31 May 2023

Trying to Fit Everything, and the Kitchen Sink Too

Priya Kulasagaran @ Priya K is a freelance writer based in Kuala Lumpur. After (barely) graduating law school, she began her career as a journalist, specialising in feature reporting on education, health, and lifestyle matters. Priya has since delved into various other forms of storytelling, including theatre, film, performance poetry, and video games. She is currently juggling between writing corporate copy, and getting back to creating more personal work.

Priya was part of the Malaysian Writers and Readers Get Together event on 14 May 2023. She shares her creative experience in an interview conducted by Uthaya Sankar SB.


What was your ambition as a child?

I wanted to be either a palaeontologist or the Prime Minister, but ended up being more interested in digging up stories about politicians.


When did you first realise you wanted to be a writer?

Probably around my early teens, as I become more interested in learning about the craft itself. Before then, I just saw writing as a means to better articulate my jumbled up thoughts to other people (and sometimes even to myself).


Who are your favourite Malaysian authors?

At the moment, Salleh Ben Joned.


Where do you get your ideas or information for your writings?

I sometimes genuinely have no clue, but I’ve found inspiration from news headlines; other art works (books, films, music); eavesdropping on strangers’ conversations; and people-watching.   


Which was your hardest book/piece to write?

The current piece I’m working on — a script on identity, political beliefs, and idealism. It has been something I’ve kept putting aside (because I was trying to fit everything and the kitchen sink into it) and returning to (because I can’t stop thinking about it) over the past few years.


What do you do when you are not writing or reading?

Painting, making small arts-and-crafts projects, watching bad horror movies, and wasting too much time online.


What does your family think of your writings?

My parents have always been kind and supportive of my work, even the pieces they find weird. I just realised I’ve not shared much of my creative work to extended family — will report back once this happens.


How do you handle writer’s block?

Ungraciously, with hit-and-miss results. Lately though, one of my biggest sources of writer’s block is the fact that I write for a living; it can be harder to write after spending the day … writing. Doing something different (like painting) helps a bit.


If one of your writing/book should be translated into Bahasa Malaysia, which one would you choose and why?

Maybe a poem I wrote on cultural influences and assimilation — it’d be interesting to see what it would look like in Bahasa Malaysia.


Date: 31 May 2023