Raghu Karnad

Raghu Karnad

Quick take

Raghu Karnad

Raghu Karnad is a writer and journalist, and the author of Farthest Field: An Indian Story of the Second World War (2015). Described as a masterpiece by critics, the book recounts the history of India’s World War II through the lives of a single family. It has been shortlisted for the 2016 PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize, which celebrates the best non-fiction on a historical subject. Karnad is a contributing editor at the Wire.in and his writing has appeared in various newspapers and magazines. He lives between Bengaluru and New Delhi.
Excerpts from an interview:

What about writing excites you?

It’s where the puzzles of the world meet the puzzles of language, and you try to figure them out together.

Your favourite author?
I don’t really have one. I do have favourite books.

Your current read...
Re-reading The Bonfire of the Vanities
by Tom Wolfe, one of those
favourite books.

As a child, which book was your favourite?
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis
Carroll — and it probably still is.

The best place to sit and write...
An empty room far away from the modem.

If not a writer, what would you be?

If you were an actor, who would you be?
I’d rather be a character. Tilda Swinton, then.

You would most like to be stranded on a deserted island with?
Coffee, a kettle, and a little milk. And wait, fire.

You don’t leave home without...
Looking back over my shoulder.

What keeps you awake at night?
Good ideas have a way of arriving just before you fall asleep. It’s very

Your pet haunt in Bengaluru...
The Ranga Shankara café.

What do you do to unwind?
I laze around with family and close friends.

Ideal place to holiday...
I haven’t gone on a holiday in a while.

What would you change about yourself?
I wish I spoke better Kannada and Tamil.

The music you like most...
Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’.

Your most cherished dream...
A nation-wide ban on car horns.

Message for aspiring writers...
Write for yourself, publish for other people. Don’t get it backwards.

Something that never goes out of fashion...
In men, listening. In women, speaking up.

What about India fascinates you the most?
You only have to walk down the road to find a story. And if you leave the city...

Any nightmares?
Only if I watch TV news.  (That is the nightmare.)

Your pet project?
The first rule of write club is, you don’t talk about write club...

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