Glad to have interviewed one of the youngest authors in India. At the age of sixteen, author Harsimran Kaur has already written three books. She stepped into the world of publishing at the age of thirteen with her debut book titled ‘The Best I can do is to Write my Heart Out’.
A keen observer, reading addict, and an INFJ-T personality, Harsimran Kaur is a national award-winning author and poet for her work. Read on as she talks about books, life as a writer, inspiration behind poems and other write-ups, favourite poems and books, passions, awards, and much more.
1. Let’s begin with a brief introduction of yours and an overview of your latest book- Clementines on my Poetry Table.
Hello readers, I am Harsimran Kaur; I’m a sixteen-year-old English language enthusiast who has published three books. I got into the publishing world in 2018, when I was thirteen years old. I have specifically chosen the mode of self-publishing despite the traditional one because it gives me more flexibility in my work and lets me control over the things that I want to get published in my books.
Considering that I manage my own work, which applies to website designing, pre-marketing, interior designing of my books, cover designing, post-marketing, you can probably tell that I like to do things on my own.
An INFJ-T personality, I love to advocate for things that matter to me, like environmental change and education, which tops the list. That being said, I love everything related to books, and I would possibly like you to gift me a book whenever you want. My interests in various forms of art keep changing, just like my book wish list.
My favourite subjects include literature and history. Despite all this, I am just a normal school girl who loves to bake (and eat!), watch a million movies, and read as many books as humanly possible!
My latest book, ‘Clementines on my Poetry Table: A Poetry Collection‘ came out on March 17, 2021. It is a collection of poems written between December 2019 and June 2020 about topics ranging from Zoom meetings to donuts. It is currently available on Amazon India, and all the royalty received at my end for the book will go to the Give India Foundation’s urgent COVID relief fund.
2. From where do you find the inspiration behind your poems and write-ups?
I’d say that my writing is a by-product of everything around me. I consider myself a keen observer, and I like to keep an eye on everything going on in the world and in my surroundings.
If anything pops up in my mind, I want to Google it and know everything about it. I’d be there lying in my bed at nighttime, and a random thought would pop up in my brain like something occurred in a dream (as if it was manifesting itself to bring into my consideration), and I’d scribble it down in my Moleskine notebook.
If any people inspire me in writing, they are the greatest minds of the past century like:
- Franz Kafka
- Kahlil Gibran
- Robert Frost
- Virginia Woolf
- Sylvia Plath
- Wendy Cope
- Toni Morrison
I also idolize Michelle Obama and Arundhati Roy – and I can’t emphasize the fact enough. My mother is also a source of my utmost inspiration, and I admire her for that.
3. At what age did you first write something, like a poem, article, anything?
As far as I can remember, I started writing poems around the age of ten. I had recently finished reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain at that time, which made me write a poem about protecting our planet (don’t know what element from the book inspired me to write that) and a short story about a mischievous kid called Thomas.
I titled it ‘Some Years Without Parents,’ which is an expression that I indeed consider pretentious.
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4. Please tell us about your previous books. How many books have you written to date?
Well, there are three published books under my name.
- The Best I can do is to Write my Heart out: A Book of Poems Says a Lot
- I am Perfectly Imperfect
- Clementines on my Poetry Table: A Poetry Collection
At the age of thirteen, I finished writing sixty poems that now reside in my first book, published at fourteen, called ‘The Best I can do is to Write my Heart out: A Book of Poems Says a Lot.’ My second book, called ‘I am Perfectly Imperfect,’ is a 25,000 worded fiction that came out on August 22, 2019, when I had just turned fifteen.
My recent publication is called ‘Clementines on my Poetry Table: A Poetry Collection,’ which recently came out on May 17, 2021. It’s a collection of fifty poems that I wrote between December 2019 and June 2020. Alongside this, my work has also appeared in a poetry anthology curated by the literary forum in my city. I also wrote a poem that will appear in another significant poetry anthology soon.
5. Having published three books already at the age of 16, how does it feel to be one of the youngest authors in India?
I think that it feels surreal, but at the same time, such a title is also very demanding. The pretentious side of me seems to demand a lot from myself. I don’t seem to be taking much pride in myself because it makes me delusional, and the imposter side of me comes across the scene out of nowhere and makes me self-aware.
It’s kind of hard to describe how I exactly feel about it, but I think that if I’m doing something that makes my parents and my country proud, then it’s probably great.
6. What sort of reviews are you receiving from the readers?
My readers bring out great reviews, and I appreciate each and every one of them. I want to maintain diversity within my work, which means that I will like the readers to challenge my notions; I want them to express their opinions and reflect where I lacked. This way, I can ensure a balance between the two spheres and excel in making my writing better.
7. Would you mind sharing three of your favourite poems from Clementines on my Poetry Table?
Sure, I would love to share them. My favourite poems from my poetry collection include:
- the evolution of Phantom cigarettes into mary jane
- lightness filled with the dark
Poem -The evolution of Phantom
cigarettes into mary jane
Childhood daydreams of Phantom cigarettes,
Moon Pies, Candy flosses, marble cookies,
candies, lollies, kaleidoscopes,
Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket,
Jacqueline Wilson and five-year-old
Hunter playing in the
yard of your home in Georgia.
