Vineetha Mokkil is the author of the short story collection A Happy Place and Other Stories (HarperCollins, 2014). She received an honourable mention in the Anton Chekhov Prize for Very Short Fiction 2020. She was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Award in 2018 and was a nominee for Best Small Fictions 2019. Her work has been published in Gravel, the Santa Fe Writers Project Journal, Barren magazine, The Best Asian Short Stories 2018, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Cosmonauts Avenue, Asian Cha, Fictive Dream, Spelk and Jellyfish Review, among other journals.
Q: If you could travel back in time, which of the great writers would you like to meet and why?
A: I’d love to sit down and have a chat with Charles Dickens. I am in awe of his novels. There’s so much to talk about… I have a million questions about his process (he was so prolific!), his vision and style. Any writing tips he is willing to share would be much appreciated.
Q: What superpower would you like to have and why?
A: I’d like to have superhuman powers of focus. To flip a switch, tune out the world, and write anywhere, anytime.
Q: If you could teleport yourself anywhere, real or fictional, where would it be and why?
A: That would be Taos, New Mexico. A very real but magical place. I spent some time at Taos a couple of years ago on a writing residency, and the landscape, the energy of the place and the warmth of the people let me be my best creative self. I felt completely free, completely at home there.
Q: Who is your personal inspiration?
A: Arundhati Roy. I am inspired by the fierce tenderness of her writing and by her activism.
In the Bakshi household, it was always family tradition to drink together on Sunday evenings. When we were kids, Nikhil and I used to sit at the table, orange juice in hand, watching Ma and Papa clink their glasses. We had a guessing game going. ‘Guess what whiskey tastes like?’ Cow piss/Honey/Cough medicine ‘Wine?’ Grape …