PunchMag

The Byword/INTERVIEW/PROFILE

Conversations with TS Eliot

Conversations with TS Eliot

Snatches from a rare and unpublished conversation with T S Eliot (1888-1965) by Professor Shiv K Kumar (1921-2017), poet, playwright, novelist and short story writer. Before his death, Professor Kumar had graciously given The Punch Magazine the permission to publish this.

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Mohammed Hanif: The War Behind the Lines

Mohammed Hanif: The War Behind the Lines

Pakistani author Mohammed Hanif, whose fiction is enlivened by an irrepressible satirical strand, exhibits the sadness of his heart at the state of affairs around the world — read wars — in his third novel, Red Birds

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Conversations with Khushwant Singh

Conversations with Khushwant Singh

Snatches from a rare and unpublished conversation with Khushwant Singh (1915-2014) by Professor Shiv K Kumar (1921-2017), poet, playwright, novelist and short story writer. Before his death, Professor Kumar had graciously given The Punch the permission to publish this.

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Andrew Otis: The Story of India's first newspaper

Andrew Otis: The Story of India's first newspaper

Andrew Otis’s book, Hicky’s Bengal Gazette: The Untold Story of India’s First Newspaper, is the story of James Augustus Hicky, the architect of the first newspaper in India

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Conversations with Octavio Paz

Conversations with Octavio Paz

2018 marks the 20th death anniversary of Nobel Prize-winning Mexican poet and diplomat. Octavio Paz. Excerpts from a rare, so-far unpublished snatches of a conversation with him in 1982 with late Professor Shiv K. Kumar

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In the end, a novel is about controlling time: Sumana Roy

In the end, a novel is about controlling time: Sumana Roy

"Seeing and blindness, marriage and poetry — they are all metaphors in Missing. I wanted to look at the speed of news, its artificiality, and how that speed has gradually been smuggled into the generic novel – that's not the speed at which we live our lives"

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Anuradha Roy: Past forward

Anuradha Roy: Past forward

I want readers to feel and think and be immersed in its world, says Anuradha Roy of her new novel, All The Lives We Never Lived

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The ocean is a place of shifting margins: Ranjit Hoskote

The ocean is a place of shifting margins: Ranjit Hoskote

Poet, cultural theorist and curator Ranjit Hoskote’s latest collection of poems, Jonahwhale, published by Hamish Hamilton, is a meditation on water

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The universe is my playground: Veena Nagpal

The universe is my playground: Veena Nagpal

The author of Radius 200, a story of love and longing set in the backdrop of the war for water and nuclear attack, on the novel and her craft

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All stories come from somewhere: Sarvat Hasin

All stories come from somewhere: Sarvat Hasin

Sarvat Hasin, author of You Can't Go Home Again, a collection of interlinked stories, on her craft, inspirations and influences

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Kiran Nagarkar: Finding Humour in an Unfunny World

Kiran Nagarkar: Finding Humour in an Unfunny World

Armed with disarming humour, Kiran Nagarkar looks at the world through a glass lightly. The novelist, playwright and critic endears you to him with his insouciance, with his ability to laugh at himself.

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There is so much more to writing than  what you see on the pages: Rupi Kaur

There is so much more to writing than what you see on the pages: Rupi Kaur

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Readership has increased not dwindled: Bikash De Niyogi

Readership has increased not dwindled: Bikash De Niyogi

As Niyogi Books turns 13, Bikash De Niyogi, managing director and publisher of Niyogi Books, talks about his journey so far and the future prospects

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Neel Mukherjee: Lives Apart

Neel Mukherjee: Lives Apart

In A State of Freedom, his new novel which is out in the US in January 2018, Neel Mukherjee delves into the issues of displacement and migration. And the human urge to strive for a different life. A novel of multiple narratives, peopled by characters from different strata, it strives to ‘bring maximum dignity and seriousness to depicting lives from the perspective of the person to whom it belongs’

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Swati Roy: No Child’s Play

Swati Roy: No Child’s Play

The 10th edition of Bookaroo wound up in November but the spirit of book love that India’s first children’s festival inspires year after year among children lingers on. Meeting Swati Roy, one of the founders and inimitable driving forces behind it

