Calcutta ... produced the first Asian Nobel laureate in Rabindranath Tagore. It was here that Thackeray was born and Dickens's second son buried. The great Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib lived here for a while, and the city has produced distinguished authors in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Maithili, Oriya, Punjabi and Urdu alongside the Bengali greats. Charles Baudelaire dreamt of a voyage to Calcutta; Mark Twain could not wait to leave the place. It is a city that inspired and enraged Kipling and Macaulay, Ginsberg and Grass.Academic and author Swapan Chakravorty argues pretty convincingly in the Times that Calcutta (Kolkota) should be the new UNESCO city of literature (an honour currently held by Edinburgh). I've long wondered why the Bengalis seem to have more than their fair share of excellent writers and attributed it somewhat flippantly to the diet rich in fish which is good for the old braincells (which is why Kerelans seems to have a literary advantage too). I'm most probably completely wrong.