Vikram Chandra (novelist)
|Years active||1995 – present|
He is sometimes confused with Vikram A Chandra, an Indian journalist and author who published The Srinagar Conspiracy (2000).
Chandra was born in New Delhi in 1961. His father Navin Chandra was a business executive who is now retired. His mother Kamna Chandra has written several Hindi films and plays. Her most notable works include the films Prem Rog (1982) and 1942: A Love Story (1994), and Chandni, directed by Yash Chopra. His sister Tanuja Chandra became a filmmaker and screenwriter. She has also directed several films, including Sur and Sangharsh (1999). His sister Anupama Chopra is a film critic and consulting editor for India's NDTV.
Chandra received his high school education at Mayo College in Ajmer, Rajasthan. He attended St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai and, as an undergraduate student, transferred to the United States. He graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California, with a B.A. magna cum laude in English (concentration in Creative Writing). Chandra attended film school at Columbia University, leaving halfway through to begin work on his first novel. He received his M.A. from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University in 1987. He has taught at George Washington University, and lectured at University of California, Berkeley.
Red Earth and Pouring Rain (1995), Chandra's first novel, was inspired by the autobiography of James Skinner, a legendary nineteenth-century Anglo-Indian soldier. He wrote the novel over several years while enrolled in the writing programs at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Houston. It was published in 1995 by Penguin Books in India; by Faber and Faber in the UK; and by Little, Brown in the United States. Red Earth and Pouring Rain received outstanding critical acclaim. It won both the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book and the David Higham Prize for Fiction. The novel is named after a poem from the Kuruntokai, an anthology of Classical Tamil love poems.
Love and Longing in Bombay (1997), a collection of short stories, was published by the same houses as Red Earth and Pouring Rain. This collection of stories won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Eurasia region) and was short-listed for the Guardian Fiction Prize. It was well received by international press and media.
In 2000, Chandra served as co-writer, with Suketu Mehta, for Mission Kashmir, a Bollywood movie. It was directed by his brother-in-law, the award-winning director Vidhu Vinod Chopra, and starred Hrithik Roshan.
Sacred Games (2008) is Chandra's most recent novel. Set in sprawling Mumbai, it features Sartaj Singh, a policeman who first appeared in Love and Longing in Bombay. Singh takes part in some police encounter killings. Over 900 pages long, Sacred Games was one of the year's most anticipated new novels. It had been the subject of a bidding war amongst the leading publishers in India, the UK, and the US.
He is married to the writer Melanie Abrams. They both teach creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley. Chandra currently divides his time between Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, and Oakland, California, USA.
- Red earth and pouring rain: a novel. Hachette Digital, Inc. 1995. ISBN 978-0-316-13276-3.
- Love and Longing in Bombay: Stories, Penguin Books, 1997, ISBN 978-0-14-026572-9
- Sacred Games. Faber and Faber. 2006. ISBN 978-0-571-23118-8.; HarperCollins, 2007, ISBN 978-0-06-113036-6