Then, out of the blue, you stop
wearing your hair
in two pigtails
and lay your hands on
mary jane.– Harsimran Kaur
Poem – lightness filled with the dark
I pass the street like a poise in a painting
and eventually, return where I start.
Legend has it that amid all the commotion,
there are houses where revive the utmost
chasm: there’s the phone, internet access,
and everything that you need to
I pass the street for the second time,
just in case the commotion didn’t let me
chase after the mouths of the inhabitants
close enough the first time around.
To my surprise, all I see are different faces,
muttering harshly to their loved ones and
oh, they aren’t muttering Wilde
Posing for pictures of their smiles and
oh, I see so many sad eyes on happy faces
Texting that they are on a beautiful venture
But oh, the flowers in their garden have dried And going to places
But oh, they haven’t been out for quite a long time. And then, at the end of the same street,
like the light at the end of a tunnel,
lives an old gentleman whose eyes
are like the ocean, well-traveled to distant lands, whimpering in the lightness filled
with the dark. “I know no computer,”
he says to me and presses his lids together
like the collapse of an entire ocean,
and yet he opens them again
like the splash of the ocean.
I ask him for a good old cup of tea and
some marmalade with bread to go with it.
During our little chat about Wilde and Bronte, he asks me if I know any computer.
To which I say, “I know computer.
I know every inch of it, But while I’m done,
I indeed turn it off occasionally.”
And then he sighed, looking over
the street from where I’ve come-a signal
that we’re done.– Harsimran Kaur
“You have a voice, yet you couldn’t speak.
The muted Zoom* audio has nothing to do with the affirmation- that you couldn’t survive in the dampness.
But the lotus blooms like a star
and its piquancy blinds one and all
what is wrong with this generation,
there are so many sad eyes on happy faces,
so many glitches in the audio, so many pixelated faces sometimes you couldn’t even make the daily Zoom call, you don’t show up.
You’re busy trying to get fixtures on your eyes
because the light of the lotus has blinded you.”
Whenever I try saying this, my audio gets muted on its own.
So I speak and speak and speak and affirm myself.– Harsimran Kaur
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8. Tell us about the awards for which your work has been nominated or won? How do these motivate you?
I was awarded a special appreciation for my previously produced works – ‘I am Perfectly Imperfect’ and ‘The Best I can do is to Write my Heart out’ by the literary forum of my city.
Alongside this, I recently made a national record and an Asian record (‘Grand Master’ for authoring a book containing different colours of poetry), which is given to me by the India Book of Records (registered with the Government of India) and Asia Book of Records, respectively.
These honours make me work harder for the goals that I want to achieve, and they also make me self-reflect more. I really admire the firms that appreciate my work, but at the end of the day, what matters to me, is the amount of change that I’ve brought to someone else’s life through my writing.
9. You are also running a history club called Past Lores. What is it all about?
The online history club that I run called ‘Pastlores’ is a project that I’ve meant to launch for a very long time. It finally came into place in October 2020, with goals to establish a pattern of globalization by exchanging information throughout the world.
The membership to this club is free of cost, and one only needs to fill a form, which is available on the Instagram page @pastlores_. I engage with people from all sorts of diverse backgrounds and demographics through the club. This experience of communication tends to have made my knowledge of history more diverse to grow and flourish.
10.A quick-fire round (Answer in up to 50 words):
– A line said by your closed one that you never forget?
“Work hard. The rest will follow.”
– Define writing and your relationship with it.
Writing brings up the idiosyncratic side in me. It makes me feel volatile and proactive at the same time. I am the new kid on the block, and writing is my recently made acquaintance. We are in a to and fro relationship with each other.
– What are your other passions in life?
I think I pretty much like doing everything which resonates with my energy. Being an INFJ-T personality, I love picking up stuff in the subdivision of arts – literature, music, and films. Reading is my favourite thing that I enjoy very dearly.
– What are some of your favourite books?
Some of my favourite books include:
- The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
- Letter to my Mother by Georges Simenon
- What are you Going Through by Sigrid Nunez
- Normal People by Sally Rooney
Pardon me if I missed Matilda by Roald Dahl, which is a book that comforts me.
– What is that dream goal you want to achieve before you die?
I would not say that it’s a statement of exaggeration, but I’ve got ample goals to fulfil, which will probably keep me busy throughout the following years. I want to write, read books that I’ve always wanted to read, study things that I love, and visit exotic places around the globe and gain experiences and maybe, make movies!
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11. What’s next in the roadmap for author Harsimran Kaur? Are you working on a new book already?
Considering that I wrote a lot last year, I finished the first draft of a book that I wish to publish sometime at the end of this year. Alongside this, I am also working on a piece of narrative fiction, and it’s something that I’ve never worked upon before, so I am pretty excited to show it to my readers.
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