Monday, April 27, 2009

Amit Chaudhuri interview

Q:What kind of novel is it that you write? I wouldn’t call you a noisy novelist.

A:I’m not a noisy novelist, no. I’d say I write novels involving random digressions and distractions. I cannot dwell on one thing for too long. So I am not the right candidate to write a novel of deep psychological realism and inwardness, or a heavily researched historical novel with a kind of social-science sensibility—a type of writing I abhor, actually, but which is endemic to a lot of Indian writing. My novels deal with inwardness but also with outwardness, with allowing oneself to be seduced by distractions and interruptions, to let oneself go there.

Full interview

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Elizabeth Strout wins 2009 Pulitzer Prize in fiction

"In a certain way, no, I don’t have a stake in whether people like Olive. Some people have told me they absolutely love her, and some people have said they can’t stand her but they’re still very drawn to the book. And so I don’t have a stake in their reaction to Olive, I have a stake in their reaction to the book. I hope that even if they have a negative response to much of Olive’s behavior, they are maybe still drawn into this humanity that is underneath all of her action[s]. ...

It is a haunting experience. It’s a strange experience. And I’ve though about this with each of my books, because they, in a huge way, do occupy me [within] my mind, and when I’m not writing about them I’m mulling over who they are and what they might do. And I live with them and love them for long periods of time and then they’re done, and I sort of can’t imagine they ever will be done, but then they are. And so far, luckily, there’s been another emergence of something else."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Kamila Shamsie interview

Mohammad Hanif, writer, interviews fellow Pakistani writer Kamila Shamsie, shortlisted for Orange Prize for fiction for her novel Burnt Shadows in Hindustan Times.

MH: Fifth novel at such a young age. How do you react to the label overachiever?

KS: I’m pretty sure if I were an over-achiever I’d try to...climb a mountain, test all the biryani recipes in the world ... learn how to juggle. Instead, All I do is sit around and write, so clearly I’m an underachiever...doing the same thing over and over and still so far from figuring out how to do it right....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

So, why is Arundhati Roy issuing a press statement this time?

When Arundhati Roy issues a press statement, you have to sit up and take notice. This time it's about Dr. Binayak Sen, the brilliant doctor who spent whole of his life working amongst the poor and underprivileged. Though his contribution to society has been recognised in india and abroad - even among the academics - he has been now languishing in jail for 22 months for a framed-up charge under a draconian law. Few have raised a voice against this State behaviour( Tehelka did a expose-all cover story without any impact on the administration or judiciary). Even in this election time, no political party spares a word about the good doctor's stay in jail without any hint of justice. Under the circumstaces, who can you look to except Arundhati Roy who really can, in an amazingly free and fearless way, speak out against any kind of atrocity perpetrated on an individual, a community or a race by the powers-that-be anywhere in the globe?

The press statement:

Dr Binayak Sen has been in prison for 22 months, arrested under one of India's most draconian laws, the Chattisgarh Special Public Security Act. This Act has such a vague, diffused definition of 'Unlawful Activity' that it renders every person guilty unless he or she can prove their innocence. Dr Sen's bail application was dismissed twice, both times at the very outset, by the High Court of Chattisgarh and by the Supreme Court of India. On neither occasion was there a discussion on the merits of the case. On the 2nd of December 2008 the High Court of Chattisgarh once again turned down his bail application, without a discussion on the merits of the case, saying that there had been no change in circumstances.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why Roberto Bolano Now?

Because once again, literature in the West seems to have grown complacent: it isn't so much written as manufactured. The genres dictated by mainstream publishing are suffocating. We're in need of a prophet - or an enfant terrible - to wake us from our slumber.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The enlightened world of Pico Iyer

Writer of Global Life of Individual

I write because I have to. All I have learnt in life is to read and write. And as I read and write more, I move further and further away from making a living.

In the April issue of The Hindu: Literary Review, Ziya Us Salam has an interesting article on Pico Iyer.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Another Charlotte Roche interview

It's not that I like Charlotte Roche's work anyway. In fact, from reading of extracts from her controversial novel Wetlands, I understand she's no real writer by any means. But then she is honest and outspoken in an obsessive silly-funny way. So, another interview here, in which she says:

And it is not allowed for me as a young feminist to say that women are masochistic. I am and all my female friends are. We stand in front of the mirror, we are naked, and we feel ugly as fuck. We see everything as wrong. We try and fight our body to become prettier and work on it. It's not at all free and self-confident. I don't want it to be like that, but I see that it is

Friday, April 3, 2009

IMPAC Dublin literary award 2009 shortlist

The IMPAC Dublin literary award 2009 shortlist, just announced, has eight finalists:

1. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

2. Ravel by Jean Echenoz, translated from the original French by LInda Coverdale

3. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

4. The Archivist’s Story
by Travis Holland

5. The Burnt-Out Town of Miracles by Roy Jacobsen, translated from the original Norwegian by Don Shaw and Don Bartlett

6. The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt

7. Animal’s People by Indra Sinha

8. Man Gone Down by Michael Thomas

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Is writing now timid?

“Nobody would have the balls today to write The Satanic Verses, let alone publish it. Writing is now timid because writers are now terrified.”

The novelist Hanif Kureishi, a friend of Rushdie’s since before the fatwa, has a new take about the impact of the campaign against The Satanic Verses

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Milan Kundera is 80 today.

Milan Kundera is eighty today. Yes, he was born on April 1, all fools' day.

Is there any one out there who knows how the great writer is - after the crushing, made-up controversy which must have taken a heavy toll of his old age?

Has he written any novel after Ignorance?

Do people still love high seriousness and low humour of his novels?

Is Kundera fading away in this intellectually downtime?

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