... seemed to be everywhere else. To be anywhere but here.The same is true of course of Indian authors. (And Pakistani authors, and Bangladeshi authors, and Sri Lankan authors, and Nigerian authors and ... the list goes on.)
Abhinav Maurya writes a very interesting piece about the phenomenon in LittleIndia [found via] :
The next time you walk into a bookstore to browse English books penned by Indian authors, try this little game. Turn to the author biography to see which continent he currently calls home. If you are pondering established names on the literary scene, chances are that nine times out of ten, you will hit upon the phenomenon of the Indian English writer in self-imposed exile.He ponders the reasons for this, muses on the effects on the writing :
The multiculturalism evident in the works of émigré Indian writers is a result of the alienation they have suffered from both cultures, Indian and western, and their struggle to bridge the gap between the two. It is often because of the distance these writers must contend with between themselves and the milieu of their stories that a certain longing and sentimentality often creeps into their works. Though this element of nostalgia has often been debunked by the critics, it may well be seen as the hallmark of an emerging class of Indian writers.And in the end recognises :
Whatever the reasons, the exile has done more good than harm to the Indian literary scene, with publishing houses and literary agencies setting up base in India, in recognition of the growing importance of Indian writing in the global scene. The press has been flooded for some years now with stories of major publishing houses like Penguin, HarperCollins and Random House flocking to India in expectation of a literary boom in the country. This in turn has helped many English writers living in India find good publishers and recognition for their work.Not to mention of course the encouragement for writers inherent in seeing someone from your own part of the world succeed globally.
By the way, I take issue with Maurya saying that Hari Kunzru is an Indian author settled abroad! He was born in Britain and brought up in Britain, but yes has an Indian father! Does everyone need to be pigeon-holed neatly into boxes that identify them as exclusively this and that?