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Preti Taneja: A Gaze at World’s Darkness

Preti Taneja: A Gaze at World’s Darkness

In We That Are Young, Preti Taneja ‘translates’ the language and form of Shakespeare’s King Lear to explore the messy connections between the past and present, England and India

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Sunil Kant Munjal: Hero for the Arts

Sunil Kant Munjal: Hero for the Arts

Serendipity Arts Festival, held in Goa in December, is a heady smorgasbord of arts and culture. A brainchild of Sunil Kant Munjal, the multi-disciplinary fest aims to highlight interconnectedness of arts and redefine the way people connect with arts

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Chronicles of an unrepentant civil servant

Chronicles of an unrepentant civil servant

Robin Gupta on his life dedicated to civil service, arts and literature

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Unanswered questions about Corbett’s life

Unanswered questions about Corbett’s life

Stephen Alter's In The Jungles of the Night, shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, fictionalise Jim Corbett’s life to explore some 'unanswered' questions about his life

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I’m a visual writer: Karan Mahajan

I’m a visual writer: Karan Mahajan

In his second novel, The Association of Small Bombs, shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, Karan Mahajan explores the intellectual and emotional motivations of terrorists

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Anuk Arudpragasam: Contours of inner life

Anuk Arudpragasam: Contours of inner life

The winner of the 2017 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature on The Story of a Brief Marriage

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Surina Narula: A window to the world

Surina Narula: A window to the world

Surina Narula, co-founder of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, says the reason behind establishing the award and leaving it open is to get an understanding of the world

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Word symbolises the evolution of humankind: Sanjeev Chopra

Word symbolises the evolution of humankind: Sanjeev Chopra

As the curtain rises on the Valley of Words: International Literature & Art Festival being held in Dehradun on November 17-19, Sanjeev Chopra, the festival’s honorary adviser, Session Plans and General Co-ordination, shares with us the idea behind the celebration of words in the hills

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M.G. Vassanji: Interpreter of Memories

M.G. Vassanji: Interpreter of Memories

M. G. Vassanji on history, memory and identity in his new novel, Nostalgia

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I let narratives take their own course: Nayomi Munaweera

I let narratives take their own course: Nayomi Munaweera

Sri Lankan-American writer Nayomi Munaweera, author of two novels, says she’s more of an ‘organic writer’. She says she doesn’t really try to shape her stories too much because it is going to come in its own way

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A novel summarises consciousness: Man Booker Prize juror Lila Azam Zanganeh

A novel summarises consciousness: Man Booker Prize juror Lila Azam Zanganeh

Lila Azam Zanganeh, the author of The Enchanter: Nabokov and Happiness, is a juror of the Man Booker Prize 2017. She talks to The Punch about the shortlist and the form of the novel

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Great fiction moves beyond borders: Man Booker Prize juror Sarah Hall

Great fiction moves beyond borders: Man Booker Prize juror Sarah Hall

Novelist and poet Sarah Hall, who has been twice nominated to the Man Booker, is a juror for the 2017 Man Booker Prize. She talks about the process of selecting the shortlist

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The Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love

The Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love

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Baroness Lola Young, jury chair, on Man Booker Prize 2017

Baroness Lola Young, jury chair, on Man Booker Prize 2017

Baroness Lola Young, chair of the judges for 2017 Man Booker Prize, on the six shortlisted novels

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Music of the Ghosts: Plumbing the Depths  of Suffering

Music of the Ghosts: Plumbing the Depths of Suffering

Vaddey Ratner on her attempts to imagine the depth of suffering that her father might have endured after he was taken away by the Khmer Rouge regime and her reflections on what his journey might have been like

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‘My novel lingers on people wedded to visas, passports’

‘My novel lingers on people wedded to visas, passports’

In Temporary People, Deepak Unnikrishnan delves into the multiple worlds and identities of immigrant workers of the UAE. He says the purpose, apart from storytelling, was to upend the narratives of the Gulf’s temporary inhabitants

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‘Shepard didn’t do hope,  had a bleak worldview’

