William Dalrymple writes:
This refers to Shakti Bhatt's article in last week's Literary Review ("An interview with Siddhartha Deb", December 3).
She quotes me as having said that, "writing by Indians living abroad was more lasting than the work produced in India."
What I actually wrote was rather less silly, and very different: that it was the Indian diaspora who now seem to be taking on "the role of mediating South Asia to the West", and that publishing fashion in London, rightly or wrongly, now seems to be favouring, and giving advances to, not Indians living in India but "what Rushdie might call `chutnified' authors of mixed ethnic backgrounds Hari Kunzru, Zadie Smith and Monica Ali who are, in Zadie Smith's famous formulation, `children with first and last names on a direct collision course. Names that secrete within them mass exodus, cramped boats and planes, cold arrivals, medical checks'."
In other words, what I was saying was not that the quality of one was any better than the other, but instead was lamenting the fact that foreign editors and publishers seemed to have lost interest in home grown Indian literature in favour of that produced by the western born or educated diaspora on their doorstep.
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