We’re delighted to hear that Charles Wallace Fellow, Anupama Raju has published her first novel ‘C’ which she began during her time at Kent in 2017. The Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship enables a writer from India to come and work at the University of Kent for the Spring Term. Hosted by the School of English, the CWIT Fellow is given the time and resources to work on their own creative writing project.
For me, this is a milestone as C is my first novel. At the same time, it is a novel that relies a lot on poetry for narrative effect.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Anupama all about her experience:
How did you find out about the Charles Wallace Fellowship?
As a former member of the British Council Library in Chennai and Trivandrum, I’ve been aware of the Charles Wallace Fellowships programme for many years. So as a writer, when I was looking for a residency that would give me the time and space I needed to focus on my writing, the Charles Wallace Creative Writing Fellowship was an obvious choice.
How did the fellowship aid you and your studies?
My time at the University of Kent was a completely fulfilling and productive experience. As a writer-in-residence and Charles Wallace Fellow, I got the opportunity to meet some fine writers. While some of them were faculty at the university, others were there as part of the Creative Writing Reading Series. During my time at the university l also got to listen to the 2017 T. S. Eliot Memorial Lecture and share some of my own work with Canterbury’s writing community.
Can you give us a short description of what your book is about?
C: A Novel tells the story of a nameless wanderer—a writer—as she moves between two cities and across centuries, coming to terms with her myriad emotions and strange experiences. Written in prose and poetry, the novel takes readers on multiple journeys with the protagonist through time and the winding streets of the cities she is in thrall to. And, as we journey with her we are given profound and memorable insights into love, pain, loss, regret, history, joy, hope, and possibility.
What was the process of writing the book during your fellowship like?
I had just one goal for my time at Kent: Write every single day. The book started off as my second manuscript of poems and every day, I would write one or two. These poems, over time, evolved into a novel — C.
Do you have any highlights from your time at Kent?
I always knew I wanted to be at Kent because of the School of English, the Creative Writing Department and, of course, the historic appeal of Canterbury. I particularly cherish the opportunity I got to listen to the writers who read as part of the Creative Writing Reading Series and listening to the T. S. Eliot Memorial Lecture. I made some wonderful friends while in Kent. Walks around the campus and Canterbury remain precious memories.
What have you done since leaving Kent?
Besides my day job as global head of internal communications for a digital services company, it’s largely been about working on C, writing a lot of poetry and working on other creative projects. And over the past year, I’ve been working on my PhD as well.
The Director of the Centre for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, Matt Whittle had this to say about the fantastic news:
“On behalf of the Postcolonial Studies and Creative Writing Centres, I am delighted with the news that Anupama’s new novel will be reaching a wide audience. Anupama is part of an illustrious group of Indian novelists and poets who have taken up the Charles Wallace India Trust Fellowship at Kent to work uninterrupted on their writing.”
We’re extremely proud to have helped foster Anupama’s creative voice in the development of C and wish her all the very best!