Elevating the Writing Society & young author struggles

By Thanya Canoo

Mauritius, a gem of cultural diversity in the Indian Ocean, is home to a unique literary tradition that weaves together narratives from Africa, Asia, and Europe. Despite this rich tapestry, the writing society in Mauritius often remains in the shadows, overshadowed by other cultural expressions. Yet, every author in Mauritius possesses the potential to elevate this society to new heights. Writing, a timeless art, must be preserved and nurtured, especially in an age dominated by technological evolution.

Mauritian authors are the custodians of the island’s stories, history, and identity. From novels and short stories to poems and essays, their works capture the essence of Mauritian life, reflecting its multicultural heritage and contemporary challenges. Authors such as Ananda Devi and Carl de Souza have already made significant impacts on the international literary stage, showcasing the depth and richness of Mauritian literature.

However, the potential of many Mauritian writers remains untapped. With the right support and recognition, these authors can not only elevate the writing society within Mauritius but also bring its unique voice to the global literary community. This potential is evident in the creativity, resilience, and passion of local writers, who continue to produce compelling works despite facing numerous challenges.

In today’s digital world, the art of writing faces unprecedented challenges and opportunities. The advent of technology has transformed how we consume information, often prioritizing quick, visual content over the reflective, immersive experience of reading. Yet, this technological evolution does not diminish the value of writing; rather, it underscores the need for a parallel evolution in how we support and engage with literary arts.

Writing is an art form that offers profound insights into the human experience. It encourages critical thinking, empathy, and imagination. In Mauritius, where oral traditions and storytelling have always played a crucial role, writing is a natural extension of these practices, capturing stories for future generations. Preserving the culture of reading and writing books and poems is essential to maintaining the island’s cultural identity.

Young authors in Mauritius face a myriad of challenges that often stifle their creative potential and hinder their journey to publication. One of the primary struggles is the lack of access to mentorship and professional networks. Without experienced guides to navigate the complexities of the literary world, many young writers find themselves isolated and unsure of how to progress. Established authors and industry professionals who could provide valuable advice and connections are often inaccessible, leaving young writers to fend for themselves in a highly competitive field.

Financial constraints present another significant barrier. The costs associated with publishing a book including editing, design, printing, and marketing, are often prohibitive for young authors who may not have the necessary resources or financial backing. This economic hurdle is exacerbated by a limited number of publishing houses in Mauritius, which tend to be cautious about investing in new and unproven talent. Self-publishing, while an option, also requires significant upfront investment and knowledge about the publishing process, which many young writers lack.

Furthermore, the cultural landscape in Mauritius often undervalues literary pursuits. Writing is frequently viewed as a hobby rather than a viable career, and this perception can lead to a lack of encouragement and support from family and society. Young authors may face pressure to pursue more traditional and financially stable career paths, leading to a lack of time and energy to dedicate to their writing. This societal attitude not only dampens their enthusiasm but also isolates them from potential sources of support and inspiration.

The limited opportunities for exposure and recognition further compound these challenges. Literary awards, competitions, and festivals that could provide young authors with much-needed visibility and validation are few and far between. Without platforms to showcase their work and receive constructive feedback, young writers struggle to build an audience and gain the confidence necessary to continue their literary journey.

Additionally, the absence of comprehensive literary education in schools means that many young Mauritians grow up without a strong foundation in literature. This gap in education not only limits their exposure to great works of literature but also reduces their understanding of the craft of writing. Without this foundational knowledge, aspiring writers may find it challenging to develop their skills and achieve their full potential.

The responsibility to preserve and elevate the writing society in Mauritius is a collective one. Governments, educational institutions, cultural organizations, and the public all have roles to play.

Mauritian authors have the capabilities and creativity to take the writing society to new heights. Writing is an art that must not be allowed to die; it is a vital part of our identity and heritage. As we navigate the technological evolution of our age, we should also champion a writing evolution, where the culture of reading and writing thrives, and the stories of Mauritius continue to be told and celebrated.