BookChums’ Interview With Mita Kapur


Food and family mean the world to Mita Kapur. It’s no surprise that both her passions found her way into her first book,The F-Word, which is a part travel, part recipe and part memoir. This book should truly be bought and reread by every foodie, as it is multi-dimensional and a textured read.

We talk to this freelance journalist, founder-CEO of Siyahi, a literary consultancy, who apart from providing creative and professional help to new writers believes firmly in cooking out of love. “Don’t cook because you have to. Cook because you want to. It’s an act of respect!”

In the interview, she talks about how the Jaipur Literature Festival has grown, how passionate she is about cooking, on why she founded Siyahi, and of course The F-word!

How did you feel the need to have a literary consultancy Siyahi?
It came from a growing awareness that a lot of authors needed a direct link with publishers and that their writing needed professional and creative handling.

Why did you choose such a naughty and misleading title for your first literary venture?
😀 It’s a light hearted book and the catch was to get people to pick it up.

When and how did you begin penning The F-word?
The writing happened over two and a half years though the idea had taken birth long back.

You have handled literary events, authors and are heading the literary agency Siyahi…. When and why did you decide to move over to be an author yourself?

I’ve been writing for a long time …as a freelance journalist. I am a very live in the moment person…will do exactly what my heart tells me to.

How do you don so many hats and yet look at cooking, which honestly is just a chore for most working women, as a “fun and creative” process?
I love food…I want to eat a good meal after putting in hours of hard work every day. Cooking is sheer joy for me – just this morning my colleague called and guessed I was in the kitchen.”You sound happier, are you in the kitchen cooking?”

How different was JLF in 2006, when it began from what it has grown to be now?
JLF 2006 was the birth year of the festival. The growth incline is tremendous, stupendous. Its far more representative, and has gathered broader spectrum than what it began as, which is natural as well.

While going through the manuscript of The F Word was it like the editor in you was over critical of the writing?

Yes, at one point after re-reading the first three chapters, the agent in me rejected the manuscript. It took me a week to face the fact that I must not run away from rewriting from scratch which is what I did. I’ve always been critical of my writing – till I don’t run it through some of the people whom I can trust to tear me to shreds, I don’t send any piece out.

Were you and your folks comfortable with you making your first release a part-memoir?

Yes. I guess they didn’t have much of a choice – we simply laughed our way through it.

Are you working on another book? Is it also nonfiction?
Yes, but it will take much longer this time.

Your favourite novel and writer.
Ha ha, you don’t ask a lit agent such questions!

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