Author Rana Dasgupta at home in Delhi, April 2010 (photo: Nina Subin)
5 November 1971
Rana Dasgupta (born 5 November 1971 in Canterbury, England) is a British Indian novelist and essayist. He grew up in Cambridge, England and studied at Balliol College, Oxford, the Conservatoire Darius Milhaud in Aix-en-Provence, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He lives in Delhi India, since 2001 with his partner Ms. Narula. In 2010 The Daily Telegraph called him one of Britain's best novelists under 40.
Dasgupta's first novel, Tokyo Cancelled (HarperCollins, 2005), was an examination of the forces and experiences of globalisation. Billed as a modern-day Canterbury Tales, thirteen passengers stuck overnight in an airport tell thirteen stories from different cities in the world, stories that resemble contemporary fairytales, mythic and surreal. The tales add up to a broad exploration of 21st-century forms of life, which includes billionaires, film stars, migrant labourers, illegal immigrants and sailors. Tokyo Cancelled was shortlisted for the 2005 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize.
His second novel, Solo (HarperCollins, 2009) was an epic tale of the 20th and 21st centuries told from the perspective of a one hundred-year old Bulgarian man. Having achieved little in his 20th century life, he settles into a long and prophetic daydream of the 21st century, where all the ideological experiments of the old century are over, and a collection of startling characters – demons and angels – live a life beyond utopia. A reviewer described it as "unfazed by the 21st century, confidently tracing the wrong turnings of the past 100 years, soaring insightfully over the mess of global developments that constitute the quagmire of today". Solo was translated into twenty languages.
His third book, Capital: A Portrait of Twenty-First-Century Delhi (Canongate, 2014), is a non-fiction exploration of his adopted city of Delhi, and, in particular, the changes and personalities brought about there by globalization.
Dasgupta gives occasional lectures at Brown University; in Spring 2014 he will return there as Distinguished Visiting Lecturer and Writer-in-Residence in the Department of Modern Culture and Media.
In October 2012, Dasgupta was Whitney J. Oates Visiting Fellow in the Humanities at Princeton University.
- Capital (2014)
- Bradbury, Lorna (18 June 2010). "Are these Britain's 20 best novelists under 40?". The Telegraph.
- Tokyo Cancelled, Rana Dasgupta. London: Fourth Estate/HarperCollins, 2005. New York: Black Cat/Grove Atlantic, 2005, ISBN 0-8021-7009-9
- Crown, Sarah (29 March 2005). "Narrative Planes". The Guardian.
- Krauth, Nigel (31 January 2009). "Addictive puzzle of life's meaning". The Australian.
- "Rana Dasgupta's 'risky' book takes writers' prize". 12 April 2010.
- New Statesman article by Rana Dasgupta on the rise of the Third-World city
- Granta essay by Rana Dasgupta about Delhi's new rich