An Author’s Afternoon presented by Shree Cement and Prabha Khaitan foundation on 4th June, 2016, featured crime writer Zac O’Yeah at The Taj Bengal, Kolkata. Debanjan Chakrabarti, director, British Council (East India), engaged him in a conversation that meandered through turns and interesting twists.
Zac O’Yeah is the author of the popular comic thriller Once Upon a Time in Scandinavistan and Mr Majestic. He has written twelve other books which have been translated into several languages. Previously, he worked in the theatre and music business in Sweden. A veteran travel writer, he is a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveller magazine, a columnist with The Hindu Business Line newspaper, an influential literary critic.
When asked about Scandinavia and crime fiction, he said, perhaps, one of the reasons for the popularity of crime fiction is because people really haven’t faced any crime and thus like to imagine what it would be like. Regarding his biographical work on Gandhi, Zac had a very different take, “Gandhi was not only a political activist but was also into ecology much before it became popular.” Gandhi strongly advocated rural development and experimented with diet. Now-a-days everyone is experimenting with raw food, but Gandhi was the first one who started chewing on raw lentils and rice, just to see if it would be more nutritious or better for digestion.
“It is important to develop your own personal voice. Lots of people make the error of trying to write a very general description of maybe Taj Mahal or Victoria Memorial. It is very important to have your own personality in the stories,” said Zac O’Yeah.