happy tiny stories in Random Subterranean Mosaic: 2012 – 2018 and the novella, Duality in Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020. For some reasons, pungent dark comedies like An Instantaneous Death in Frosted Glass, caste a deeper impression on people than the ones I have listed above.
There are many surrealistic and magic-realistic elements in your fiction; do you use these aesthetic tools very consciously?
No, I do not use them very consciously. It is only much later when critics and readers point out such a phenomenon to me that I realize the fact. The Last Plunge in Frosted Glass was appreciated because of a mix of surrealism, magic-realism and stream-of-consciousness. But I did not do it consciously. It happened almost organically. Many poems in Winter Poems and Etchings of the First Quarter of 2020 have been later appreciated for their surrealistic imagery. But I repeat, I did not do them consciously. My ambition while writing is to understand and examine reality in its truest essence. Maybe, because I have been and am a voracious reader of literature and an ardent viewer of the arts, I am unconsciously mediated by these techniques.
Are the recurring characters of Rahul and Sandy in your various books autobiographical in nature?
It is a bit cumbersome to answer this question. Every author, I believe, writes books that have some autobiographical elements in them. It is true that Rahul and Sandy repeat in almost all my books with multifarious straits because my ambition is to build up a male character, who is universal and contains in itself thesis and antithesis of various elements of existence. It is very much like building up the unified field theory in physics.
Why is it that you do not stick to a single format or writing instead of using various formats including prose and poetry including within prose and within poetry?
My thought or the content of what I write dictates the format. It is not as if I sit down and plan to write a poem or a story. It is what I want to write that will dictate in what format I will end up writing. For example, the ballad 2001-2002 in Pentacles could have been easily written in the format of a long-short story. But the way it resonated in my mind, it came out in the format of a ballad. I never disturb the natural and organic process of writing.
Are you political? While most of your writings is full of deep philosophy, but tell us the truth, how political are you?
I think if somebody has read my books attentively, he or she can make out that I am a deeply political person. I stand for the emancipation of the individual and absolute freedom of the individual. But tragically, we have not been able to create a civil society that can sustain an absolutely free individual. We always imagine or equate absoluteness of freedom with violence and hate. It can also be melody and harmony provided the civil society itself is free from the kind of violence, despotism and cruelties that institutions have unleashed on the individual. I also believe human-beings have almost destroyed nature beyond repair. We are doing some patchwork here and there today. But we are on the way to extinction.