In an exclusive interview in The Outlook, novelist Amitav Ghosh talks to Sunil Sethi about the movements in history and his life that shape his work.
My first novel, The Circle of Reason, came out in 1985 and The Shadow Lines after a three-year hiatus. It was a very tumultuous period of my life. I was invited to spend a year in an American university and I finished it during a very bitter cold winter. I had just got my first computer but most of it I wrote by hand. The trigger for the book was the 1984 Delhi riots. What the events of 1984 made me think of was the ways in which my life has always been enmeshed in riots.
In 2009, writer Ma Thida attended Brown University in the United States as a fellow of the International Writers Project.
During her stay the university organised an event called There Will Still Be Light: A Freedom to Write Literary Festival, and declared their plans to invite Bengali writer Amitav Ghosh, author of the novel The Glass Palace.
Ma Thida suggested that well-known Myanmar novelist Nay Win Myint also be invited, but when the organisers tried to find information about the writer on the internet they came up empty. There was simply no information about Nay Win Myint that had been posted online in the English language.
This was despite the fact that in his home country he had published nearly 200 short stories, as well as novels, travelogues, translations and more. He had also won the National Literary Prize in 2007.