‘Shepard didn’t do hope, had a bleak worldview’

John J. Winters, author of Sam Shepard: A Life, on the gap between the image of the man and the man himself

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To me, in a story, tension is everything: Samanta Schweblin

To me, in a story, tension is everything: Samanta Schweblin

Samanta Schweblin, the author of Fever Dream, is one of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and has been translated into English for the first time. She talks about her novel and her craft

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For true reconciliation, we must first discuss the past: Agualusa

For true reconciliation, we must first discuss the past: Agualusa

Angolan writer José Eduardo Agualusa on A General Theory of Oblivion, winner of Dublin Literary Award

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Naiyer Masud: Fragments of Consciousness

Naiyer Masud: Fragments of Consciousness

Muhammad Umar Memon, who has translated Naiyer Masud’s stories, on the labyrinth of his fictional universe

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Life Behind Bars

Life Behind Bars

Sunetra Choudhury on Behind Bars, an insightful account of the prison life of 13 well-known inmates in India

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Memory and forgetting

Memory and forgetting

Himanjali Sankar on her first novel for adults, Mrs C Remembers, characters who people it and its politics

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Found in Translation

Found in Translation

Writer and translator Arshia Sattar on her oeuvre and the significance of knowing other people’s stories — ‘our only chance to seed a proactive humanism that is the only possible antidote to this hate-filled world’

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As a translator, I’m not  an anxious perfectionist: Daniel Hahn

As a translator, I’m not an anxious perfectionist: Daniel Hahn

British writer, editor and translator Daniel Hahn, who has translated José Eduardo Agualusa’s A General Theory of Oblivion, on the art of translation and ‘being a translator’

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Living to Tell the Tale

Living to Tell the Tale

Vaddey Ratner, a survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia and author of two novels, on her attempts to uncover the beauty and dignity in the desire for life

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‘I love thinking about what makes people tick’

‘I love thinking about what makes people tick’

Sri-Lanka based author Chhimi Tenduf-La on his latest collection of interlinked short stories, Loyal Stalkers

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‘I used a small town as prototype of the world’

‘I used a small town as prototype of the world’

Anees Salim says he loves constructing places inside his head. The author on his latest novel, The Small-Town Sea

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'Zelaldinus opens a modern window on Akbar'

'Zelaldinus opens a modern window on Akbar'

Irwin Allan Sealy’s latest, Zelaldinus: A Masque, retells the story of Mughal emperor Akbar. The writer on his craft

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'There's nothing like finding a new author you believe in'

'There's nothing like finding a new author you believe in'

Ian Chapman, Chief Executive and Publisher of Simon & Schuster UK, says publishing is largely about building up a team of passionate people and cultivating relationships. He says S&S keeps looking for new talents and nurturing them

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In telling a story there’s an implicit bond, an embrace: Graham Swift

In telling a story there’s an implicit bond, an embrace: Graham Swift

For Graham Swift, fiction is fundamentally about sharing — it takes two, a writer and a reader. ‘A writer writes alone and a reader reads alone, but the process leads to a remarkable form of human communion,’ he says

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Prajwal Parajuly takes roads less  travelled

Prajwal Parajuly takes roads less travelled

Prajwal Parajuly’s material speaks of new and unexpected paths waiting to be travelled

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We often disregard our own history: Sujit Saraf

We often disregard our own history: Sujit Saraf

Sujit Saraf's latest novel, Harilal & Sons, is based on his grandfather's life. His 2009 novel, The Confession of Sultana Daku, is being adapted into a film featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui

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I’m interested in breaking stereotypes: Sabyn Javeri

I’m interested in breaking stereotypes: Sabyn Javeri

Sabyn Javeri’s racy debut novel, Nobody Killed Her (HarperCollins India, 2017), is the story of friendship between two women — Rani Shah, the Prime Minister who is assassinated, and her close confidante, Nazneen Khan or Nazo, who is suspected to have a hand in Shah’s assassination as she escapes the bomb blast unscathed.

