Yasmin Khan: The Raj at War
The Hindu Businessline / Writers

Yasmin Khan: The Raj at War

Somewhere, halfway through Yasmin Khan’s wonderful new book, I go looking for a picture of Aruna Asaf Ali, née Ganguli. I have only the vaguest recollection of her, but the woman Khan describes is entirely fascinating. When we first meet her, Aruna, the wife of Congress party member Asaf Ali, is “more noted for her … Continue reading

Naresh Fernandes: Writing to the Beat of Bombay
Journalists / The Sunday Times / Writers

Naresh Fernandes: Writing to the Beat of Bombay

Naresh Fernandes arrives for his session at Cinnamon Colomboscope covered in sweat. It’s a hot day but Fernandes has been on a brisk walk around Slave Island. He is fascinated with the parallels he sees between this city and his own – the frenetic development, the deepening class divide,and the contradictions inherent in democracies that … Continue reading

Simon Singh: Seeing is not Believing
Jaipur Literary Festival 2015 / Scientists / The Hindu Businessline / TV People / Writers

Simon Singh: Seeing is not Believing

Simon Singh is immediately recognisable in a crowd — his dramatic haircut riffs on a Mohawk and his oval, gold-rimmed glasses glint in the light. One of Britain’s leading science communicators, Singh left Cambridge with a PhD in particle physics and followed that with a stint at CERN. He then joined the BBC as a … Continue reading

Sarah Waters: ‘What if the lovers were female?’
Jaipur Literary Festival 2015 / The Hindu Businessline / Writers

Sarah Waters: ‘What if the lovers were female?’

How do you find lesbians in 19th-century London? For her first book Tipping the Velvet, three-time Man Booker Prize nominee Sarah Waters went looking for women cross-dressers in police and prison records. There was other evidence too: medical histories, love letters, records of women living together as long-term companions, all of which provided rich fodder. … Continue reading

Jaipur Literary Festival
Jaipur Literary Festival 2015 / The Hindu Businessline / Writers

Jaipur Literary Festival

\All week, the 2015 Zee Jaipur Literary Festival has been churning out headlines – from the announcement that Amish Tripathi’s much anticipated new book The Scion of Ikshavaku will be about Lord Ram, to the cordial meeting of the once bitterly-estranged writers Paul Theroux and VS Naipaul. The last drew some of the biggest crowds … Continue reading

Vimla Velthas, Sharmini Pereira, T. Shanaathan, T. Krishnapriya: A House in Jaffna
Academics / Commonwealth Writers / Painters / Researchers / Writers

Vimla Velthas, Sharmini Pereira, T. Shanaathan, T. Krishnapriya: A House in Jaffna

Vimila Velthas lays out lunch on the table in the courtyard. She has prepared a traditional Jaffna meal – yam, coloured orange with the heat of chillies and cooked till creamy, a spicy fish and eggplant curry served with fat grains of red rice. Velthas presses her guests to eat more and scoffs gently at … Continue reading

Nalaka Gunawardene and Kavan Ratnatunga: At home with Arthur C.Clarke
Commonwealth Writers / Scientists / Writers

Nalaka Gunawardene and Kavan Ratnatunga: At home with Arthur C.Clarke

Earth hangs suspended over a stack of old magazines, in what used to be Arthur C. Clarke’s foyer. Parts of the aging space mural are peeling, but the sight is still pleasing to visitors entering the home of one of the 20th century’s greatest science-fiction writers. A floor above, past the green sign on the … Continue reading

Adam Johnson: A View from Within
Jaipur Literary Festival 2015 / The Sunday Times / Writers

Adam Johnson: A View from Within

Earlier this year, activists from the Cinema for Peace Foundation thought smuggling copies of ‘The Interview’ into North Korea via hydrogen balloon was a good idea. Adam Johnson doesn’t agree. The author is not against smuggling things in, in principle. He’d just rather the activists choose a different film. In the now widely criticised Hollywood … Continue reading