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Can books have something telepathic between them? It certainly felt that way to hold Ramu Velar's book in my hands and to read it in one greedy sitting last night. How miraculous it should be published in the same week as my new novel, The Earthspinner . As I turned the pages of A Potter's Tale it felt many times as though the potter in my book, Elango, had sprung from Ramu Velar.   Ramu Velar describes the way he excavates clay from a pond, how "my grandfather was a potter and so was my father".  Exactly like the potter in my book, Elango.  A few pages later, Ramu Velar tells us how as a child, "each of us would bring a handful of grain from home, pluck drumstick leaves from a nearby tree, throw everything together into a pot and cook until we had a mess of rice and leaves..."  Here is Elango, describing the moringa (drumstick) tree in his courtyard:  "Elango came back from the pond that afternoon and settle down to smoke and draw, leaning against the
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Christopher Maclehose and I talked together to Georgina Godwin about the brand new Mountain Leopard Press and the Earthspinner , his brilliant career spanning Murakami, Umberto and Steig Larsson, how Rukun Advani helped him choose the name for his press, how he discovered my first book in 2007 and went on to publish all the books I've written. The "impossibly glamorous" Christopher (as Georgina describes him) is wonderful to listen to, and while dogs feature a great deal in this conversation, so does a motorbike. And the singer Marianne Faithfull. You can listen to the interview here.  


The Earthspinner will be published in India on 3 September and in the UK on 9 September.  

Singing in the Rain

The postman brought bound proofs of THE EARTHSPINNER today despite the pouring rain.  From images and ideas - to notes in a notebook - to drafts on a laptop - to a thing you can hold and turn the pages of -- it feels like an impossible journey every single time. But here it is. And will be out in September from Mountain Leopard Press London and Hachette India.


(Public art at the entrance to Ranikhet; photo by Anuradha Roy) This article was first published in Scroll, 20 May 2021 ; translated into Spanish by Daniel Gascón for Letras Libres )     Sound carries long distances in the clear air of the Himalaya. These last weeks, as I lay awake much of the night in knots of anxiety about friends and relatives in the big cities, I could hear hoarse coughs – pausing, coughing again – in the house down the hill. The oldest son had insisted on going to a wedding in Haldwani, 80 kilometres away. He came back and within days his extended family of ten had fever. They kept the coughs as quiet as possible. Nobody stepped outside other than two of the children who were seen every day struggling back from the market with groceries. Two weeks later, after dodging the virus for a whole year, I started showing symptoms. It began with an inexplicable stomach upset, developed into fever, sore throat, body ache. I had never seriously thought a

What We Need: Animals and Touch in Lockdown

  "The longer we are denied what we took for granted, the more intensely we yearn for it." ( Published in Lit Hub and Indian Quarterly ) At the hour when, in pandemic times, sleep tends to thin or spin into nightmares, I felt one of my dogs climb into my bed last night. She placed herself against me so that she found the curve of my neck where she knows she can rest her head. This dog has trained me for five years, and not for nothing: although I was half-asleep, my hand reached out as if it had a life independent of my drowsiness, and my fingers began to run through her fur. With each movement of my fingers, her breathing deepened. So did mine. The nightmares receded, and we fell asleep together. Not long ago, we used to hug, kiss, stroke. We touched the feet of the elderly to show respect. They blessed us by resting their hands on our heads. Today, scenes in films that show people flying into each other’s arms at airports or sharing the same spoon at a café bring about a

All the Lives We Never Lived in Chinese

Rights to the Chinese translation of All the Lives We Never Lived have been acquired by Horizon, one of the most prestigious literary publishers in China. They publish an exceptional list of authors, including Khaled Hosseini, Hermann Hesse, Orhan Pamuk, John Williams, Roberto Bolaño, Sara Gruen, and Sarah Waters. Not many Indian novels are translated into Chinese and it is even more unusual at a time when things are not too warm and loving on the Indo-Chinese border. It's good to see publishers refusing to let a few border disputes get in the way of their need to bring out what they value.         The book has so far been translated into German (Luchterhand/Random House), French (Actes Sud), Romanian (Humanitas), and Russian (Azbooka Atticus). Other than UK (Maclehose Press) and India (Hachette India), other editions of the book have been published in the US (Atria/ Simon&Schuster), Sri Lanka (Perera Hussein), Large Print (Thorndike), Audiobook (Atria).