Saturday, April 12, 2008

MPH Breakfast Club with ... Kunal BASU


“Can Marketing Kill the Arts?”: Read what KUNAL BASU has to say about this in the April-June 2008 issue of Quill magazine!

The 13th MPH Breakfast Club on Saturday, April 19, 2008, at 11.00a.m. to 12.30p.m., will be featuring U.K.-based novelist and short-story writer Kunal Basu, the author of such novels as The Opium Clerk (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2001/Phoenix, 2002), The Miniaturist (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003/Phoenix, 2004) and Racists (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006/Phoenix, 2007) as well as a short-story collection, The Japanese Wife (HarperCollins India, 2008).

Kunal Basu was born in Calcutta, India, but has spent much of his adult life in Canada and the U.S. He has taught at McGill University in Canada and has been a Professor of Marketing at Templeton College, Oxford University, England. He has also acted in films in India and written a screenplay, Snakecharmer, as well as written and directed two documentaries.

“It’s an improbable and hauntingly beautiful love story, almost surreal in its innocence. And I immediately knew that this was the film I had to make.” Aparna Sen

Though Kunal Basu is based abroad, he does not believe in writing about alienation and the search for one’s roots like other Indian writers who live out of India. He prefers the strange to the familiar, and so all his novels thus far have a historical setting. His first novel, The Opium Clerk (2001), is set against the opium trade in the 19th century. The Miniaturist (2003) takes place in the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Racists (2006) is set in the Victorian era and could very well be the first Victorian novel written by a non-Saxon. His new and first collection of short stories, The Japanese Wife, was published by HarperCollins India in January 2008.

“Kunal Basu has not only thrown away the safety net of the novel, but in his short stories, he has also taken the risk of choosing ordinariness over grandeur, the slow train of reflection and memory over the frenetic pace of events. [He] deserves to be thanked for bringing short stories back into reckoning.” Sreyashi Dastidar, in The Telegraph

“The distinctive feature of Basu’s fiction is his appetite for grand connections, for worlds set up almost from scratch. ... [O]ne of the best voices in Indian fiction ....” Chandrahas Choudhury, in Mint

Eric Forbes will be introducing Kunal Basu while Janet Tay will be moderating the session.

Date April 19, 2008 (Saturday)
Time 11.00a.m.-12.30p.m.
Venue MPH Bangsar Village II Lot 2F-1 (2nd Floor), Bangsar Village II, No. 2 Jalan Telawi 1, Bangsar Baru, 59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Phone (603) 2287 3600

Food and refreshments will be served
All lovers of literature are most welcome

Kunal Basu will also be doing a reading at readings@seksan’s at 3.30p.m. the same day. Seksan Design is at No. 67 Jalan Tempinis Satu, Lucky Garden, Bangsar, 59100 Kuala Lumpur


“… a tale of immense originality and intrigue. The Miniaturist is every bit as perfect and detailed as a Mughal painting should be. Well crafted in all its details of colour and texture, it is a craftsman’s intensely passionate creation. It reads as a metaphor for writers and artists alike, to set free their creative spirit and not confine themselves to the trappings of social expectations.” Mithu C. Banerji, in Observer

Racists is a panorama of 19th-century ideas about race, but it is also a sly, penetrating commentary on their contemporary survival, highlighting the cross-fertilisation between social science, politics and philanthropy. Taut, elegant and intelligent, this is one of the most interesting novels so far to chart the history and content of European racism. Mike Phillips, in The Guardian

“The African setting, by turns achingly beautiful and tinged with a sense of menace, is very well done; while the two small children, incapable of human speech but blessed with low animal cunning come poignantly alive. They are an eloquent embodiment of humanity stripped to its bare essentials.” Julia Flynn, in The Sunday Telegraph


Kunal Basu’s books are available at all major bookstores in Malaysia and Singapore. He will be making appearances on:

Saturday, April 19, 11.00a.m.-12.30p.m.: MPH Breakfast Club, MPH Bangsar Village II, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur
Saturday, April 19, 3.30p.m.: Readings@Seksan’s, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur


Anonymous animah said...

Hi Eric,
I can't make the MPH morning session,but will come for the afternoon session at Seksan's. Will any of his books be on sale at Seksans?

Friday, April 18, 2008 7:41:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

The Japanese Wife will be sold at Seksan's. I have asked Pansing or one of the bookshops to sell his previous three novels as well. I hope they will be there. If things go well, all his books will be sold at Seksan's.

Friday, April 18, 2008 2:31:00 PM  

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