Literary Luminary Hornbill Harcel Talks Poetry and Passion

Hornbill Harcel

Hornbill Harcel was born in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, and grew up in Punjab, India. She debuted with the book Woebegone Wynds in 2021. In the wake of her debut book, Hornbill Harcel received the Sahityakosh Samman and Author Awardee Award in 2022.

The Ukiyoto Literary Awards recognized her as Poet of the Year at the Kolkata Literary Carnival 2024 and her book was translated into German, Italian, and Japanese. She was recognized for literary work and contributions on World Book Day and was nominated for the Literary fairy tales (LiFT) Award.

Where the Piopios Sing is her second book. Apart from her published books, the author has contributed to anthologies such as “The Mutiny that Lies Within” and “The Memory Keeper’s Diary”. She is fond of chasing wild paths, charting new courses, and seeking adventure.

When she is not working as a Software Engineer, she is raiding books from shops, and libraries, and trudging up hillsides. She wrote her first poem when she was 14 years old and fell in love with writing ever since.

She became the cover star for the Allureiva magazine Vol 29 in Mar 2022, and her exclusive interview appeared in the Presstone Passion review magazine, Issue 02. She was a participant and writer for The Rising Writers 2022.

Her writing was selected among the best writers at Blooming Kalakar and her blog for Words to Glory was deeply appreciated.

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

Hornbill Harcel: Writing and reading has been my passion since childhood. I always used to write for myself to understand my emotions, deal with my anxiety and keep my mental health in check.

Until I realized that the beautiful thing about humanity is that we have a lot more in common than what separates us, and those differences are the key to who we are and the beauty it brings to the world.

It is the differences that allow us to trace the beautiful similarities and catch a glimpse of what is pure and provide an insight into the human story. When we open ourselves to the world, we appreciate each other’s narratives.

Though we must never forget that access is a privilege and not all stories are ours to tell. Sometimes we are simply observers, and our only participation is to just be and learn. At other times, we get to share the tales of the mystery and magic we see in someone else’s life and take inspiration from their experience. That inspiration motivated me to share my experiences with the world and I decided to pursue the life of an author.

How many books have you written?

Hornbill Harcel: I have published two books till date. My first book is called Woebegone Wynds which was published with the Indie Press in 2021. It has been translated by Ukiyoto Publishing into German, Italian, and Japanese.

My second book is called Where the Piopios Sing which is published with the Leadstart Publishing and was recently released on 26 April 2024.

Can you briefly describe your works?

Hornbill Harcel: Woebegone Wynds is a poetry book which depicts a story of a corrupted world with unequal rights and privileges, social and cultural injustices, capitalism, corruption, and discrimination which is tantamount to the bona fide world.

Where the Piopios Sing is a collection of poetries and excerpts that sing the song of loss and grief. The book is divided into nine parts and each part moves the readers a step closer to destruction.

The book is personified as a person experiencing lost love, lost friendships, lost childhood, lost home, lost justice, lost wars, lost freedom, lost innocence, lost aspirations, lost identity, etc.

The book collects stamps from unread journals and undelivered letters belonging to people of different backgrounds and histories and paints them in the colors of bittersweet blue.

Both my works invoke the imagery of slipping through the grasp of time and take the readers through the landscape of yearning and introspection, stripping the hearts vulnerable and longing for solace.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Hornbill Harcel: I have a mercurial writing schedule depending upon my work schedule, travel, and other commitments. Usually, I spend 2-3 hours writing per day on weekdays and 3-4 hours on weekends.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Hornbill Harcel: There is no fixed timing. Writing books is akin to a bird building a nest to lay eggs. It begins with a spark of inspiration or a phrase that forces itself to be spilled on a paper. Imagination takes me to different corners concerning that initial piece of idea.

But there is a lot of groundwork and research involved in writing. Multiple paths could result in different results. It is about finding the right pitch and rhythm to a song. The finished product always brings satisfaction, but you experience immense felicity when your words reach the audience and resonate with them.

Who has been your inspiration in this journey?

Hornbill Harcel: Multiple people have inspired me in this journey. Every person who has been an essential part of my life has influenced my writing in a little way. I have an unplumbed interest in human psychology and knowing the stories of people.

What is the message you want to spread among folks with your writings?

Hornbill Harcel: I think there is a lack of empathy and understanding among people. We are creatures of conflict and sort ways to be dominant and be heard above others. We are stubborn in our understanding of the world.

There is more ‘gray’ in the world than there is ‘black’ and ‘white’. We could be a hero from one perspective but deem a villain in the eyes of another. We judge others based on one corner of a page neglecting the whole book.

This is something that cannot be eradicated. But if we all become more open to accepting others and understanding their viewpoints, we might be able to understand ourselves better and that I feel is the point of books.

What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

Hornbill Harcel: Personally, the editing of the initial drafts is a very tedious process. Revisions are like a carpentry process where a lot of remodeling, re-writing, and crossing out is involved. It usually reminds me of waking up from a nightmare where even amidst panic, you are both scared and relieved.

Sometimes ideas come naturally. It feels as if my DNA has fallen effortlessly on the paper.  My process usually involves playing with the initial idea and getting them down no matter what. In conclusion, I write a lot, and very little remains in the end.

What advice would you give a new writer?

Hornbill Harcel: I cogitate that people often give up on writing because they worry too much about other’s opinions and accreditation. The young generation who wishes to explore the literary cycle should forget about likeability and write from the heart.

They should never lose sight of what message they want to deliver by their work and never comprise with their beliefs. One of the most important steps is to read different genres of different cultures and widen the thought process and hone the craft.

One should be willing to accept criticism and build on that foundation. I would recommend journaling, wild writing. Consistency and confidence can do wonders to a writer.

Where can readers purchase your books?

Where the Piopios Sing

  • Amazon India –
  • Amazon International –

Woebegone Wynds

Amazon India –

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