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I wanted to show the link between male honour and female body in India: Prayaag Akbar

I wanted to show the link between male honour and female body in India: Prayaag Akbar

Prayaag Akbar’s Leila is a work of fiction, but it has chilling parallels with the dark and deeply disturbing social and political absurdities of our time. Its dystopian future is too much embedded in the now to seem distant. “It feels like what is going around us caught up with my imagination,” says Prayaag, who has examined the various aspects of marginalisation in India in his journalistic pieces

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I wanted to record tales of ordinary characters from UP: Tanuja Chandra

I wanted to record tales of ordinary characters from UP: Tanuja Chandra

Filmmaker and scriptwriter Tanuja Chandra’s book Bijnis Woman: Stories of Uttar Pradesh I Heard from My Parents, Mausis and Buas (Penguin Random House, 2017) brings together quirky, strange, funny and intriguing tales from small-town Uttar Pradesh

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Examining history can be a way of learning about present: Shazia Omar

Examining history can be a way of learning about present: Shazia Omar

Shazia Omar, author of Dark Diamond, says reimaging history is not an act of falsification, but rather, may do more to illuminate the truth by displaying other sides of the story

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Jinnah and Ruttie: When  politics broke up a marriage

Jinnah and Ruttie: When politics broke up a marriage

Sheela Reddy’s Mr And Mrs Jinnah, on the little-known facet of Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s marriage with Ruttie Petit, is a compelling portrait of a broken marriage deeply enmeshed in the tumult of the nationalist movement

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Why Pakistan? A novel tries to find an answer

Why Pakistan? A novel tries to find an answer

New Delhi-based retired diplomat, educationist and author Kiran Doshi, winner of the 2016 Hindu Prize for his novel, Jinnah Often Came to Our House (Tranquebar, 2015), says world would have been a far, far better place if Hindu-Muslim unity in India had not been torn apart, and India partitioned

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We can help publishers in India get global readership: Sharad Mohan

We can help publishers in India get global readership: Sharad Mohan

Sharad Mohan, regional manager for Global Publishers Services, on his plans to make books from far and wide readily available to readers

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We provide the publisher a tailored approach to each and every market: Chitra Bopardikar

We provide the publisher a tailored approach to each and every market: Chitra Bopardikar

Chitra Bopardikar is the new V-P and General Manager at Global Publishers Services (GPS), a new business unit of Baker & Taylor. GPS provides select client publishers with international sales & marketing, strategy development, world class logistics, alongside the other print and distribution services available through Baker & Taylor.

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My literary agenda is to write women protagonists: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

My literary agenda is to write women protagonists: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni says that the thread that runs through her books is the importance of women making choices for themselves and how it enables them to grow. Her latest novel, Before We Visit The Goddess, was published by Simon & Schuster last year

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Publishers must focus on authors, and telling stories: Charlie Redmayne

Publishers must focus on authors, and telling stories: Charlie Redmayne

HarperCollins UK CEO Charlie Redmayne says it’s difficult to make money with books. As a CEO, he says, he tries to add value in devising broader business strategy in marketing, commercial, digital and strategic areas

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I prefer writing to affect my relationship with life at large: Shahnaz Bashir

I prefer writing to affect my relationship with life at large: Shahnaz Bashir

The author of Scattered Souls (Fourth Estate, 2016) and The Half Mother (Hachette India, 2014) says he doesn’t approve of fiction written only to explore the possibilities of language and not ideas

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Nothing mystical about the process of writing: Cyrus Mistry

Nothing mystical about the process of writing: Cyrus Mistry

What does verge on the mystical about writing, Mistry says, is the deliberate focus and discipline of daily work, which creates its own rarefied mental space in which the author’s intention, perspective and sense of the congruent acquire a self-regulatory dynamic

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Our list is small, our acquisitions curated: Dharini Bhaskar, Editorial Director, S&S India

Our list is small, our acquisitions curated: Dharini Bhaskar, Editorial Director, S&S India

The aim is to nurture compellingly written, pioneering books, says Dharini Bhaskar, Editorial Director, S&S India

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Indian authors selling better than before: Rahul Srivastava, MD, Simon & Schuster India

