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Indian Literature in English

Basic information about many Indian authors writing in English has been put together at a site in Singapore and compiled by The Week Magazine.

Upamanyu Chatterjee

An officer in the Indian Administrative Service, now in Bombay, Upamanyu Chatterjee admits to drawing upon his own experiences for his first book, English August, but denies that it is autobiographical. It became a best-seller of sorts, and was recently made into a film. It was scripted by Chatterjee in collaboration with the director, Dev Benegal, and succeeds in translating the atmosphere of the book into this different medium.

Shobha De

Shobha De is one author who consistently buys her publisher's daily bread. A well-known newspaper columnist, and the editor of India's largest selling film (fan) magazine in the 70's, she has authored several potboilers since her first-- Starry Nights.

Anita Desai

Anita Desai has been shortlisted for the Booker prize twice; first for the book Clear Light of Day in 1980 and again in 1984 for In Custody.

Amitav Ghosh

The Circle of Reason, Amitav Ghosh's first book, was noticed but never became a best seller. The Shadow Lines, his second novel, was immensely popular and was widely translated. He has since written two more books-- In an Antique Land and The Calcutta Chromosome.

Rohinton Mistry

Now a resident of Canada, the Bombay born Parsi author Rohinton Mistry became famous with his first book-- Such a Long Journey. Nominated for the Booker Prize in 1991, this book is set in Bombay and gives a picture of Parsi life that is entirely at variance with popular myths about this community. Many of his short stories are also set in the imaginary Parsi building Firozeshah Baug, somewhere in Bombay. A second book, A Fine Balance, is also set in Bombay.

Kiran Nagarkar

Kiran Nagarkar wrote in Marathi for many years before producing a screenplay which was the basis of his first English novel Ravan and Eddie. His second novel, Cuckold, was published in 1997.

Salman Rushdie

Although Salman Rushdie lives in an unknown location in England, he is the primary chronicler of Bombay in the English language. The city figures as a major character in his 1981 Booker prizewinning second book Midnight's Children, and also forms part of the background in the controversial book The Satanic Verses. His most recent work The Moor's Last Sigh was informally banned in Bombay, and was a candidate for the 1995 Booker Prize. Some of his short stories have been collected in the volume East-West.

Arundhati Roy

The publishing sensation of 1997, Roy's first book The God of Small Things was an instant bestseller and got the Booker Prize. A Syrian Christian from Kerala, Roy has a degree in architecture, and has previously written screenplays. She drew on her memories of childhood for the setting of her first book.

Allan Sealy

Sealy's first novel Trotter-Nama was extremely well received. Born in Allahabad in 1951, Sealy went to school in Lucknow and graduated from Delhi University. He drew on his knowledge of Lucknow for the background to Trotter-Nama. His second novel Hero was followed by a travelogue: From Yukon to Yukatan. His most recent novel Everest Hotel was called into the Booker shortlist (1998) by the jury.

Team. Created on Aug 8, 1995; last updated on Feb 6, 1999.