Spark – January 2018, 8th Anniversary Issue

We have great pleasure in presenting the January 2018 issue of Spark themed ‘Celebrating the Written Word’. It’s a wonderful milestone for us as we complete eight years this January! We can’t put in words what an incredible journey this has been and we must say that this issue has turned out as a fitting representation of all the wonderful things we have been able to do at Spark in these eight years! Our contributors celebrate and pay the perfect tribute to the written word through fiction, poetry, non-fiction and art, bringing in some amazing perspectives. We also feature two interviews this month – with Philip John, writer of the popular story blog, ‘Labyrinths’ on Facebook & Bhumika Anand, Founder & Director of the Bangalore Writers Workshop (BWW). Plus we have a delightful list of avid readers sharing their memorable reads from 2017. We have so much in store for you in this special 8th anniversary issue and we can’t wait for you to read it and let us know what you thought of the edition! Happy reading in the brand new year!

Writing Builds Bridges of Understanding, Both Inside and Outside: Philip John

In an interview to Anupama Krishnakumar, Philip John, writer of the story blog ‘Labyrinths’ on Facebook, talks about his association with the written word, his writing process and what it takes to run a page that unfailingly publishes one flash story or a poem every day.

2017: My Year in Books

Six passionate lovers of the written word share what their reading journey was like in 2017 – their favourite books; lines from books that they loved, connected with; and new authors they discovered.

Summer Home

‘Summer Home’ is Sowmya’s attempt to evoke the feeling of a short and quiet period of time in the midst of the buzz in a front yard during a summer vacation, where a book and the words within were the magical portal to an escape from the scorching summer reality.

‘Sing Unburied Sing’ Just Broke My Heart:  Nandita Lakshminarayanan

Nandita enjoys reading contemporary literary fiction and loves to read diversely across borders and style. Here are the books that stole her heart in 2017.

What Was That Again, Mr. Tharoor?

Suresh Subrahmanyan takes a quirky look at the redoubtable Shashi Tharoor’s verbose conversational methods.

You Simply Cannot Become a Good Writer If You Don’t Also Read Voraciously: Bhumika Anand

In an interview to Vani Viswanathan, Bhumika Anand, Founder and Director of Bangalore Writers Workshop, talks about what it means to work with writers on honing their writing skills, and what impact this has had on her own writing.

The Social Game

Oscillating between paranoia and the fear of being branded a social outcast, Sandhya Ramachandran explores the current trends of the social game in verse, wondering if the written word as we know it has any place in the world today. 

I Read to Make Sense of What Was Happening: Yayaati Joshi

Yayaati reads to quench his curiosity. Lately, though, he has been reading less fiction than before. He shares what he enjoyed reading in 2017.


Why do I write? For expression, and in the hope my work will leave behind my legacy, shares Malcolm Carvalho through this poem.

My Elusive Muse

Chandramohan Nair reflects upon his creative writing experience and the circumstances and factors behind his infrequent episodes of writing, spanning four decades.

I Picked Up ‘My Father Baliah’ from the Movie ‘Kabali’: Shrinivas SG

Shrinivas enjoys reading almost everything, but of late, he has tried reading more non-fiction focusing on the underprivileged, on history or caste in society. His comfort zone though, is books on business, technology and sport. He shares his memorable reads from 2017.

Divya’s Amma

A young girl discovers another side to her mother one lonely afternoon, thanks to some old books. Vani Viswanathan tells Divya’s story.

I Finally Managed to Discover Keigo Higashino: Ashlesha Bagadia

Ashlesha loves reading fiction that has elegant prose. She particularly enjoys books that have been able to depict complex medical or psychological themes in a language that can be understood by everyone and keeps the reader engaged. She tells Spark about her journey with books in 2017.

‘It’s Only Words, and Words are All I Have…’

Suresh Subrahmanyan looks longingly at the addictive power of words and how the arduous craft of writing ‘the perfect sentence’ becomes a magnificent obsession.

Of Readers, Writers and Life

Anupama Krishnakumar writes three pieces of flash fiction that show how the written word is a subtle and indispensable presence in the lives of many people, often being the catalyst for uplifting, memorable and life-altering moments.

‘Eleanor Oliphant…’ is Undoubtedly the Best Book I Read in 2017: Hamsini Ravi

Hamsini has been in love with books ever since she can remember. She loves books about books, such as ’84, Charing Cross Road’, ‘The Guernsey Literaryand Potato Peel Society’, ‘The Reading Promise’, ‘The Book Thief’ and ‘My Life with Bob’. She tells us what she enjoyed reading in 2017.

The Death of Blogging

Parth Pandya explores how the world of blogging has evolved through his own journey as a blogger and how the changing trends in Internet usage have put an end to the world of the amateur blogger.

Café Conversations To the Backdrop Of a Rattling Keyboard

Malcolm Carvalho has found the setting of a café both intimidating and receptive as a writer. This poem is about one evening spent writing while still being a fly-on-the-wall.

I Caught Up on Some Philosophers in 2017: Vijayendra Mohanty

Vijayendra is a digital life form. His reading interests range from publishing to evolution and from science fiction to grammar. He writes fiction as well as non-fiction, the latter focusing on media, creativity, and culture. He tells us what his reading journey was like in 2017.