Indian authors selling better than before: Rahul Srivastava, MD, Simon & Schuster India

Rahul Srivastava, Managing Director, Simon & Schuster India, on the launch of local publishing programme

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Art isn’t about truth at all, but without it we’d be lost: Anil Menon

Art isn’t about truth at all, but without it we’d be lost: Anil Menon

I define story as something that replaces causes with reasons, says Anil Menon, author of Half of What I Say

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My paintings are realistic, but not real: Kathryn Myers

My paintings are realistic, but not real: Kathryn Myers

For Kathryn Myers, it all starts from light and form

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Every book has to be great on its own terms: Carolyn Reidy

Every book has to be great on its own terms: Carolyn Reidy

I’m not concerned about the place of books or authors because I think they do provide something no one else and nothing else does, says Carolyn Reidy, president and Chief Executive Officer, Simon & Schuster Inc

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I often do have a sense of the beginning and the end: Anjali Joseph

I often do have a sense of the beginning and the end: Anjali Joseph

When Anjali Joseph, author of three novels, writes, she consciously tries to create a set of ‘signs that will somehow produce magic in a reader — transform him’

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Through a Glass Darkly: A conversation with Manjula Padmanabhan

Through a Glass Darkly: A conversation with Manjula Padmanabhan

'For all practical purposes, we are in the grip of World War III. What most people around the globe are experiencing right now is a dystopia, in the present. My novel is only mildly fictional and futuristic — much of what happens in it is within the realm of possibility.'

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Don't forget to mention in your piece that I love India: E M Forster

Don't forget to mention in your piece that I love India: E M Forster

As I was browsing through the books there, I noticed an old man bundled up in a woolen overcoat with a Russian fur cap on his head and hands in leather gloves. I instantly recognised the man whose photographs I‘d seen in several books and magazines. Surely, it was E. M. Forster, the renowned author of A Passage to India. I felt a strange sensation down my spine as I drew close to him.

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The lyrical expression of the ordinary attracts me: Anjum Hasan

The lyrical expression of the ordinary attracts me: Anjum Hasan

Anjum Hasan, poet and novelist, on her latest novel, The Cosmpolitans, her other books and her craft

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'I see history as junk, and junk as somehow being historical'

'I see history as junk, and junk as somehow being historical'

Anthologist, critic, essayist, poet, novelist and musician Amit Chaudhuri talks about his sixth and latest novel, Odysseus Abroad, the extraordinariness of the ordinary, the movies that inspire him, the music he creates and more

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Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges

Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges

“No one should read self-pity into this statement of the majesty of God, who with such splendid irony, granted me books and blindness at one touch. When I think of what I've lost, I ask, ‘Who know themselves better than the blind? For every thought becomes a tool.’”

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Kolkata grabbed me in my innards: Kunal Basu

Kolkata grabbed me in my innards: Kunal Basu

I’m a person who is drawn to the unfamiliar, to the strange. What I know, the life that I’ve led, the world that I’ve inhabited, is not inconsequential to me. But it doesn’t get me excited... I’ve stories about my childhood, my world, my para, my teashop, my school and my college, my loves and my losses, my wars, inside me. But telling those stories are not particularly exciting to me. Because in the ultimate analysis, I’m telling a story to myself, before I tell it to my readers.

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Chigozie Obioma: Transcribing the African literary consciousness

Chigozie Obioma: Transcribing the African literary consciousness

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2015, Nigerian writer Chigozie Obioma's debut novel, The Fishermen, won the inaugural Emerging Voices prize for African and Middle Eastern fiction. The New York Times termed the 28-year-old author as the true 'heir to Chinua Achebe'

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In the company of Faiz Ahmed Faiz

In the company of Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Faiz was a citizen of the world who did not recognise any barriers between countries, religions and languages.

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I wanted to preserve short story's power in a novel: Anuradha Roy

I wanted to preserve short story's power in a novel: Anuradha Roy

Anuradha Roy, the winner of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016, on her third novel, Sleeping on Jupiter, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2015, her previous two novels — An Atlas of Impossible Longing and The Folded Earth — and the art and craft of writing fiction

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