Aman Sethi, The Hindu’s correspondent in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was on Friday declared the winner of ‘The Economist Crossword Book Award 2011’ in the Indian non-fiction category for his book A Free Man.
“It is rare to find writing in India that penetrates the texture of individual lives, but at the same time uses narratives centred around individuals to throw light on our larger social condition. Aman Sethi’s task was a delicate one. It required tactful choices: How do you convey a sense of a life without intruding? How do you make someone’s life available to others without degenerating into vicariousness? How do you convey a sense of another life, distant from your own, yet at the same time not make the mistake of creating the illusion that you have made your subject fully transparent. Sethi exercises these choices well… Simultaneously disturbing and compelling, A Free Man deserves to be read, and re-read,” the citation for the award states.
Mr. Sethi thanked the publishers and The Hindu’s Editors for their support. “The book is premised on conversation and collaboration,” he said.
Speaking of the evolution of protagonist Mohammed Ashraf’s life into a lengthier narrative for a book, Mr. Sethi told The Hindu, “As the material came together, it became a larger story about Delhi and its transformation. The episodic fragmentation of journalistic reportage cannot encapsulate the breadth of a way of life.”