You might consider 16 year old Anusha Subramanian something of a literary veteran. She has, after all, just published her second book with Penguin India, titled ‘Never Gone’. A young adult work of fiction based squarely in the real world, ‘Never Gone’ is a completely different genre from her first book, ‘Heirs of Catriona,’ (Westland)…written when she was a mere 12 years old!

Actress Sonali Bendre released Anusha’s book on Wednesday night, in Mumbai. The actress herself is an author, having published a non-fiction book on parenting called, ‘The Modern Gurukul: My Experiments With Parenting’.

So is Anusha a chip off the old block? Her father, Ravi Subramanian, after all is a best-selling author himself. Interestingly, the young writer told journalist Anushree Majumdar – who moderated the conversation at her launch – that she did not let her mother or father interfere with her writing process. She laughingly added that some of the topics she touched, particularly about young love, did not go down well with the her mother. Both parents read the manuscript only after it was ready to publish.

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Commenting on Anusha’s age, conviction, and the fact that she is putting herself out there at a young age Sonali Bendre mentioned how remarkable it was that this 16 year old had found her voice and that she knows what she wants. She said that it is still not easy for a woman to be heard, including for herself. “Women are always being told what to do, and how to behave, and this affects us consciously or subconsciously.”

Anusha says that her objective in writing the book was to make it ‘as real as possible’ and that is how she approached creating such complex characters, and especially the characters and voices of the young girls in the book. She says that she wants to connect to readers through their emotions.

Anusha did say that she would have gotten into field whether or not her father was a writer. Granted it may have taken her more time, since her father’s experience demystified the publishing experience for her. Ravi Subramanian says he was more worried about social media stalking and urged Anusha to get back on social media only after the book was published.

In the future, Anusha would like to concentrate on her studies. If she writes more, she says, it will be in the young adult genre. “You don’t need a great vocabulary or flowery language to be a good writer. Anybody can do it. There is a difference between writing and storytelling,” she said.

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