In this interview with Kitaab’s fiction editor Oindrila Mukherjee, Samrat Upadhyay, a fiction writer of Nepali origin, discusses his journey in the world of fiction.

SamratupadhyayHis first book, the short story collection Arresting God in Kathmandu (Houghton Mifflin, 2001) has been translated into French and Greek and was the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award as well as a pick for the 2001 Barnes & Noble Discover Great Writers Program. Upadhyay’s stories have been read live on National Public Radio and published widely as well as in SCRIBNER’S BEST OF THE WRITING WORKSHOPS and BEST AMERICAN SHORT STORIES 1999. Upadhyay’s novel The Guru of Love (Houghton Mifflin, 2003) was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year 2003, a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2003, and a BookSense 76 collection. The novel was also a finalist for the 2004 Kiriyama Prize, and has been translated into several European languages. Upadhyay’s story collection, The Royal Ghosts (Houghton Mifflin, 2006), won the 2007 Asian American Literary Award, the Society of Midland Authors Book Award, and was declared a Best of Fiction in 2006 by the Washington Post. The book was also a finalist for the Frank O’Connor Int’l Short Story Award from Ireland and for the Ohioana Book Award.

His second novel Buddha’s Orphans (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010) has been called a novel of “ambition and heft” by The New York Times and “beautifully told” by Publishers Weekly, which gave it a starred review. The novel has been translated into German and Czech. It was also longlisted for the DSC Prize in India. The City Son, Upadhyay’s fifth book and third novel, was published last month by Soho Press.

He is the Martha C. Kraft Professor of Humanities at Indiana University.

Are you really the first Nepali writer writing in English to be published in the West as Wikipedia says? And if so, why? What was happening in NEW before you?

kamila shamshiePakistani writers writing in English are making a mark globally. Books from the most beautiful minds of Pakistan, arguably, are from names like Muhammad Hanif, Kamila Shamsie and Mohsin Hamid. A concerned member of the audience says that these books talk about a girl slapping her grandmother, a woman having a full-fledged extra marital affair and detailed accounts of a rape. Are these books depicting the average Pakistani’s thought process? Are the characters of these books ones the average Pakistani can identify with? Are Pakistan’s cultural sensibilities being taken into account here or are we seeing the emergence of literature targeted at a specific readership?

Author of A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers speaks about taking to writing in English after having earned fame as a Chinese filmmaker and writer: DNA

Guo XiaoluA Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, published in 2007, is an extraordinary novel about a Chinese woman who comes to live in England for a year to learn English, and has an affair with an Englishman. Structured like a dictionary with chapters arranged according to the alphabet — “a” for alien, “b” for bisexual and so on — it deals with issues of alienation, loss, memory and exile — so relevant in the face of the many artists who have had to leave China because of political persecution. Large parts of the novel are written in broken English to mirror the author’s own lack of proficiency in the language, which becomes smoother and more grammatically correct towards the end.