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Meet Chandni Chopra – India’s first female author to write a contemporary novel in verse

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“To be compared to the Black Flamingo was an extremely high praise.” Says the author as she talks about the rave reviews she’s been garnering for her maiden published work -The Wise and The Wasted.

Chandni, a Creative writing and Philosophy Major from the University of Delhi talks about how she has always wanted to be an Author.

“I started writing when I was probably eight. It started off as journaling and eventually turned into an important medium of expression. I remember composing my first poem for my mother when I was ten, seeing her ecstatic is what motivated me to keep at it.”

Her first published book, is a contemporary novel in verse that pivots around a mother-daughter relationship and the many unapparent yet profound implications of growing up in a patriarchal society. Through her contemporary albeit whimsical verses, the author takes us into a world of wanderlust, webbed with deep emotions. The verses are mature and leave a lot of room for interpretation, which might not suit everyone’s palette. The theme ranges from first romances to graver issues like female foeticide and rape. The author’s voice is honed and distinct and effectively draws the readers into the world of the characters. The fusion of a contemporary setting with poignant issues of abuse, loneliness, romance and art make it truly stand out.

With the trend of Insta poets on the rise, Chandni’s attempt to stand apart and delve into a verse novel is brave and applause worthy. Her book entered the ranks of bestsellers in poetry and hot releases in it’s first two days following release. Despite a tricky genre, she has managed to get rave reviews from popular book reviewers and avid readers. Some also compared it to a hugely popular verse novel – The Black Flamingo.

“Novels in verse are huge in the west. Unfortunately, it’s not too popular here. I was worried about the commercial viability before going ahead with the publishing, I won’t lie. Who doesn’t like a bestseller after all. I was tempted to choose an easier template and form of storytelling. But I had to be honest with myself. My first published book had to be something that I was proud of and not something that was tested and tried. I don’t call myself a nonconformist for nothing,” She laughs.

The idea of this book surfaced in the form of many short snippets that she had written overtime, she tells us. But it took one lockdown and endless sleepless nights for this gem of a book to finally hit print.

“Art is expression and expression should be fluid. I wish there’s a larger audience and wider acceptance of experimental genres and new voices in the future,”

She says while she talks about the kind of work she’d like to write and read.

With an array of interesting ideas lined up for her following works, we wish her luck, and hope that her future projects are as raw and honest as her first.

THE WISE AND THE WASTED: Novel in verse

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