Despite having many challenges Bhutanese authors still writes books.
With limited market and readership, they are handicapped with it but write to keep the traditional story telling alive. BT Sonam Penjor spoke to some of the authors during the recent Mountain Echoes. Rinzin Rinzin an author and a former Member of Parliame
How do inspire you to write books or what makes you to write books?
I like to read and write. I wrote my first book (Talisman of Good Fortune and other stories from rural Bhutan) while I was studying in the University of Melbourne, Australia, in 2001 to rescue myself from feeling homesick. I published the book in 2002. Then I was absorbed in scientific research and later politics for about 12 years. I started to write for children since last year after His Majesty the Druk Gyalpo declared 2015 as a Reading Year. I thought that I must make my own small contribution to the noble event. Besides, the tradition of oralstory telling is dying out, and along with it our folk tales. I would like to make my own contributions to the preservation of folk tales for the future generations.
How many books you have written and published so far and what was your recent published book?
Thus far I have written seven books. My latest publications, published early this month (August), was The Story of the Raven and the Owl and The Pheasant takes the snake to court, both illustrated children’s books.
What are the challenges you are facing while writing the books?
My professional background is science and management studies. I have had no higher education in literature as well as English language. Nevertheless, this has never posed any problem for me to write. The challenges are not really to do with writing, but with publishing, marketing and selling the books. I am a selfpublishing author. Given a small domestic market for books, publishing books after books is an expensive affair. Nevertheless, this doesn’t discourage me at all. One is got to do what he is got to do! So, I will continue to write and publish my own books, and hope for the best.
Any additional messages to our youth?
To the youth, my only request is to read and keep on reading. This is because reading is the main foundation for building one’s intellectual capacity (knowledge). Since we are living in a knowledge-based age, it is knowledge that will be your greatest strength in life. Besides, reading is fun. And, please, write. Write whatever you feel like writing. It doesn’t really matter whether you are a good writer or not. But, write you must. After all, if Rinzin Rinzin can write, so can you.