Month: December 2006

  • Wole Soyinka’s tape? You’re under arrest.

    Wole Soyinka couldn’t attend his father’s funeral for fear that he would be arrested: I recorded a farewell message, including lines from Dylan Thomas’ poem to his dying father, and I ensured it was played at my father’s funeral. As I recalled in my latest memoirs, You Must Set Forth at Dawn, secret service agents […]

  • Nadine Gordimer: No Cold Kitchen

    Nadine Gordimer has had much to survive this year–being assaulted by thieves at the age of 82 in her own home, grimacing reviews of her most recent novel, and now more reports about the rift between the Nobel Prize-winning author and her biographer, Ronald Suresh Roberts. Rachel Donadio reports for the New York Times: Among […]

  • Word of the day: hikikomori

    I came across “hikikomori” in this short review by Mark Panek, and, being an ignoramus, was immediately fascinated: Yasukata Tsutsui’s “The Lion” thus turns from a light surrealist piece about being yourself into a kind of indictment, when we learn in the accompanying interview that he has quit writing altogether, withdrawn in protest like a […]

  • Galle-d: Sri Lanka’s literary festival

    The Galle Literary Festival sounds like yet another great pitstop on the writers’ version of Formula One–you go round and round endlessly, at very high speeds, before you crash and burn–known as the global litfest calendar. The list of participating authors has several Sri Lankan writers–including Romesh Gunesekera–and many of the usual suspects, from William […]

  • Kashmir, Lahore, Sudan: bookshops

    Yoginder Sikand trawls Lahore’s bookshops and comes back disappointed: Lahore’s famed Urdu Bazaar, located in a chaotic, run-down part of the old town, consists of several narrow lanes lined with filth-clogged drains.I spent two days in the bazaar and visited each of the dozens of small bookshops it boasts of. On the look-out for literature […]

  • Birkerts on Sacred Games

    “I opened to the inside cover, where I saw printed in giant caps “AN EPIC NOVEL OF CRIME, FAITH, FAMILY, AND DESTINY,” a tag so basic as to be invisible. But then, just below, in slightly smaller caps: “$300,000 MARKETING CAMPAIGN.” Sven Birkerts on receiving the advance copy of Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games. Birkerts is, […]

  • "My Father’s Suitcase"

    I have rarely been as moved by a piece of writing as I was by Orhan Pamuk’s Nobel lecture: As you know, the question we writers are asked most often, the favourite question, is; why do you write? I write because I have an innate need to write! I write because I can’t do normal […]

  • Noblogging excuse # 267…

    …you think “the dog ate my homework” was lame? Try “my cat slashed my eyelid into two matching crescents”. Mara, our 10-year-old diabetic cat, decided for reasons known only to a cat balanced on the fine edge between divine madness and creeping senile dementia that four am would be a very good time to climb […]

  • Events: If you’re in Delhi this week…

    Tuesday 12 December:4 PM: Gulmohar Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodhi Road Penguin India hosts a discussion on the book 13 Dec: A Reader–The Strange Case of The Attack on Indian Parliament. Speakers: Arundhati Roy, Indira Jaising, Nandita Haksar, Nirmalangshu Mukherji, Praful Bidwai, Shuddhabrata Sengupta. “Most people, or let’s say many people, when they encounter real […]

  • A Lille bit of this, a Lille bit of that

    Should’ve posted this ages ago, but was very busy goofing off. Ruchir Joshi and Indrajit Hazra went to Lille for a writer’s festival that’s part of a larger Oriental scene-type thing, and all they brought back were hangovers and these memories: Indrajit Hazra: Rather incredibly for a northern-European town replete with 18th century classical-baroque architecture, […]