||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2013)|
Vikram Seth is giving autographs at Bangla Academy premises, Dhaka on 17 November 2012
20 June 1952 |
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
|Alma mater||Corpus Christi College, Oxford
|Genres||novels, poetry, libretto, travel writing, children's literature, biography/memoir|
|Notable work(s)||A Suitable Boy
The Golden Gate
An Equal Music
A Suitable Girl
Vikram Seth; born 20 June 1952) is an Indian novelist and poet. He has written several novel and poetry books. He has also received several awards including Padma Shri, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, WH Smith Literary Award and Crossword Book Award.
Seth spent part of his youth in London but returned to his homeland 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 leaving 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 Delhi, where he lives with his parents and keeps his extensive library and papers.
Seth self-identifies as bisexual. In 2006, he became a leader of the campaign against India's Section 377, a law against homosexuality.
His younger brother, Shantum, leads Buddhist meditational tours. His younger sister, Aradhana, is a film-maker married to an Austrian diplomat, and has worked on Deepa Mehta's movies Earth and Fire. (Compare the characters Haresh, Lata, Savita and two of the Chatterji siblings in A Suitable Boy: Seth has been candid in acknowledging that many of his fictional characters are drawn from life; he has said that only the dog Cuddles in A Suitable Boy has his real name — "Because he can't sue". Justice Leila Seth has said in her smartyOn Balance that other characters in A Suitable Boy are composites but Haresh is a portrait of her husband Prem.)
Work themes 
A polyglot, 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), Urdu (which he reads and writes in Nasta'liq script), and Hindi, which he reads and writes in the Dēvanāgarī 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:
- Gone though you have, I heard your voice today.
- I tried to make out what the words might mean,
- Like something seen half-clearly on a screen:
- Each savoured reference, each laughing bark,
- Sage comment, bad pun, indiscreet remark.
- Gone since you have, grief too in time will go,
- Or share space with old joy; it must be so.
- Rest then in peace, but spare us some elation.
- Death cannot put down every conversation.
- Over and out, as you once used to say?
- Not on your life. You're on this line to stay.
Literary work 
Seth has published five volumes of poetry. His first, Mappings (1980), was originally privately published; it attracted little attention and indeed Philip Larkin, to whom he sent it for comment, referred to it scornfully among his intimates, though he offered Seth encouragement.
- Perhaps this could have stayed unstated.
- Had our words turned to other things
- In the grey park, the rain abated,
- Life would have quickened other strings.
- I list your gifts in this creation:
- Pen, paper, ink and inspiration,
- Peace to the heart with touch or word,
- Ease to the soul with note and chord.
- How did that walk, those winter hours,
- Occasion this? No lightning came;
- Nor did I sense, when touched by flame,
- Our story lit with borrowed powers –
- Rather, by what our spirits burned,
- Embered in words, to us returned.
Seth together with Philippe Honoré marketed a double CD of the music mentioned in An Equal Music, performed by Honoré.
- Mappings (1980)
- The Humble Administrator's Garden (1985)
- All You Who Sleep Tonight (1990)
- Beastly Tales (1991)
- Three Chinese Poets (1992)
- The Frog and the Nightingale (1994)
- Beastly Tales (1991)
- Arion and the Dolphin (1994) for the English National Opera
- The Traveller  with composer Alec Roth. Premiere, Lichfield Festival July 2008.
- 1983 – Thomas Cook Travel Book Award for From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet
- 1985 – Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia) The Humble Administrator's Garden
- 1993 – Irish Times International Fiction Prize (shortlist) A Suitable Boy
- 1994 – Commonwealth Writers Prize (Overall Winner, Best Book) A Suitable Boy
- 1994 – WH Smith Literary Award A Suitable Boy
- 1999 – Crossword Book Award "An Equal Music"
- 2001 – EMMA (BT Ethnic and Multicultural Media Award) for Best Book/Novel An Equal Music
- 2005 – Pravasi Bharatiya Samman
- 2007 – Padma Shri in Literature & Education
- Vikram Seth's Founder's Day Address, The Doon School, Penguin Books of Modern Speeches (2009) p.34 "...edited the Weekly and did other things"
- Vikram Seth's Art: An Appraisal - Roopali Gupta - Google Books
- "Vikram s Christi College, Oxford".
- Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy: A Reader's Guide - Angela Atkins - Google Books
- "Listening to God's melodies", The Times (London), 29 July 2006, retrieved 2007-09-05
- "It Took Me Long To Come To Terms With Myself. Those Were Painful Years.", Outlook India, 2 October 2006, retrieved 2007-09-05
- Gavron, Jeremy (27 March 1999), "A suitable joy", The Guardian (London), retrieved 2007-09-05.
- Vikram Seth writes Suitable Boy sequel in The Guardian 3 July 2009
- Bhatia, Shyam (1 September 2003), "Seth to get at least $3 million advance", Rediff.com, retrieved 2007-09-05.
- Seth, Vikram (18 November 2003), "Appreciation: Giles Gordon", The Guardian (London), retrieved 2007-09-05.
- Oxfam: Ox-Tales
- Amazon: An Equal Music, Amazon.com, retrieved 2007-09-05.
- Amazon: An Equal Music (CD), Amazon.com.
- "Vikram Seth", DoonOnline: Features & Spotlights, retrieved 2007-09-05.
- Albertazzi, Silvia (2005-01-20), "An equal music, an alien world: postcolonial literature and the representation of European culture", European Review (Cambridge University Press) 13: 103–113, doi:10.1017/S1062798705000104.
- "Times of India by Shobha John, TNN: 27 Nov 2011, 05.13 am IST : 'I got drunk to write, says Vikram Seth'", The Times Of India (India), 27 November 2011.
- Chaudhuri, Amit (ed.). "Vikram Seth (b. 1952)." The Vintage Book of Modern Indian Literature. New York: Vintage, 2004:508–537.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Vikram Seth|
- Literary Encyclopedia biography
- Emory biography
- Contemporary Writers Biography
- Vikram Seth at the Internet Movie Database
- 1999 BBC audio interview with Vikram Seth
- "Poetic License" by Cynthia Haven, "Stanford Magazine," May/June 1999
- video interview with Vikram Seth
- 1990 BOMB Magazine interview with Vikram Seth by Ameena Meer