Literary Birthday – 23 July – Vikram Chandra

Happy Birthday, Vikram Chandra, born 23 July 1961.

Seven Quotes

  1. The world is a story we tell ourselves about the world.
  2. When you’re a writer you sometimes have to spend time poking at part of yourself that normal, sane people leave alone.
  3. The novel is a technology that is fairly new, of recent invention. Yes, in the age of television and the Net, the novel will never again attain that central position of cultural authority and importance that it had in the eighteenth or nineteenth century, when it taught us to narrate our lives according to certain principles, to interpret the world in a particular way. But this doesn’t mean it’s dead. It’s still very much alive, and will continue to remain so.
  4. It was 1987 when all the minimalist stuff was in vogue, and suddenly here I am with all these Indian gods making pronouncements. They’d say, ‘This is melodrama,’ and I would answer, ‘I know, but I like melodrama; we Indians do melodrama.
  5. Read, read, read, and then explore your obsessions because I think that’s where the energy comes from. There’s nothing worse than starting something and then getting bored with it when you’re halfway through.
  6. I like teaching. It takes me out of myself. I have a tendency to just camp out in some little hole with a computer and books and not emerge for a week, and that’s actually bad for me.
  7. At some point in the semester I’ll get the question, ‘Why does every story have to have a conflict? Can’t we just write something different?’ And my answer is, ‘Yes you can, but will it work? Will anybody want to read it?’

Vikram Chandra is an Indian-American writer. His first novel, Red Earth and Pouring Rain, won the 1996 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book.

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 23rd July 2014