WRITING IN SEPIA TONES: USHA K R

Usha K RHer short story Sepia Tones won the Katha Award in 1995. She has published four novels hence, that’s in sixteen years, and many of them have been nominated for honours or have won awards. novel, The Monkey Man was on the short list of the prestigious DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2012. Another of her novels, ‘A Girl and a River’ was short listed for the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2007 and later in the year it won the Vodafone Crossword Award. It was also shortlisted for the Golden Quill Award, run from Bangalore. She was at IOWA in 2011 to participate in their International Writing Program. This is my conversation with Usha.K.R, writer par excellence.

This interview was published in print in 2011 in the MediaVoiceMag.  I would put this one quote from her the best words I have heard from a writer in the recent times.

I think writers improve with age. They ‘find’ themselves, their voices become stronger, they take their readers more into confidence and find the assurance to become more experimental. But publishing today seems to be impatient with that, driven by the next new find: Usha K R Continue reading “WRITING IN SEPIA TONES: USHA K R”

Anuradha Roy, the Writer from Ranikhet

Anuradha Roy  with Suneetha Balakrishnan

Anuradha Roy’s first novel, An Atlas of Impossible Longing, received rave reviews, was translated into 14 languages, published in 16 countries, and listed for the Crossword Prize, the Shakti Bhatt Prize and the IMPAC Award in various years. The book was published in the U.S. in May 2012, and shared the Washington Post’s Best Books 2011 list with Murakami’s 1Q84.

The Folded Earth, Roy’s second book, meantime celebrates at this side of the globe. It was considered for the Hindu Literary Prize 2011 and was on the long lists in 2011 for the Man Asian Prize and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Roy’s non-fiction, For ‘Cooking Women’, won the Picador-Outlook Non-fiction Prize 2004.

I had this conversation with this ‘Writer from Ranikhet’ who works at Permanent Black, an independent press and lives at Ranikhet with her husband Rukun Advani and their dog, Biscoot. This interview was published in print in early 2012 in the MediaVoiceMag. Continue reading “Anuradha Roy, the Writer from Ranikhet”

A Versatile Pen: Anjum Hasan

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She ‘lives in a house with a yellow door’. She also flexes her pen to  gentle verse as well as lyrical prose and handles the short and the long forms of fiction with equal deftness. 

Meet  Anjum Hasan, writer.

Anjum’s critically acclaimed poetry collection Street on the Hill in 2006 was closely followed by the publication of two novels. The first one titled Lunatic in my Head was published in 2007 and was referred to as a confident debut and short listed for the Crossword Fiction Award 2007. It went on to do an Australian edition in 2010. Her next fiction book ‘Neti, Neti’, was not only appreciated but also was nominated to awards like the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, the Hindu Best Fiction Award 2010 and the Man Asian Literary Prize. This book went on to be published in both Australia and Sweden. Anjum’s short story collection ‘Difficult Pleasures’ came out in 2012 April from Penguin and in the same month went on to be long-listed for the 2012 Frank O’ Connor International Short Story Award. Continue reading “A Versatile Pen: Anjum Hasan”

A ‘Chinaman’ from Lanka: An Interview with Shehan Karunatilaka

“But writing for awards is a mug’s game, and those who do it should have their pens confiscated.” Shehan Karunatilaka

 

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Srilanka, cricket, writing, the next word in line these days is Shehan Karunatilaka. This bass-passionate adman’s debut novel Chinaman: the Legend of Pradeep Mathew won the 2008 Gratiaen Prize,  the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2012 and the Commonwealth Book Prize 2012. Meet Shehan. I did this interview in Dec 2011, while he was on the shortlist of the DSC Prize. (Of course Shehan went on to win, barely a month after this conversation) Continue reading “A ‘Chinaman’ from Lanka: An Interview with Shehan Karunatilaka”

The Good Old Whodunit: A Review of JFK by Jhangir Kerawala

 

JFK book cover

Jhangir Kerawala’s JFK might, at the first instance, lead you to think so, but the book has nothing to do with the U.S. Presidential elections or the assassination of that former President of the same name.  This is a simple thriller, a story set in the streets of Kolkata, a whodunit right in the traditions of the city of Feluda. The man who goes after the killer is not a dashing, specially gifted or fated-to-be-solver of crime, but someone like you or me, with a perfectly day-to-day profile. He is out-of-work, job-hunting, middle-aged, and his life is slowly turning sour because of his unemployed status, which again is his own fault. His only oasis in this life is his pal Manish, who is everything he is not and his support in troubled times right from day one. So, Jatin the hero, is thrown off his balance when Manish- the-alter-ego, calls him up on a rather bad line, and says ‘JFK”, and the next thing he knows is that Manish has been murdered. Continue reading “The Good Old Whodunit: A Review of JFK by Jhangir Kerawala”