TRIUMPHING THE UNORTHODOX
Amanda Jaytissa is celebrated as ARTRA's Emerging Artist for her imaginative and steampunk novel ‘The Other One’ in delving deep into contemporaneous themes in stylistic fashion. Taking on the roles of both author and publisher, we applaud Amanda for her courageous attempt at self-publishing this riveting novel, withstanding the challenges they pose for a first time novelist. Amanda was Daily ARTRA’s first feature artist for the year, and ‘The Other One’ was the recipient of the prestigious Fairway National Literary Award 2018 presented at the Galle Literary Festival in February this year.
‘The Other One’ being Amanda’s debut novel published in 2017 is characterized by surrealism and science fiction. Trying to find a backdrop for her narrative, she developed the concept of a clockwork city, a surreal, abstract place which her ensemble of characters Ezra, Tom, Felix and Kaelyn inhabit. She believes that the idea came from the complicated relationship human beings share with the idea of time.”We all keep ticking on. We all run like clockwork. People are kind of stuck in their routine to the point that they keep going around and around and around.” By portraying this clockwork city, Amanda ventures into speculating an alternate reality that deals with universal issues related to religion, politics, family and relationships. Steampunk as a genre negotiates between history and fantasy; while focusing on the nuances of human emotion and human existence. We found ‘The Other One’ seamlessly fusing the surreal with the personal and the individual excellently.
Amanda, despite being an entrepreneur by profession always desired to be a writer. She immersed herself in novels since her childhood and naturally ventured into writing with encouragement and guidance from her parents. She states “If you like reading, the next natural step would be writing. So I ventured on that. When I was maybe eight or nine years of age, I started writing a story of mystery”. However, Amanda reminisces about a time when she was hesitant to show her writing to anyone, harbouring an innocent personal connection with her creations. Embarking on ‘The Other One’ was therefore, a difficult journey of self-realization and coming to terms with her in-bred talent for literature. “I always wrote on a very personal level. My characters just started to form from the bits and pieces of my writing.” The book claimed two and a half years of Amanda’s busy schedule, of which formulation and research taking place between early 2015 to May 2017.
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