Local literature is so often frowned upon, because it doesn’t include ‘international bestsellers’ and ‘New York Times bestsellers’. It doesn’t say ‘over two million copies sold worldwide’ or ‘finalist for the XYZ Prize’. But does that mean it doesn’t hold any value? Here’s why local literatures and authors deserve more recognition and readership.
Why Local Literatures And Authors Deserve More Recognition And Readership?
- Helps one understand nuances of your culture
- Enhances one’s sense of identity
- Enables the flourishing of local languages
- Drives the local literary economy
- Helps you instantly connect with the book
- Shatters stereotypes about local literature
- Local authors are easily accessible too
- Helps one understand social dimensions of people around him/her
Helps one understand nuances of your culture
Cultures are complex entities, comprising collective economics, politics, social structures. Sometimes, the best way to understand a culture is through literature, because literature holds a mirror to society. For those of us living in urban spaces where there is heavy Western influence, retreating to our roots for once can be gratifying, enlightening as well as sensitizing.
Enhances one’s sense of identity
Going back to one’s roots is always a process of deepening one’s identity. The fact is, we relate to local cultures more than global cultures because we connect to our local culture more. Our identity is a process formed by both environmental and genetic factors. So if our environment is also the culture we inherit, our identity becomes that much stronger.
Enables the flourishing of local languages
One practical reason to buy and read local books is because it helps local languages. Sadly, in modern times, English takes precedence over all languages. This means that for most, the primary medium of instruction is English, most are not well versed with local languages. In India only, there are over a hundred languages co-existing, but Indians no barely two or three. However, if we read local books in their original or translation, it helps the language industry keep flourishing, and preserves these languages.
Drives the local literary economy
Another practical reason to invest in local books is that these books drive the local literary economy. They provide employment, salary and economic benefits to writers, translators, publishers, editors, agents, graphic designers and more. Not only does this boost the literary and general economy, but also allows the literary culture of a place to thrive.
Helps you instantly connect with the book
One more reason to invest in locally relevant books is the affective experience. Reading about people like oneself in familiar settings is conducive to a more empathetic, sensitive reading experience. It’s likely that you’ll connect with a book more if you can relate to it and understand its fine nuances which would escape those not from that culture. It will also give you a feeling of rootedness, helping you connect instantly.
Shatters stereotypes about local literature
Literally the only thing that can shatter stereotypes about local literature is reading local literature. The global culture trains us to think that local books are somehow inferior to global and especially western books, but that is not true. Literature from all cultures, western or eastern, has its fair share of brilliance. It’s worth giving a chance to local literature, because Indian literature is way more than Chetan Bhagat.
Local authors are easily accessible too
Another perk of reading local books is that it is easy to contact authors. Because they live near by, they are way more accessible. So whether it’s getting signed copies and autographs, writing letters or attending events, it’s way easier with local books. Local authors are also usually surprisingly humble, so that’s a plus!
Helps one understand social dimensions of people around him/her
a deeper reason to read local literature is to understand people and relationships around you. Since books are basically mirrors and reflections of society, books aid our understanding of psychology and sociology. They enable us to understand the culturally relevant reasons for why some people behave the way they do, and how to better deal with them.
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