Shobna Kumar, the brains behind India’s first queer literature portal Queer Ink, encourages the possibility of more literature being available for the community
When she landed in India — after having lived in the queer capitals of the world such as Sydney and San Francisco — Shobna Kumar felt that access to literature on and by the gay community was limited. She felt that her community was grossly under-represented in mainstream literature. And that is how India’s first queer book portal came to be. Here she talks about the 15 months of Queer Ink, the desire for the gay community to be acknowledged for their literary work and more.
How did Queer Ink come about?
When I first came to India eight years ago to be with my partner, I found that there were hardly any books that related to the gay community. What was available online would invariably be unavailable as Indian shipping laws don’t really make provision for such books. Alternatively some sites that do source books from abroad have a really long delivery period. My interactions with members of the community also brought out that gay literature was largely unavailable and what is found cannot be had on a single platform. Also there is an embarrassment of sorts to purchase such books in mainstream bookstores. And so a year of research later, Queer Ink was born.
You also provide a platform for queer publication — do you think Queer Ink has helped more gay people express themselves?
We have a segment on the site titled Writers Corner. This is an open invitation to people to pen their thoughts on a singular platform. What surprisingly happened is that many people began to send their work to me privately with expressions of interest in getting them published. This has led us to consider taking up publication of queer literature in the future.
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