In Conversation with Agni Tripathi – Author of The Line Reader

Agni Tripathi is the author of the book The Line Reader whose interactions with colorful people from different walks of life encouraged him to begin writing from a very young age. The Line Reader, a collection of short stories, is the first book of this promising young author.

Tell us something about yourself.agni tripathi

I am a Brand Manager by profession who can be labelled as the stereotypical Engineer+MBA. Out of office I am writer, a passionate photographer and an enthusiastic musician. I also carry the tag of having studied in thirteen different schools.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What inspired you to write this book?

I used to be a regular contributor for my school and college magazines. Although back then I had no aspirations of being a “published author” but I do remember that I used to be pretty excited to see my stories in these magazines. My first few stories were actually in Bengali. It was only in high school that I started writing stories in English.

The Line Reader is a collection of short stories which were written over a period of 7 to 8 years. Most of these stories were compiled during my days at Manipal as an Engineering student. In those days there used to be lot of interesting people to observe, interesting incidents to be noted and most importantly, quite a few boring lectures to be utilized for writing.

Why did you do a collection of short stories instead of a full-length novel?

I have always written short stories. That is perhaps because my stories are triggered by single incidents or moments. However, I am open to experimenting with a novel if I do find an appealing story to tell.

Where do you get the ideas for your stories?

I had once stumbled upon a saying by one my favourite authors, Mr. Ruskin Bond – observe, recollect and reflect. That’s what I try to do.

Which story from the collection is closest to your heart? While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?

My favourite is the story The Line Reader. I had goose bumps when I had conceived the idea and I still remember that I was sweating when I had finished writing the story.

What authors do you like to read? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

I always enjoy reading Ruskin Bond, R K Narayan, Amitava Ghosh, J K Rowling, Adam Douglas, Khaled Hosseini and Aravind Adiga. Among Bengali authors I love the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Sarat Chandra Chatterjee, Satyajit Ray and Shirshendu Ganguly.

What do you think makes a good story?

the line reader

That is a very difficult question. Can we actually chalk out a framework for a good story?

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

Writing can be really challenging after a full day at work. But I am really inspired by the fact that several popular writers (of the present time) actually have a full-time job. My endeavour is to resume writing after a couple of months or so. But first I want to catch up on a lot of reading.

Anything you would like to say to your readers?

My expectation from this book is not monetary gain. Those who are familiar to the publishing industry would know that money made from royalty of even best-selling books (on an annual basis) is often lower than the month’s salary of an average middle-aged corporate executive. What I really hope is that the book reaches a decent number of readers and makes for an enjoyable read. If at the end of the read, readers feel that they would willingly pick up the next book that I write, I would consider this as a successful attempt.


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