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Vikram Seth    

Indian Novelist and Poet

Vikram Seth (born on 20 June 1952) is an Indian novelist and poet. He has written several novels and poetry books. He has received several awards including Padma Shri, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, WH Smith Literary Award and Crossword Book Award. Seth's collections of poetry such as "Mappings" and "Beastly tales", are notable contributions to the Indian English language poetry Canon.

Seth spent part of his youth in London and returned to India in 1957. He received primary education at Welham Boys' School and then moved to The Doon School. While at Doon, Seth was the editor-in-chief of The Doon School Weekly. After graduating from The Doon School in India, Seth went to Tonbridge School, England to complete his A-levels, where he developed an interest in poetry and learned Chinese. After obtaining a degree from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Seth moved to California to work on a graduate degree in economics at Stanford University. He then went on to study creative writing at Stanford and classical Chinese poetry at Nanjing University in China.

Having lived in London for many years, Seth now maintains residences near Salisbury, England, where he is a participant in local literary and cultural events, having bought and renovated the house of the Anglican poet George Herbert in 1996,and in Jaipur.

Seth self-identifies as bisexual. In 2006, he became a leader of the campaign against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a law against homosexuality.Leila Seth, his mother wrote about Seth's sexuality and her coming to terms with it in her memoir.

Seth detailed in an interview (in the year 2005) in the Australian magazine Good Weekend that he has studied several languages, including Welsh, German and, later, French in addition to Mandarin, English (which he describes as "my instrument" in answer to Indians who query his not writing in his native Hindi, which he reads and writes in the Dēvanāgarī script) and Urdu, which he reads and writes in Nasta'liq script. He plays the Indian flute and the cello and sings German lieder, especially Schubert.

Business acumen Seth's former literary agent Giles Gordon recalled being interviewed by Seth for the position:

Vikram sat at one end of a long table and he began to grill us. It was absolutely incredible. He wanted to know our literary tastes, our views on poetry, our views on plays, which novelists we liked.

Seth later explained to Gordon that he had passed the interview not because of commercial considerations, but because unlike the others he was the only agent who seemed as interested in his poetry as in his other writing. Seth followed what he has described as "the ludicrous advance for that book" (£250,000 for A Suitable Boy) with £500,000 for An Equal Music and £1.4 million for Two Lives. He prepared an acrostic poem for his address at Gordon's 2005 memorial service.


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