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Venkatesh Srinivas Kulkarni (1945 – May 3, 1998) was an American novelist and academic.
Venkatesh Kularni originated from India, where graduated from university at age 17. He was originally scheduled to go to medical school, but the admissions counselors at the institution asked him to come back when he was older. Kulkarni graduated with a master's degree from Osmania University at the age of 19. This allowed him to become a professor. He undertook further studies at institutions such as Cambridge University, the University of Moscow, the University of Heidelberg, the Sorbonne and Tulane University.
His first novel, Naked in Deccan (1983), won the 1984 American Book Award of the Before Columbus Foundation and was listed among the top ten novels of the decade by the Chicago Tribune. In the book, Venkatesh describes Deccan, a region of India, as a “landscape lined with stretchmarks of fate masquerading as cart-driven paths deeply embedded in the dark earth”. The story is set in the feudal caste system and has no heroes or villains. Human beings demonstrate weaknesses and passions; some demonstrate moral strength and some do not.
For twelve year until his death, Venkatesh taught creative writing at Rice University in Houston. In 1997, he had a late diagnosis of leukemia and despite prolonged treatment at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, died on May 3, 1998. He was survived by his wife, Margaret, and four children: eldest son Sri, next-eldest son Silas, daughter Margo, and youngest son Kris.
He left two unfinished books, Allah Baksh - The Man Eaten By God, and The Modern American Apollo.
Venkatesh Kulkarni's students included Kathi Appelt, Marjorie Meyer Arsht, Christine Carroll, Linda Jacobs, Stan Marshall, Billy Loran Moore, and Madeline Maxine Westbrook.
A Teaching Prize has been named for him by Rice University.
- 1984 American Book Award for Naked in Deccan
Instead of a pudgy sheriff we have portly Police Marya, the son of a son of a policeman, who has been intimidating a village in the Deccan desert for generations. Instead of a plucky farm boy hero, we have Thimma, a low-caste Harijan, or untouchable, who succeeds in spite of the odds.....This is a good story about India, and utterly unlike anything else you're likely to find about the subcontinent. Kulkarni writes with a warm humanity and uplifts his characters even as he laughs at them.
- Feldman, Margaret. "Life and death - Graduation was important to Silas Kulkarni but not as important as his dad." Houston Chronicle. Sunday, June 7, 1998. Lifestyle p. 1. Newsbank Record Number: 3060644. Available from the Houston Public Library.
- Kaplan, David (May 28, 1998). "Rice Mourns Loss of Teacher". Retrieved 2015-04-30.
- Kathi Appelt (2004). Kissing Tennessee: And Other Stories from the Stardust Dance. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-15-205127-3.
- Marjorie Meyer Arsht (2006). All the way from Yoakum: the personal journey of a political insider. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 978-1-58544-476-2.
- Christine Carroll (2008). The Senator's Daughter. Medallion Press, Inc. ISBN 978-1-933836-30-0.
- Christine Carroll (2005). Children of Dynasty. Medallion Press, Inc. ISBN 978-1-932815-42-9.
- Donna Clayton Lawder. "Author on Fire". Desert Exposure.
- Linda Jacobs (2005). Summer of Fire. Medallion Press, Inc. ISBN 978-1-932815-29-0.
- "FEATURED WRITERS:Stan Marshall", Cypress Creek Press
- Billy Loran Moore (2004). Little Brother Real Snake. NewSouth, Incorporated. ISBN 978-1-58838-147-7.
- Madeline Maxine Westbrook (2005). Ghostwriter and the muse. Madelaine Writes. ISBN 978-0-9760445-0-5.
- MARC S. ZASADA (March 7, 1986). "Book Review - India--Nation Before the Tidal Wave of Progress". The Los Angeles Times.