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Ask the authors: Jeet Thayil

INTERVIEW. Indian poet/novelist Jeet Thayil reads at International Literature Festival from the hypnotic meanderings around the backstreets of a heroin-riddled Bombay in "Narcopolis" on Sep 14, 21:00.

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Photo by Suman Sridhar

We continue our series of chats with authors appearing at this year’s International Literature Festival.

A critically acclaimed Indian poet, librettist and journalist, Jeet Thayil brings his debut novel Narcopolis to the festival – a fever dream of a story heavily rooted in Thayil’s own previous alcohol and drug addictions. In 2012, it was shortlisted for the Booker and Man Asian Literary Prizes. He appears at the Literature Festival on Sep 14 at 9pm.

Yourself in three words starting with the same letter…

Ambivalent, agitational, alphabetic.

Your favourite character?

Job in the Old Testament. He is tormented, denuded, unjustly persecuted. In other words, the (self?) portrait of an artist.

What is your recurring literary nightmare?

That I will never write again.

Which book do you wish you had written?

The one I’m working on.

Describe your first memory of writing…

At the age of 14, poems in imitation of Baudelaire.

If I weren’t a writer I’d be…

Dead or in jail.