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Jaipur Literature Festival :: International Connections

IWP writer Chandrahas Choudhury at Prairie Lights Bookstore
IWP writer Chandrahas Choudhury at Prairie Lights Bookstore

The wonderful insanity that is the Jaipur Literature Festival kicked off this morning, and over the course of the next few days, figures such as Junot Diaz, Nam Le, Jim Crace, and Adam Zagajewski take the stage(s) with some of India’s largest literary forces.

And what better way to get this festival started (and highlighted here!) than with a conversation between Nobel Award-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk (IWP ’85) and Indian novelist, blogger, and critic Chandrahas Choudhury (IWP ’10)?

We asked Chandrahas about the conversation at hand, involving two former participants of the Fall Residency, twenty-five years apart:

"I've always loved Pamuk's work ever since I first came to at the age of 23, when I read My Name Is Red. Indeed, I think of him as central to my own novelistic education. I think of Pamuk as a marvelously fluent, musical, and novelistic novelist. This last phrase might sound like a tautology, but it's amazing how many novelists, including some exponents of the doorstopper American novel, are not really novelistic.

"Pamuk is one of those novelists who are ambitious without being difficult. He knows how to steal it all in, and in his books moments of high seriousness and philosophical depth are mixed with the most ingenious and mischievous sallies and tangents (such as the appearance in The Museum of Innocence, set in 1975, at the protagonist Kemal Basmaci's engagement party scene, of 'the chain-smoking twenty-three-year-old Orhan Pamuk, nothing special about him beyond his propensity to act nervous and impatient, affecting a mocking smile'). His work combines, in a very original way, the realist novelist's love of psychological exploration and a compelling 'illusion of reality' with a postmodernist's skepticism, trickery, and self-consciousness about form. My Name Is Red and The Musem of Innocence must be two of the greatest stories about love, desire, the body, and time that I've ever read. I was delighted to know, when at the IWP this fall, that Pamuk is an alumnus of the program, and I'm really looking forward to our talk later this week."


Reviews and articles on Turkish literature and Orhan Pamuk litter Choudhury’s blog The Middle Stage, as well as the newspaper he frequently writes for, Mint, including Nazim Hikmet, Orhan Veli Kanik, Orhan Kemal, and Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar.

If that weren’t enough, further events at JLF include IWP alumni Meena Kandasamy (IWP ’09) and Kavery Nambisan (IWP ’07). If you’re there, let us know!

Further reading:

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