Guptara, with twin brother Suresh Guptara, at a New Delhi book launch.
22 November 1988 |
Frimley, Surrey, UK
|Genres||Fantasy, Science fiction|
Jyoti Guptara was born in Frimley, Surrey, UK, to an English mother (Philippa Guptara) and Indian father (Prabhu Guptara), and raised in Farnham, Surrey, until the age of seven, when he moved to Weinfelden, Switzerland, where he is currently based as probably the youngest full-time writer in the world starting at the age of 15.
He and his twin brother Suresh finished the first draft of their critically acclaimed fantasy epic, Conspiracy of Calaspia, at the age of eleven. At the age of fifteen, Jyoti became the youngest known journalist to publish a piece in The Wall Street Journal. Soon after this he left the Kantonsschule Frauenfeld to study on his own (homeschooling, but teaching himself), successfully completing his O-levels before becoming a professional full-time writer.
At the age of seventeen, Conspiracy of Calaspia made him one of the world's youngest bestselling authors.
Jyoti and his brother have finished the 2nd Book called "Warrior Code/Codex Cumulus". The book was released in German in March 2009. No release date is known for other countries. They are now busy working on the 3rd Book.
The weekly national magazine Schweizer Illustrierte selected the twins for their list of the "100 Most Important Swiss" (100 Wichtigste Schweizer) of 2008.
Due to Swiss citizenship, Guptara was drafted into the Swiss Armed Forces. After scoring high marks in his recruitment, Guptara trained with the Armoured Grenadiers, one of the nation's toughest units. His military service lasted from June to August 2009, when he was dismissed for medical reasons. During this time, he wrote a weekly column for Tages-Anzeiger, Switzerland's largest subscribed daily newspaper. Instead of switching to a less challenging unit, Guptara decided to do civilian service.
Thanks to their unusual personal story, the Guptara Twins have been widely covered by the media, including BBC World TV, Al-Jazeera English (the Riz Khan Show), and Fox. In 2008, aged 19, they gave over 100 readings for the German translation of book 1, Calaspia. Die Verschwörung.
After Conspiracy of Calaspia was launched in India in November 2006, Suresh and Jyoti spoke at the Delhi Launch, at which were such eminent personalities as the Chief Minister of Delhi H.E. Sheila Dixit and Tarun Tejpal, founder of Tehelka (Guests of Honour). In January 2007 the twins appeared at their Goa book launch, where Calaspia was released by the Governor of Goa, H.E. S. C. Jamir. Suresh then returned to school in the UK while Jyoti Guptara continued for his first book tour, alone, through Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. In February again Jyoti returned to India, to Bombay this time, for the International Media Festival Kitabfest, where he spoke alongside such entertainment personalities as Gregory David Roberts (author of Shantaram) and Oscar-winning director and producer Shekhar Kapur among others. These and other appearances helped push the book up the Indian Fiction Bestseller List (source: Associated Press), where from #3 in the week of 22 December 2006 - incidentally, behind Shantaram - it rose to #2 in the week of 19 January 2007, second only to Booker Prize Winner Kiran Desai's The Inheritance of Loss.
To promote the "Calaspia Competition" , literacy and creativity among young people, the Guptara Twins did a 2-week tour of the USA from New York and New Jersey on the East Coast to San Francisco, San Jose, Monterey and Los Angeles on the West Coast. In Los Angeles, the Guptaras were awarded with "enriching lives" Scrolls of Honour by the County of Los Angeles for Special Services to the County (they donated 1000 copies of Calaspia to inner-city children and visited deprived areas to promote reading). "They are really very outstanding and distinguished, but they're also doing something wonderful for the County of Los Angeles and for children here," said Supervisor Yvonne Burke of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. Despite these appearances, the Guptara Twins have yet to sign with a US publisher.
United Nations GAID
As the Youth Ambassadors for NABU (Knowledge Transfer Beyond Boundaries, now part of the International Commission On Workforce Development), a partner organization of the United Nations, Suresh and Jyoti Guptara appeared at the Geneva World Youth Summit for ICT and Youth for Development in Geneva from 23–27 September 2007, organized by the UN-GAID (United Nations Alliance for ICT and Development). Jyoti spoke on a Panel titled "Building Human Capital and Intellectual Capacity" in the main hall programme, and as the representative of Europe on the Youth Panel.
Germany, Austria and Switzerland
As of March 2008, the Guptara Twins were on a three-month tour of Germany, Austria and Switzerland with German-language publisher Rowohlt. Due to popular demand, they were invited to many more cities, including the Fantasy Festival near Frankfurt and Switzerland's most prestigious literary festival, the Solothurner Literaturtage (2008 and 2009).
Jyoti grew one strand of hair for over two years, that hung to his shoulder from behind the right ear. He vowed not to cut it until their book was published (before they had received any acceptances from publishers). Originally he grew all of his hair, but this was annoying during schoolwork and exams, when he says he leaned over his papers in typical student fashion. As a surprise, the strand was cut off on the Swiss TV talk show Aeschbacher in March 2008 by the talk show host Kurt Aeschbacher. Since then, Jyoti's hair has been short.
As of 2009, the Guptara Twins are ambassadors for World Vision Switzerland, donating 10% of their earnings from the German second book, Calaspia. Der Schwertkodex, as well as commending the charity's work in schools and public readings.
- ^ http://www.twins.guptara.net/bio.htm
- ^ http://tehelka.com/story_main21.asp?filename=hub102806vanity_fair.asp
- ^ http://www.inglewoodtoday.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=865&Itemid=8
- ^ http://www.nabucouncil.org/
- Official homepage www.twins.guptara.net
- Official Guptara Twins biography
- Calaspia Competition Literary Tour of England
- Indias News Article and Interview
- Recorded audio of interview with Guptara Twins from BBC World Service
- Jyoti Guptara talks about their lives Recorded audio of interview, Jyoti Guptara talks to Hans Fischer of SwissEduc
- Business Standard Q&A, 24 December 2006, New Delhi