Open Minds 2018: Soft Power

Jeet Thayil, Author

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Words Apart

In Indian literary circles, it’s the candid who dare admit, ‘The Golden Age of Indian English fiction has already passed.’ Today the most exciting work coming out of the country’s publishing houses is either nonfiction or a translation. But the one name that critics and readers, publishers and fans doff their hat to is Jeet Thayil.

Poetry comes in a burst. It is such fun. Follow where it goes. You do very little work. Being a novelist feels like 9-to-5 wage earners, sitting at their desks, wondering when they can take their lunch break, wondering when if they can have another coffee

An acclaimed if not renowned poet for years, his first novel Narcopolis flung him into a different stratum with its Man Booker nomination (2012). His recent novel The Book of Chocolate Saints has proved that Narcopolis was no fluke. Unlike too many of his peers who stick to the simple and the unambitious, Thayil chooses the grand and the epic. He doesn’t deliver a story in your hand, he gives you an era. The Book of Chocolate Saints is extraordinary not as a novel but as a cultural history of poets and artists of the 70s’ and 80s’ Bombay. It is one of the most intriguing novels written in India in recent years.

Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Public Square

Salman Rushdie, Author | Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Political scientist | Nandan Nilekani, Infosys Chairman | Srinath Raghavan, Historian | Ram Madhav, BJP Leader | Swapan Dasgupta, Political commentator and MP | Shashi Tharoor, Scholar Politician | TCA Raghavan, Historian | Ramachandra Guha, Historian | Brahma Chellaney, Strategic thinker | Uday Shankar, President, 21st Century Fox, Asia | Anantha Chandrakasan, Technologist | Gita Gopinath, Economist | Soumya Swaminathan, Paediatrician and clinical scientist | Prasoon Joshi, Poet and Censor Board chairman | Madhav Khosla, Scholar | Sidharth Luthra, Lawyer | Shayara Bano, Triple Talaq Petitioner | Reuben Abraham, Economic Analyst | Pratima Joshi, Architect | Reetika Khera, Economist | Shamika Ravi, Economist | Sharmila Bhattacharya, Scientist | Vijay Prasad, Historian | Nayanjot Lahiri, Historian | Avani Chaturvedi, Fighter Pilot, IAF | Pranshu and Nishant Patni, Entrepreneurs

Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Soft Power

Virat Kohli, Captain, Indian Cricket Team | Priyanka Chopra, Actor | Jeet Thayil, Author | Anju Dodiya, Artist | Alia Bhatt, Actor | Rajkummar Rao, Actor | Chetan Bhagat, Author | Jahnvi Dameron Nandan, Perfumer | Rupi Kaur, Poet | Parvathy Thiruvothu, Actor | Sujatha Gidla, Author | Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, Architect | Prayaag Akbar, Author | Ruchika Sachdeva, Fashion Designer | Palghat R Ramprasad, Carnatic musician | Unni R, Author | Kunal Kamra, Comedian | Vikas Khanna, Chef and Television Personality | Shoojit Sircar, Filmmaker | Srikanth Kidambi, Badminton Player | CS Santosh, Off-Road Biking Champion | Mayank Austen Soofi, Author and Blogger | Ratish Nanda, Conservation Architect