The Three Rs: Shashi Bhat
October 19, 2012 § 2 Comments
Shashi Bhat’s short fiction has appeared in several journals, including PRISM international, Event, The Threepenny Review, The Missouri Review, and Nimrod International. She was a finalist for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and was longlisted for the Journey Prize. Her first novel is forthcoming from Cormorant Books. She received her MFA in fiction from the Johns Hopkins University, and is currently an assistant professor of creative writing at Dalhousie University.
When did you first know you wanted to write books?
I knew I wanted to write starting around age 8, after publishing my first poem, “You’re Killing the Ozone.” It appeared in one of those anthologies where they publish every poem they receive and then charge you fifty dollars to buy the book it’s in. I think I rhymed “styrofoam” with “the earth, our home.” But I didn’t think of writing an actual book until I was in grad school for fiction writing and I realized that’s what was expected of us. At that point I’d only written short stories and the idea of a novel seemed far too ambitious.
Isabel Huggan’s The Elizabeth Stories. I read it about a year ago and it is so, so good. I wish I hadn’t read it yet so I could read it again for the first time. She pushes her characters so much further than I expect them to go. She doesn’t mind humiliating her protagonist or being cruel to her or making her act like a jerk occasionally, and still I love the narrator so much. I feel as though I learned a lot from that collection. Other favourites: Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, Lauren Groff’s Delicate, Edible Birds, Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye, Ray Bradbury short stories.
I would write. That’s probably the wrong answer, since it’s so egotistical and self-indulgent. I get a contentment and satisfaction out of creating that I don’t get from anything else.
Reality TV. No, just kidding. Rational decision-making.