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Posts Tagged ‘Kiran Desai’

2013 Guggenheim Fellows Revealed

The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has released its list of 2013 Fellows, and the list includes a number of literary winners.

Kiran Desai, Adam Johnson, Rachel Kushner, Ben Marcus, David Means, Terese Svoboda and Colson Whitehead were all named fiction fellows for 2013. The nonfiction fellows included: Joshua FoerJ. C. Hallman, Bill Hayes, Sylvia Nasar, Carlin Romano and David Rosenberg.

We’ve rounded up more literary winners below. Here’s more from the committee: “This year, after considering the recommendations of panels and juries consisting of hundreds of distinguished artists, scholars, and scientists, the Board of Trustees has granted Fellowships to 175 individuals.”

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A Year After the Booker, Kiran Desai Reflects

Hot on the heels of announcing the Man Booker Prize shortlist for 2007, the organization catches up with last year’s winner, Kiran Desai, after a year-long worldwide tour:

Having won the prize, do you feel a different kind of pressure surrounding your next novel?

No. I don’t notice outside pressure if I’m really working. My self-consciousness vanishes. In the end, there is only myself and my book keeping each other company, alone together, perverse and happy. The pressure is only that of making the book work for it seems impossible to write a perfect book. Yet, of course, as a reader, I hunger for it. It’s a constant desire and I know I’ll write another book for that reason. There is always the feeling that something got away. Where is that thing – the sublime novel? What would it feel like to hold that in my hands? Whenever I come across it as a reader, I read trembling. Like any art form, when it works, the person experiencing it exists in a form of grace. I hunger for that feeling as a writer as well as a reader.

Desai is vague about her next project, which is understandable in light of the long gap between novels one and two. No doubt the gap will be almost as wide between two and three…

Orange Broadband Prize Shortlist

The Orange Broadband Prize has whittled its longlist down to a mere half-dozen names:

Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Arlington Park, Rachel Cusk
The Inheritance of Loss, Kiran Desai
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, Xiaolu Guo
The Observations, Jane Harris
Digging to America by Anne Tyler

“The 2007 Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction shortlist is incredibly exciting,” commented Muriel Gray, Chair of judges. “It represents six beautifully crafted pieces of work that are as accessible as they are fascinating. That this outstanding writing should come from such diverse sources that includes five different nationalities, a world famous author, as well as a first-time novelist, is doubly thrilling.” The overall winner will be announced on June 6.

The Orange Broadband Prize Longlist

Have to remember to write in that “broadband” in the official title, but the UK’s award for best novel by a woman has announced its longlist, which includes Booker Prize & NBCC Award winner Kiran Desai, Costa Award winner Stef Penney, Jane Smiley, M.J. Hyland, Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, Anne Tyler and Jane Harris. In total there are nine British authors on the list, four Americans, two Australians and two Canadians. The other three are from China, India and Nigeria.

“This year’s Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction longlist is an absolute delight given the diversity and quality of the work,” commented Muriel Gray, Chair of Judges. “Our decision has resulted in a spectrum arching from several new novels of outstanding merit, to exciting new books from important and established authors. Subject matter varies from the minutiae of personal experience, the exuberance of free thinking, the thrilling and entertaining epic, to the witty, the highly political, the challenging and enlightening.”

And the NBCC Awards Go To…

While NBCC Board member Rebecca Skloot liveblogged the awards, Ron and I sat through a somewhat speedy ceremony emceed by president John Freeman and highlighted by Mary Gordon‘s glowing retrospective and tribute (accompanied by retro Jill Krementz photography) to Sandrof winner John Leonard, followed by Leonard’s own words, a speech so filled with mirth, self-deprecation and reflections on present and past reviewing that I hope the transcript is made publicly available at some point. Nona Balakian winner Steven G. Kellman was a quote-a-minute, namechecking the gamut from H.L. Mencken (who had unkind words about criticism and even more scathing words about poetry – partly because of a volume he himself had written and then done everything in his power to squelch) to Lily Tomlin (“we’re all in this together – alone,” as applied to book critics, who Kellman quipped “are the only critics who can do their job in their underwear.”)

Then came the awards:

Criticism: Lawrence Weschler, EVERYTHING THAT RISES: A BOOK OF CONVERGENCES (McSweeney’s)
Poetry: Troy Jollimore, TOM THOMSON IN PURGATORY (Margie/Intuit House)
Non-Fiction: Simon Schama, ROUGH CROSSINGS: BRITAIN, SLAVES AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (Ecco)
Biography: Julie Phillips
, JAMES TIPTREE, JR.: THE DOUBLE LIFE OF ALICE B. SHELDON (St. Martin’s Press)
Autobiography: Daniel Mendelsohn, THE LOST (HarperCollins)
Fiction: Kiran Desai, THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS (Atlantic Monthly Press)

It’s an award winner list of some surprise – Jollimore’s win especially surprised the poetry faithful in the audience – and some that might have seemed like a surprise, like Desai, but on further reflection are just about right. Ron’s got more about notable quotes and the afterparty, but I’m especially happy to have chatted with John Leonard about his new prize, his belief that literary blogs are “where the passion is” and finding good books to read that might be off most people’s radar. It doesn’t get much better than that.

India’s Publishing Industry Grows up, Expands

Thanks to Kiran Desai‘s Booker Prize win, India has been getting even more attention of late. But not all their notable writers live abroad in places like London and New York, and its homegrown talent, the Guardian reports, is getting further due. But for those who have moved away, Nilanjana Roy, one of India’s foremost literary critics, can understand why. “For the Indian writer working in English, going abroad was one way to reach the marketplace, to lessen the very considerable distance between publishers, editors and agents in the west and the writer at ‘home’,” she says. “Vikram Chandra and Amit Chaudhuri teach at universities abroad; other writers have shifted because they have access to better jobs, more scholarships.”

But the Booker Prize has affected the future of Indian novelists. Arundhati Roy’s Booker prize win in 1997 sparked an interest in Indian writing which has led to many new publishing houses being set up. The fact that this year’s Booker prize winner is yet another NRI does not matter to poet and novelist Jeet Thayil. “There is no difference between non-resident and resident writers now. I see it as one body of work,” he claims. “If you are a 21-year-old writer living in some little town in India and you read everything you can get your hands on and really learn your craft you have every chance of being published in New York.”

And with the recent emergence of the Jaipur Festival, which has attracted expats like Desai, Salman Rushdie, and Sukethu Mehta to return (albeit briefly) there’s a sense India is really coming into its own, and branching out beyond literary borders. “I like the way that other literary genres have begun to open up,” Roy says. “Anushka Ravishankar does excellent children’s writing, Kalpana Swaminathan writes detective stories, Samit Basu spins fantasy Indian-style.” And maybe, English-language publishers will figure it out and publish them elsewhere…