Margaret Drabble lives in a red house along a row of terrace houses just up the hill from Hampstead Heath. Her sitting room is also red—bright red—and stretches from the front bay windows, which are filled with plants to a large back window that looks out onto the garden. Along one wall there are floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and in one corner there is a baby grand. On top of the piano sits a plant that was given to the author by Doris Lessing. “I don't know what Doris's plant is called. I call it a funnel plant because it has a kind of funnel down which one waters it. Once, it had a big pink bottle brush flower, but I think it never will again.”
"Zadie Smith: Artist and Citizen" (Lecture)
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Jan 22, 2011
This interview with Joe Heller took place during the week of the publication of Something Happened—a literary event of considerable significance, because the novel is only the second of the author’s career. The first, of course, was Catch-22. The fact that it has taken more than a decade to produce a second work of fiction seems of small concern to Heller, because he has evolved a definite and unique pattern of work that is not at all determined by deadlines and other arbitrary demands. He says he always wanted to be a writer. His earliest story was pecked out on a neighborhood boy’s typewriter and ultimately rejected by the Daily News short-short story editor. His career moved at its own pace. He did no writing during his war years in Italy.
With the publication of Hearing Secret Harmonies, Anthony Powell's long serial novel, A Dance to the Music of Time, will have reached its climax. And to judge from the reception accorded to previous volumes, the applause in the U.S.A. will be as loud, if not louder, than that which greeted the completion of the sequence in Britain. For like his contemporary, Evelyn Waugh, to whom he has often been compared, Powell has successfully bridged the Atlantic despite the uncompromisingly “English” nature of his art.
This interview with Kurt Vonnegut was originally a composite of four interviews done with the author over the past decade. The composite has gone through an extensive working over by the subject himself, who looks upon his own spoken words on the page with considerable misgivings . . . indeed, what follows can be considered an interview conducted with himself, by himself.
Jan 19, 2011
Much of the interview was conducted through an exchange of letters from June 1971 until the summer of 1972. On December 2, 1972, a portion of the interview was taped at the Center for Twentieth Century Studies of the University of Wisconsin. Burgess’s schedule during his two-day visit had been backbreaking; there was scarcely a break in the round of class visits, Joyce readings, and interviews. Tired as he appeared after that routine, Burgess showed no tendency to curb the flow of his responses; and his spoken portions, when spliced with the previous exchanges, seem as polished as a written draft.
Kingsley Amis, the former Angry Young Man, lives in a large, early-nineteenth-century house beside a wooded common. To reach it, one makes a journey similar to that described by the narrator of Girl, 20 when he visits Sir Roy Vandervane: first by tube to the end of the Northern Line at Barnet; then, following a phone call from the station to say where one is, on foot up a stiff slope; and finally down a suburban road. But instead of being picked up en route by Sir Roy’s black chum, Gilbert, I was intercepted by Amis’s tall and imposing blond wife, the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard. Amis’s study was a picture of bohemian disorder. Scattered across the floor were several teetering piles of poetry books and a mass of old 78 r.p.m. jazz records, while the big Adler typewriter on his desk was almost hidden behind a screen of empty bottles of sparkling wine which he’d recently sampled in his capacity as drink correspondent for Penthouse. A more sober note was struck by some shelves containing a complete Encyclopaedia Britannica, a thirteen-volume O.E.D., and various other authoritative tomes, but this was quickly dispelled by the sight of a small sherry cask in one corner, full, I was told, of whiskey.
Jan 1, 2011
New Delhi: A travelogue by former Union Minister M P Veerendrakumar along with 15 other works of literature by various authors have been selected for this year's Sahitya Akademi awards. The awards were recommended by distinguished jury members representing 22 Indian languages and approved by the executive board of the Sahitya Akademi which met here today under its President Sunil Gangopadhyay.
Veerendrakumar (74), Chairman and Managing Director of 'Mathrubhoomi' group of publications, was awarded for his travelogue 'Haimavathabhuvil' in Malayalam. He is the author of at least a dozen titles in Malayalam. One of his works 'Ramante Dukham' has gone into 18 re-prints while another 'Amazonum Kure Vyakulathakalum' has won the Kerala state Sahitya Academy Award. He was Minister of State for Labour (independent charge) with additional charge of Urban Affairs in 1997.
Famous poets honoured with the award for the year are Aurobindo Uzir (Bodo), Arun Sakhardande (Konkani), Gopi Narayan Pradhan (Nepali), Vanita (Punjabi), Mangat Badal (Rajasthani), Mithila Prasad Tripathi (Sanskrit), Laxman Dubey (Sindhi) and Sheen Kaaf Nizam (Urdu), Akademi Secretary Agrahara Krishna Murthy said.
The well-known novelists who have been selected include Bani Basu (Begali), Esther David (English), Dhirendra Mehta (Gujarati) and M Borkanya (Manipuri).
Those who have won awards for their collection of short stories are Manoj (Dogri), Uday Prakash (Hindi) and Nanji Nadan (Tamil). Critics Keshada Mahanta (Assamese), Rahamath Tarikere (Kannada), Basher Bashir (Kashmiri) and Ashok R Kelkar (Marathi) have got the award for their books. Pathani Pattnaik (Oriya) won the honour for his autobiography and Bhogla Soren (Santali) for his book of play.
Esther David (March 17, 1945— ) is a Jewish-Indian author, an artist and a sculptor. She was born into a Bene Israel Jewish family in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. 
Her father, Reuben David was a hunter-turned-veterinarian, who founded the Kamala Nehru Zoological Garden and Balvatika in the city of Ahmedabad. Her mother Sarah, was a school teacher.  As a child she spent a lot of time in the zoo, watching and communicating with the animals her father nurtured there.