We caught up with Robin Mukherjee who’s in between preparing for this TEDx talk and adapting a novel into a feature film.
Have you taken part in an event like this before? If so, how many (talks)?
This will be my first TEDx talk, but I have spoken on many occasions in different contexts, usually on subjects related to writing or philosophical thought associated with the literary arts. I teach on a regular basis at Bath Spa University, both for undergraduate and post-graduate students, which provides a great opportunity to explore the subject in company. I also present guest lectures at other institutions and, occasionally at conferences.
How do you feel about your appearance at TEDxWandsworth?
To be honest, a little trepidation. Of course I’m also delighted to have the opportunity to share some ideas and very much look forward to hearing the talks of my fellow speakers. I usually submit quite a lot of my presentations to the inspiration of the moment, but time-strictures and the nature of TEDx means I shall have to be a little more orderly.
What do you hope to achieve by giving this talk?
It would be good to raise questions about the art of writing. Scriptwriting, in particular, is a collaborative process, so it might be beneficial to explore something of how it actually happens.
What inspired you to take part in TEDxWandsworth?
I was invited by Amman Abid. My policy is to say yes to invitations unless there is a very good reason to say no. That this one is quite a challenge made it impossible to refuse.
What is one technique you’d use to keep the audience interested? Is there a talk you like to think back to because of their technique or topic?
I will do everything I can to connect with my passion for the subject. The best talks that I have heard are not necessarily the most carefully composed, or choreographed but are ones that made me share in the speakers love of whatever he or she was exploring.
Which TED talk do you find you have adapted and has contributed to your life?
I can’t remember whose it was, but an educationalist spoke beautifully about the need to educate the heart as well as the head.
If you could pick one thing you wish you knew when you were younger what would it be?
Don’t worry about the future.
When did you decide that this was the career route you wanted to take? What convinced you?
I knew as a child that I needed to write. I thought of it as a possible career option at around 16 years of age, but was encouraged to try alternatives. It was when I realized that I was frankly not much good for anything else that I came back to writing.
What is one lesson you had to learn the hard way?
Listen to your intuition. It is always right.
What is the biggest motivating factor in your life?
The pursuit of truth; not as an idea or ideology, but as that which is real and authentic in anything, be it speech, art, an experience or a relationship.
Robin Mukherjee is a screenwriter and is currently adapting the Paul Scott novel “Staying On” with support from the BFI.