Vikas Swarup

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Vikas Swarup
VikasSwarup (cropped).jpg
Swarup in 2007
Born Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Occupation Writer, diplomat
Genre Realism, fiction
Notable works Q & A (2005)
Six Suspects (2008)
The Accidental Apprentice (2013)

Vikas Swarup is an Indian writer and diplomat who is best known as the author of the novel Q & A, adapted in film as Slumdog Millionaire, the winner of Best Film for the year 2009 at the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and BAFTA Awards.

He joined Indian Foreign Services in 1986 and served in Turkey, the United States, Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Japan in various Indian diplomatic missions. His other novels are Six Suspects and The Accidental Apprentice. In March 2015, He has been appointed as the new official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India to head the Public Diplomacy divisions of ministry at New Delhi, succeeding Syed Akbaruddin.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Vikas Swarup was born in Allahabad in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in a family of lawyers.[2] He did his schooling at Boys' High School & College, Allahabad and pursued further studies at Allahabad University in Psychology, History and Philosophy.

Diplomatic career[edit]

Swarup is an officer of the Indian Foreign Service batch of 1986.

As of 18 April 2015, he was posted in New Delhi as official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. His previous postings include stints in Ankara, Washington D.C., Addis Ababa, London, Pretoria and as Consul General in Osaka-Kobe, Japan.

Writing career[edit]

Q & A[edit]

His debut novel, Q & A, tells the story of how a penniless waiter in Mumbai becomes the biggest quiz show winner in history. Critically acclaimed in India and abroad, this international best-seller has been translated into 43 different languages. It was shortlisted for the Best First Book by the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and won South Africa's Exclusive Books Boeke Prize in 2006, as well as the Prix Grand Public at the 2007 Paris Book Fair. It was voted winner of the Best Travel Read (Fiction) at the Heathrow Travel Product Award 2009.

A BBC radio play based on the book won the Gold Award for Best Drama at the 2008 Sony Radio Academy Awards and the 2008 IVCA Clarion Award. Harper Collins brought out the audio book, read by Kerry Shale, which won the Audie for best fiction audio book of the year. Film4 of the UK had optioned the movie rights and the movie titled Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle, was first released in the US to great critical acclaim. It won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival and three awards (Best Film, Best Director and Most Promising Newcomer) at the British Independent Film Awards 2008. The National Board of Review picked Slumdog Millionaire as the best film of 2008. The movie swept five awards out of its six nominations at the Critics' Choice Awards, and all four nominations awarded at the Golden Globe Awards including best director, picture, screenplay and score, and seven BAFTA Awards. It received ten Oscar nominations of which it won eight, including Best Picture and Best Director. From The NY Times report: "[T]hough it had no actors nominated for prizes, [it also] swept many awards other than those on the top line, including prizes for cinematography, sound mixing, score and film editing. Slumdog's eight Oscars was the largest total won by a single film since The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King won 11 in 2004."[3] The film was released in the UK on 9 January 2009 and in India on 23 January with William Losch.

Six Suspects[edit]

Swarup's second novel Six Suspects, published by Transworld, was released on 28 July 2008 and has been translated into more than 30 languages. The US edition was published by Minotaur Books in 2009. It was optioned for a film by the BBC and Starfield productions and John Hodge, who has been commissioned to write the screenplay.

The Accidental Apprentice[edit]

Swarup's third novel is The Accidental Apprentice, published by Simon & Schuster (UK) in 2013.

Other works[edit]

Swarup's short story "A Great Event" was published in The Children's Hours: Stories of Childhood, an anthology of stories about childhood to support Save the Children and raise awareness for its fight to end violence against children.

Swarup has participated in the Oxford Literary Festival, the Turin International Book Fair, the Auckland Writers' Conference, the Sydney Writers' Festival, the Kitab Festival in New Delhi, the St. Malo International Book & Film Festival in France, the 'Words on Water' Literary Festival at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, the Jaipur Literature Festival in India, the Hay-on-Wye Festival in Wales and the Franschhoek Literary Festival in South Africa. In 2009 he participated in the 33rd Cairo International Film Festival as a jury member for the International Competition for Feature Digital Films.

He has written for TIME, Newsweek, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph (UK), Outlook magazine (India) and Libération (France).


On 21 September 2010 the University of South Africa (UNISA) conferred the degree of Doctor of Literature & Philosophy (honoris causa) on Swarup at a graduation ceremony in Pretoria.

He took over as the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs on 18 April 2015.

Personal life[edit]

Swarup is married to Aparna, an artist, and the couple have two sons.[2]


Short stories[edit]

  • "A Great Event" – published in The Children's Hours: Stories of Childhood


External links[edit]

Interviews and articles[edit]