Why do we writers do it – why do we agonise over thoughts on a page, getting the words right? There’s surely one answer: to make an impact on someone else.
The French Canadian author Yann Martel won the Booker Prize for his novel The Life of Pi. The book tells the story of a boy who is shipwrecked in the Pacific Ocean. He survives 227 days stranded on a boat with a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. Martel’s riveting tale has two possible conclusions: one real and one fanciful. I once heard him giving a talk in which he was asked which outcome he preferred.
Now someone else has joined the discussion. Out of the blue Martel received a letter from President Obama (see below). This must be the ultimate accolade when thinking about what effect one’s work has on others.
(By the way, the novel was rejected by at least five London publishing houses before being accepted by Knopf in Canada. It’s also about to be realeased as a spectacular film.)
If you want to read Martel’s own thoughts, go to http://www.powells.com/fromtheauthor/martel.html where he speaks of the influences and inspiration behind his work.