Kolkata, Nov 30 (PTI) A spirited discussion on gender bias faced by authors and depiction of female characters in books gave litterateurs in the city a chance to share their experiences with the audience, while stressing on the need to change the trend.

Author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, who was a part of the four-member panel, said the editors at publishing houses are mostly women, but the marketing honchos are the ones who call the shots in the industry.

“One of my scripts received great appreciation from the editors, but the publishing house wanted to me to reduce the age of the protagonist,” Kundu, whose erotica novel ‘Sita’s Curse: The Language of Desire’ received rave reviews, said at the meet here recently.

Talking about gender discrimination, popular Bengali writer Anita Agnihotri said an eminent male writer had once told her that women have it easy as there were not too many authors to compete with.

“A woman journalist is usually always sent to interview a woman author. It is a strange trend that I see. I am looking forward to a day when four women panelists will sit for a discussion, solely devoted on issues of men,” she said.

She asked all budding women authors to take inspiration from Mahasweta Devi and Nabanita Dev Sen, who have carved a niche of their own.

Kundu said there was a lot of “gender politics at play” and one has to be accepted by important publishing houses to make their mark in the industry.

Among others who participated in the discussion was eminent designer and artist Swarup Dutta, who also pitched for change in representation of women in works of literature.

Anjum Katyal, the director of Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, moderated the hour-long session.

The discussion was followed by announcement of shortlisted names for Prabha Khaitan Woman’s Voice Award.

The winners would be felicitated at Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival in January.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.