Category: Writing

  • Joan Didion and writing

    Joan Didion and writing

    In the 1970s, Joan Didion did an interview with Tom Brokaw. “It’s the only aggressive act I have,” she says of writing. “It’s the only way I can be aggressive.” Didion died this week at the age of 87, leaving behind a towering legacy as a journalist, a memoir writer, a novelist. Over the years, […]

  • Black River, and endings

    Black River, and endings

    When is a novel done? When you know that you have to let go of these characters — these people, their lives, their landscapes, their hopes, their unspoken dreams and wishes, their griefs and heartbreaks, their struggles, their failures, the moments of transition and transcendence — and you are finally at peace with that.

  • Our Freedoms: an anthology of stories, essays and poems on liberty

    Our Freedoms: an anthology of stories, essays and poems on liberty

    Buy Our Freedoms at Juggernaut “With the idea of freedom becoming a distant memory with each passing day, it is difficult to describe the tenor of disquieting times like this. The recently-published anthology Our Freedoms does just that while amplifying voices that hope to make India’s constitutional morality unfailingly stronger. Edited by columnist Nilanjana S. Roy, […]

  • A seat at the table

    Where I grew up, we were taught – or we didn’t have to learn, it was in the air, something you could catch like a virus that settled in your gut – to pay attention to men. If those men were geniuses, then they were owed more than your attention. Adulation, or an unquestioned acceptance […]

  • Sundays with The Modern Review: Tagore and Gandhi

    (Note: The Modern Review archives run from 1907, when it was founded by Ramananda Babu, to the 1960s. Since this volume was intended to commemorate Ramananda Chatterjee, we looked only at volumes published between 1907 to 1943, the year of his death, and included a few articles from the August 1947 issue as well. Patriots, […]

  • Booklove: Mama Amazonica, Warlight, The Recovering

    This site has been left under dust covers for a while. My apologies – here are three recent pieces I did for the Financial Times on new books by Pascale Petit, Michael Ondaatje and Leslie Jamison. (You’ll need a subscription to sign in on the FT’s site – or just go and buy the books, […]

  • Travelling tales: The Panchatantra

    For the BBC’s 100 Stories That Shaped The World, I wrote about The Panchatantra, and a subject I love – myths, fables, and how far they travel. “In the first millennium, roughly 1,500 years ago, a pair of jackals began travelling around the world. They were known in India as Karataka and Damanaka, and they were […]

  • The FT column: Future Shocks

    The FT column: Future Shocks

    The pull of dystopia might be that it allows us to explore present-day anxieties more easily by setting them safely in the future. This week’s column explored what we’re worrying about: “I am Borne. I talking talking talking.” One of the first complete sentences he says to Rachel introduces one of the great conundrums of […]

  • Book Review: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

    Book Review: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

    an elegy for a bulldozed world, Roy’s instincts placing her once again on the side of the outcasts, challenging Delhi’s infamous ‘insider’ culture by foregrounding a far more interesting set of city insiders.

  • Bob, or the Book of Books, and the pleasure of lists

    Bob, or the Book of Books, and the pleasure of lists

      This week’s column for the Financial Times is about Pamela Paul’s My Life With Bob – an account of the slim, no-frills notebook where she kept the simplest of records, logging the names of all the books she read, from 1988 onwards. So simple, and yet so revealing, if you can bring yourself to […]