31 October, 2020

Suketu Mehta

On winning the first Hutch Crossword Book Award for non-fiction for his book Maximum City.

Suketu Mehta
This is the first major award for non-fiction writing in India. Will it encourage Indian non-fiction writers?
It will. Writers love money and awards.

Why is Indian fiction so big and non-fiction not?
After 9/11, the dramatic value of non-fiction rose. In the US non-fiction outsells fiction. We need publishers and magazines like New Yorker and Atlantic.

Why did your book get strong reactions?
I had hoped for it. I spent seven years writing it. I had hoped for people to react passionately and outrageously because that is how this city is.

Is it part of the deal of writing non-fiction to have sources be angry with you?
If they are not mad at you, you are not doing your job. I am not here to please anyone, or write PR.

Now you are writing a book on New York.
That is one of several projects I am working on. It's about the outer burroughs of New York.

Are Bombay and New York similar?
Yes. In both there is the chaotic real city and fabulous dream city that keeps people going. They...


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