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Showing posts from January, 2020


Late in 2018, I had a message from a stranger in the United States. He was delighted, he said, to see Bernard Leach’s A Potter’s Book included in my list of six favourites in a magazine he had been reading. He was a potter, his name was Jeff Diehl, and he thought the Leach classic was an unusual title to feature on a novelist’s list. I wrote back explaining that though my work was writing and designing book jackets, I made pots too (after a fashion).  Over the next months this kind stranger replied in careful detail to every question I asked him about kilns, glazes, pots, wheels. He sent me formulae for glazes he thought might work for me; he worked out programmes suited to my new kiln, sent video links, articles. The generosity was staggering. There also came fragments about Lockbridge Pottery, and his family and other animals: his potter-wife Donna, their two sons, their dog and cat. Our messages travelled on the internet, but they felt like letters. 


The Nilimarani Sahitya Samman 2020 for contribution to Indian Literature  was instituted by the Odisha's prominent cultural magazine Kadambini. It was given last year to Odiya writer Manoj Das. To receive recognition for my work from writers and editors in Odisha, which has a remarkable literature of its own, was a great honour. The ceremony took place on 5th January in Bhubaneshwar, at a literature festival for local magazines that is run by Kadambini. (left to right) Achyuta Samanta, MP; Rahul Dev, journalist; Haraprasad Das, writer; Santanu Kumar Archarya, writer; Salman Khursheed, former foreign minister: Rajat Kapoor, theatre director; Mridula Garg, writer; Itirani Samanta, writer and editor Ever since I’ve come back from Bhubaneshwar I haven’t stopped telling people about the remarkable work that is being done by Kadambini and the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences, which is another arm of the organisation. It was wonderful to experience the vibrant lite