Sometimes, something seemingly small and innocuous like an emotion, a vague memory or even the melodic sound of a name can be big enough to birthe a story: Avinuo Kire

BY | Wednesday, 27 December, 2023

Like many writers, Naga Writer Avinuo Kire began her literary journey with an immense love for stories. “As a child, I loved reading and listening to stories. In time, it felt quite natural to gradually shift from the role of listener to being the storyteller,” says Kire. A writer and teacher from Kohima, Kire has authored The Power to Forgive and Other Stories (2015), The Last Light of Glory Days and Other Stories (2021), and a collection of poetry, Where Wildflowers Grow.

Avinuo Kire’s literary journey reflects a profound connection to her Naga roots, emphasizing the importance of unlearning and relearning in her evolution as a writer. She draws inspiration from the diverse lives around her, especially the ordinary, and the captivating Naga Hills and the stories they hold.

“Sometimes, something seemingly small and innocuous like an emotion, a vague memory or even the melodic sound of a name can be big enough to birthe a story,” notes the Writer.  Ultimately, for Kire, the common denominator here is honesty. As long as one is present, Kire believes that honesty and attentiveness to one’s surroundings are key to finding inspiration anywhere.

The writer also admits that she don’t have a writing process. “If at all, it’s a tedious back and forth process which begins and ends with writing, with endless editing, agonising and redrafting in between,” says Kire.

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On the challenges and advantages of writing from Nagaland and the Northeast, Kire posits that the rich Naga cultural heritage with folklore and legends offering a unique wellspring of creativity is an advantage. However, Kire notes a challenge in avoiding the pigeonholing of Northeastern literature, urging writers to transcend stereotypes and embrace diverse themes beyond indigenous, political, or folk narratives. “One challenge could be how because of varied reasons, there is a tendency, both by ourselves as well as from the so called mainstream, to confine our writings to the site of production-  as writings from the North East with characteristics features which can be a double edged sword as this might hold us back sometimes,” Kire notes.

As a woman writer from the Northeast, Avinuo Kire feels fortunate to have received support and creative space from women publishers and editors in the country and in Nagaland- from Penguin Random House to Zubaan to Speaking Tiger, then closer home, Penthrill and Barkweaver. “Perhaps there’s something to be said here,” reflects Kire.

While acknowledging the importance of constructive feedback, she advises aspiring writers to be open to life and new experiences, read widely, hone their craft patiently, and not rush into publication. “It always feels good to receive praise but praise won’t help you grow as a writer. Rather, invite constructive feedback from knowledgeable people and stay open to criticism,” asserts Kire.

Currently working on her next book, the Naga Writer mentions her new work will take time before it sees the light of day.

Although, one of Nagaland’s recent writers, Kire’s literary insights and narratives has immensely contributed to the growing literature tapestry in the State and the region.

Avinuo Kire is a writer and teacher from Kohima, Nagaland. Kire has co-authored an anthology of oral narratives titled Naga Heritage Centre-People Stories: Volume One (2016). She currently teaches English at Kohima College.

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