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Painting a Residency

I spent most of May and a part of June at the De Pure Fiction residency in a tiny, isolated hamlet in the Occitanie in France. To write about the place and what it did to my work and to me will take time -- to reflect, to let things settle. Meanwhile, Isabelle Desesquelles, the French novelist who runs the residency, asked me a set of questions before I left, and has posted it on the blog with watercolours I painted while I was there. La Lettre #36 _______________ Anuradha Roy a publié cinq romans. Elle a résidé à la maison De Pure Fiction en ce printemps pour son prochain livre et depuis, les chevreuils, les oiseaux - rouge-gorge familier, huppe fasciée, pivert, coucou - les lézards verts, les libellules bleues, les papillons semblent s’être mis eux aussi à la lecture, la cherchant sous les pétales d’un coquelicot ou au travers du feuillage des oliviers. Peut-être même, tous, envisagent-ils de faire le voyage jusqu’en Inde et l'Himalaya où Anuradha Roy vit,
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All the Lives We Never Lived is out now in Chinese

    It's been a long road with the translation, from October 2020 when the process began, to now. Publishers and writers have to be persevering and patient individuals. I'm very grateful to Qin Yang, Literary Editor at Horizon Books, who came across the book during an event I did at the Jaipur Literature Festival, decided to read it, then championed its cause and convinced Horizon to take it on. She and translator Tan Xueran took infinite care of the work, getting in touch about tiny details and nuances of language. Orhan Pamuk, Peter Handke and Louise Glück were published at Horizon long before they were awarded their Nobels, Qin had told me at the start. I'm very happy to be in their company in the Horizon list and hope some of the gold dust from the greats falls on this book.

Begum Anees Khan

  Once a week around midday, Maulvi Sah’b would come in through the gates of our school in Hyderabad and class would divide briskly into two and troop off to different parts of the building. Those who were Muslim would be at religious instruction classes with him for the next half hour while the others trudged through moral science lessons. Something similar happened during language classes. We would hear a singsong chorus of “A-salaam-aleikum, Aunty”, from the Urdu classroom as we sat at our Sanskrit or Telugu lessons. Through my nomadic childhood, I’ve been at many schools. None exemplified the idea of secular India as intensely as this Muslim school in Hyderabad. Begum Anees Khan, who made it so, died in Hyderabad on August 16. Her passing feels symbolic, as if it signifies the death of a quixotic idea.  Anees Khan was not given to seeking the limelight or making speeches. She never spelled out her secularism. It was instinctive: instead of words, there was action. Stud

The Earthspinner is travelling

There is exciting news to share.  The Earthspinner is now out in two more languages, finding new readers in countries where English is not the first language. Translations make me very grateful -- such immense dedication from the publishers and especially the translator, in whose words an author's work finds new worlds. I've always wondered whether readers far away, unfamiliar with India, reading in a different language, read almost a different book from the one I've written. I'll never know. I read many books from other languages too and at a recent discussion on translation at the Oxbelly Writer's Retreat from which I am just back, a panel consisting of Fiammetta Rocco, Yukiko Duke, and Chigozie Obioma tackled precisely this question. Their response, and that of the audience, was unanimous: even when translations lose something of the original, they also gain a great deal too, and the book in the new language is a new entity. In Romanian it is published by Human

All the Lives We Never Lived wins the Sahitya Akademi Award 2022

  Anuradha Roy bags coveted Sahitya Akademi Award, 22 others feted Anuradha Roy bagged the coveted Sahitya Akademi Award on Thursday. The author of 'All The Lives We Never Lived ' was felicitated along with 22 other authors for their exemplary contribution in the field of literature. This is the fourth book penned by the 40-something Roy. This book also won the prestigious Tata Book of the Year Award for Fiction in 2018. The book revolves around the life and times of a horticulturalist Myshkin, who narrates his life story, and his unending wait for letters from etters from the mother who abandoned him, for greener pastures in another country. Roy, who lives in Ranikhet, has previously written 'An Atlas of Impossible Longing', 'The Folded Earth' and 'Sleeping on Jupiter' which won the DSC Prize for Fiction 2016. It was also longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in the year 2015. Read more at:

Language, Lost and Found

In France for a long spell earlier this year, everyone around me speaking in a language I didn’t speak or read, I began to think about the many streams of language I've swum in. My mother tongue, Bengali, was the language of home and of intimacy. Yet somewhere along those years, with a sigh drowned out by babel, the language had left me. I tried to find my way back to it through writers like Leela Majumdar and Bibhutibhushan. In "Language, Lost and Found" out now in Noema Magazine, I write of how I found it again, and of language in alien contexts. I'm not sure if this essay is travelogue or memoir or a bunch of stories. But here it is, and I hope you will read it.  It was a red paperback with a green, winking cat spread across its large front. Just a few taps pulls it up on my screen now, and I wonder if my mental image of the day my father came with it as a gift for my brother and me is the work of memory or imagination. He walks in as if he has a happy secret and l

The Goa Heritage Festival

  It must have been my lucky week. Laila Tyabji, who is somehow puckish, formidable, and beautiful all at the same time, was my housemate at the Goa Heritage Festival . I went to the festival with my mother, she with her daughter Urvashi. Our foursome began each morning with plans for the day and ended with a gossipy, raucous dinnertime postmortem. In between we went to the many fascinating talks and discussions. I came away with wisdom and gentleness from Damodar Mauzo, Gnanpith-awarded Konkani writer, who was the third occupant of the Surya Kiran Heritage Hotel bungalow, which was the venue of the events as well as our warm and pleasant temporary home. Laila gave an illustrated talk on saris and that evening there was a playful sari catwalk, showcasing Kunbi saris, at the enormous, carnivalesque mela spread across the park opposite the hotel, where there was food, drink, music, local produce every day. I was in conversation with Vivek Menezes , who was curating and conducting our bi