Vikas Swarup

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Vikas Swarup
VikasSwarup (cropped).jpg
Vikas Swarup in 2006
Born Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Occupation Novelist, short-story writer, civil servant
Nationality Indian
Genre Realism, fiction
Notable works Q & A (2005)
Six Suspects (2008)
The Accidental Apprentice (2013)

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

He has joined Indian Foreign Services in 1986 and has served in Turkey, the United States, Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, South Africa and Japan in various diplomatic missions of India. His other best known 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 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]

Vikas Swarup is a officer of Indian Foreign Service batch of 1986.

He is currently, since 18 April 2015, posted in New Delhi as official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs. His previous postings include stints in Ankara, Washington DC, 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 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 which includes best director, picture, screenplay & score, and seven BAFTA Awards. It received 10 Oscar nominations of which it won 8, 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]

Vikas Swarup's second novel Six Suspects, published by Transworld, was released on 28 July 2008 and is being translated into more than thirty languages. The US edition was published by Minotaur Books in 2009. It has been optioned for a film by the BBC and Starfield productions and John Hodge, who wrote the script for films like Trainspotting, Shallow Grave and The Beach, has been commissioned to write the screenplay. Noted Argentinian filmmaker Pablo Trapero is due to direct.

The Accidental Apprentice[edit]

Vikas Swarup's most recent novel is The Accidental Apprentice which has been published by Simon & Schuster (UK) in 2013. A Bollywood film is due to be made on it as Hindi film rights have been acquired by Matchbox Pictures with Sriram Raghavan helming the project as Director.

Other works[edit]

Swarup's short story "A Great Event" has been 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.

Vikas 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).

Writing style[edit]

Swarup's works use first-person narrative for the situation narrative.


On 21 September 2010 the University of South Africa (UNISA), the largest university in South Africa and one of the largest distance education institutions in the world, conferred the degree of Doctor of Literature & Philosophy (honoris causa) on Swarup at a graduation ceremony in Pretoria.

He has taken over as the next spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs on 18 April 2015.

Personal life[edit]

Vikas Swarup is married to Aparna and the couple have two sons, Aditya and Varun.

His wife Aparna is an artist who has held exhibitions in India and abroad.


Short stories[edit]

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

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Interviews and articles[edit]