Month: May 2006

  • "Dig it out!": Seamus Heaney

    Seamus Heaney talks to Sam Leith about poetry: In 1963, he found Hughes’ Lupercal in the Belfast public library.“I will always remember taking it down, and opening it at View of a Pig, and – whooh! This was something I had known myself, and I thought it was secret, and nothing to do with modern […]

  • The BS column: Banned in India (Part One)

    (Carried in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, May 23, 2006; part two next week) For a state often accused of knee-jerk censorship, the number of books banned in India is surprisingly small—one reason why The Da Vinci Code isn’t likely to be stopped at Customs, despite the recent hysteria over the film. In the first […]

  • Stacked: The summer reading special (with Jai Arjun Singh)

    (Carried in the Business Standard weekend section, May 2006, this was put together by Jai and me; he did most of the fiction, I did most of the non-fiction and children’s books, and we traded as much information as we could.) A recently-divorced Booker prizewinner writes a novel about a recently-divorced painter, and now Susan […]

  • Book review: Londonstani

    (Carried in The Indian Express, May 2006)LondonstaniGautam MalkaniFourth Estate, LondonUK Price POUNDS 11.99, 343 pages This is supposed to be The One: an “electrifying debut”, a searing look at masculinity, the Asian scene and the new tribes of London, topped off with the huge advance (POUNDS 300,000) without which no self-respecting first-time novelist today would […]

  • The BS column: SAPs and WIMPs

    (Carried in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, May 7, 2006) Along with every other reader in the world caught between publishing hype and authorial reality, I think it’s time we had a stock exchange for authors. Call it the Writers Index of Marketing Performance (WIMP). WIMP would take these factors into consideration: the amount of […]

  • The BS column: John Kenneth Galbraith, novelist

    (Carried in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, May 2, 2006, the week Galbraith died) “For some seventy years my working life has been concerned with economics, along with not infrequent departures to public and political service that had an economic aspect and one tour in journalism,” wrote the late John Kenneth Galbraith in one of […]

  • The BS columns: The Kaavya affair

    (The first column was written the day before news of the Kaavya plagiarism scandal broke, and was carried the day after…) The really interesting thing about Kaavya Viswanathan’s novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life , has absolutely nothing to do with the book itself. The story of Opal Mehta, […]

  • Spam, spam, beautiful spam

    (I don’t usually post my Time Out columns about cyberspace–they go out of date too fast–but this one on spam was kind of fun to write. Carried in Time Out, Mumbai, April 2006) Dr Mariam Abacha, look what you went and did. Though the infamous Nigerian ‘419’ scam wasn’t the first rip-off scheme to go […]

  • The BS column: Muriel Spark

    (Carried in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, April 18, 2006) In 1953, eight years before The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was published, Muriel Spark typed up her curriculum vitae; these two paragraphs will give you a flavour of the whole. “1947-1949: edited “Poetry Review” and changed the policy, rather too abruptly, to include younger […]

  • The BS column: The Kitab festival

    (Carried in Speaking Volumes, the Business Standard, April 10, 2006) The first day of the Kitab festival, a group of students hover uneasily outside the Stein auditorium. “We don’t have passes…” one of them says uncertainly. “You don’t need passes. Just come on in,” they’re told. By this Sunday, the last day of the festival […]