I signed with my literary agent three days before I started the two-year master of studies in creative writing at Oxford, and I signed a two-book contract with Quercus three days before the second year of the course began. Some people, however, assume that my book deal was wholly the result of the course.
At first, I relished being an undeserved poster boy for creative writing courses. My publishing contract – like all book deals coming the way of students enrolled in or fresh off a programmes – was a slap in the faces of those who said creative writing courses were a farce, factories where writers who have never been published teach writers who will never get published. Then the emails started pouring in.
They came from far and near: from north-eastern India, where home is for me; from Nepal, where my mother comes from; and from the US, where I spent many years. In each congratulatory message, well-wishers asked whether they should pursue a master’s. When I asked them how they hoped to pay for their degrees many people, especially those from America and the UK, said they would finance their studies with student loans.