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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Edited by: Vrinda Rastogi

Hello readers! I am very excited to bring you a most exquisite mix of personalities for today’s roundtable discussion. These esteemed gentlemen are authors of much renown. Any first-rate consumer of literature would surely be aware of their work. So, without much ado, I introduce the various authors which will feature in the roundtable. First, we have Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a pioneer of the criminal and suspense genres, known for his immortal creation of Sherlock Holmes. We also have Mr. Fyodor Dostoyevsky, one of the most well-known Russian authors today, his books are unique in the breadth and depth of their inquiry. Joining us today is Nobel prize winner, Mr. Ernest Hemingway, one of the best novelists of all time. Last, but not least, we have Mr. George RR Martin, the creator of the Game of Thrones Universe, which happens to be one of the most well-known fictional creations of our time.

Our discussion today will focus on the reasons why these authors chose to write in the first place. We will pick their brains to understand why they write in the fiction genre and how their work differs from those authors who write in the non-fiction genre. They will also discuss, albeit briefly, what they seek from a work of literature when they read. We will start with Mr. Dostoyevsky.

D: Thank you very much for allowing me this opportunity, I’ll be brief, as I am more interested in what my fellow authors have to say. When I write, I feel I am lessening the burden upon my soul. I feel that I am resolving the contradictions which I grapple with daily. My characters reflect my own insecurities and flaws. They also communicate my hopes and desires, though implicitly. For this reason, I prefer fiction. It makes it easier for me to write and easier for the reader to read. Nobody likes reading long drawn-out philosophical essays, they are dry and often miss the mark, by saying too much. A good work of literature to me is a book that says a lot, in as few words as possible, that is truly remarkable.

Sir Doyle, would you like to go next? I see you are still gathering your thoughts, well, in that case, Mr. Hemingway it is your turn.

H: I agree very much with Fyodor. He has hit the nail on its head. My prose is also an attempt to tell the reader my side of the story, life, as I have seen it. Writing is an escape from reality, it helps to alleviate the pain of daily drudgery. To me, a good piece of literature is something that leaves me better off than when I found it. A book that makes me cry, gives me goosebumps, stirs my mind to think deeply, or simply makes me laugh has done its job well.

Sir Doyle insists that he will go last, which leads me to you. Mr. Martin, the stage is yours.

G: I feel rather dignified in the company I find myself in, here. It would not be remiss to say that I am but an amateur compared to the kind of authors we have assembled here. I write fantasy fiction and in that respect, my work is slightly more commercial. I also try to entertain the reader as best I can, without focusing too much on telling them something, at least explicitly. When I create a world, I make sure to populate it with as many perspectives as possible. This makes it quite easy for me to discuss the finer aspects of the human condition in small sections peppered throughout the novel. Most of what I write is open-ended and deliberately so. For, I feel, a good book leaves some things unsaid and incomplete.

Sir Doyle, the closing remarks are yours.

A: Well, this has been quite the education, discussing writing with all you most distinguished gentlemen. I consider myself a part-time author. My books became popular almost by accident, I feel George will sympathise with me on this. The stories I wrote were much like his, entertaining. That they defined a new genre of writing was merely a result of the period I began writing in. I have dabbled in the non-fiction side of things as well and I must confess that I agree with Mr. Dostoyevsky. It is woefully boring to write and read such works. It is suitable for some topics of discussion, for instance, I can’t imagine the science of Industrial production being reduced to fiction. However, when it comes to matters like Psychology, the occult, and similarly subtle discussions, fiction, and especially poetry, is perfect for transmission purposes. Short, concise, and imbued with deep meaning, the words of mystics and thinkers make the best literature for me.

Truly, a most enlightening discussion. I thank all of you for your participation. It seems most of our authors are in agreement over why they choose fiction and what makes them write the way they do. I will encourage all of you readers to read these authors if you haven’t already.

Srijay Raj

Ashoka '23

I am interested in spirituality, music, films and politics.