Thursday, March 4, 2010

Between the lines

A chat with Chandrahas Choudhury, whose Arzee the Dwarf has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book

A literary award, to use a cliché, is a boon and a bane. It draws reader's attention to a talent that would otherwise have gone unnoticed or under-appreciated in a literary minefield where sometimes what's between the cover might remain just there, no matter how brilliant. It might, on the other hand, exert pressure on a writer's future literary endeavours. As Chandrahas Choudhury, author of Arzee the Dwarf, says, “As far as the relationship between a writer and an award is concerned, it is important to stop thinking about it.

“All the happiness I had to get from the book I got from writing it,” he says. Arzee the Dwarf, published by HarperCollins, has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in the Best First Book category, along with The Hungry Ghosts by Anne Berry (Britain), Tail of the Blue Bird by Nii Parkes (Britain), An Equal Stillness by Fransesca Kay (Britain), and In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Meeuneddin (Pakistan) and Among Thieves by Mez Packer (Britain).

Past awardees include Vikram Chandra for Red Earth Pouring Rain (1996), Zadie Smith for White Teeth (2001), and Mark Haddon for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (2004), to name a few.

Full report here Hindu

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