“Hey, that’s Mita Kapoor, a literary agent and food writer,” my friend pointed out.
In the melee of people around me was a slim woman wearing a sari. We passed each other, two strangers, in the crowded corridors of the Jaipur Literature Festival at Dij Palace. The literary agent looked serious and determined.
When I later read her food memoirs, I saw that within her harshness was a love of hospitality. Lady Shri Ram A graduate of English Literature from her college, she is the youngest of three sisters, married for love into a joint family based in Jaipur, and fulfills everything expected and more. I accomplished something. That’s Mita Kapoor for you.
Her books have a raw truth to them. F word. Mita talks about raising her three children, doting on her youngest son Rehaan, and her struggle to have a proper relationship with her eldest daughter Sakshi, who grew up overweight. And she, she has food too. She is pictured eating kebabs in Lucknow, fried fish and fries in York, England, cooking for her birthday and salvaging burnt quiche. Packed with easy-to-follow recipes, from cream cheese dip to pea soup to profiteroles.
For more food articles by Mita Kapoor, click here. chili pepper and porridgealso featured in 6 food books for the festive Christmas and holiday season.
Here, Mita Kapoor talks about Jungle Mars cooking, why she stuck scissors in the ground at Bhutan’s Drukyur Literary Festival, and has some advice for readers and writers. Below are edited excerpts from our conversation.
Please tell me about your childhood reading.
Growing up in Jaipur, there weren’t many distractions. Her mother pored over medical books, and her sisters read a lot. I used to watch her sister produce Shakespeare plays in college. Translations of Russian literature were being sold from a mobile van. I think all of these things shaped my childhood.I remember picking it up scarlet letter According to Nathaniel Hawthorne, at the age of 10 I didn’t understand the intricacies of the story, which bothered me a lot.
What is it like to be the founder of Siyahi Literary Agency?
I love being able to read and discover new stories and stories. My writing is the best part of my life. I’m still very greedy to open every manuscript that’s submitted – you never know what’s going to come out of those pages. Read all posts on Siyahi. Provide feedback on the three sample chapters you received. If you like what you read, ask for the full manuscript.
What do you look for in your submission?
Fiction books should have fresh voices, strong storylines, well-researched, unpretentious, experimental and immersive. Nonfiction needs to be authentic and deeply researched with storytelling elements to reach a wide audience.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
*Read, read, read.
*Write from inside your gut, feel, live and breathe that emotion. Be honest and write about what you know best. It really shows whether the writer had fun writing the book or whether it took a lot of effort.
*Write in the language you think and imagine.
When you think of festivals like Christmas and New Year, what kind of food comes to mind?
Mulled wine, sitting around a crackling fireplace, music and close friends…I cook different dishes every year. Dessert is of course rose pistachio cake. My favorite memory is spending Christmas 2021 in New York. There was a sparkling coolness in the air, the whole world was emerging from the pandemic, and spring was visible with every step.
What is your signature dish?
They range from Lal Maas to Jungle Maas, Nihari, Thai and Korean cuisine.flat Sukhe Mataru. Winter peas in Jaipur are the best. All I do is mix it in ghee and add hing, jeera salt, ginger, green chilli and fresh coriander. Just one whistle in your pressure cooker and you’re done.
What is your favorite food book?
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle, the complete works of Ruth Reichl, The Art of the Restaurateur Written by Nicholas Lander man who ate too much It’s a memoir written by John Birsall, but really, it’s a never-ending list.
My favorite food anthology is A matter of taste Edited by Niranjana Roy; Food: Oxford Anthology The Secret Ingredient: The New Yorker Book of Food and Drink, by Brigid Allen.
Finally, what are you reading now?
I just finished reading Chemistry Lessons by Bonnie Garmuth. I’m reading “Totto-chan at the Window” by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi.
This is the end of 2023. As we head into 2024, here are my best books of 2023.
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If you want your child to read more books, here are some tips for raising a reader. You may find it helpful to create a home library. Here’s how: Here are six easy steps to building an office library.
If 2024 is your year of writing, here’s how to get started. Write, pitch, face rejection, and learn.
Until next week, happy reading!
Sonya Dutta Chowdhury is a Mumbai-based journalist and founder of Sonya’s Book Box, a bespoke book service. Each week, she brings you specially selected books to give you an immersive understanding of people and places. If you have any reading recommendations or suggestions, please email email@example.com.