The Two-Book Deal!
Oxford University student Prajwal Parajuly has become the latest sensation in the literary world. At 26 he is the youngest Indian debut writer to bag a two-book deal in one go. A book of short stories and a novel, his writing first wooed the Susan Yearwood Literary Agency and was soon swooped up by Quercus Publishing. His first release scheduled for later this year will be The Gurkha’s Daughter: Stories and will be distributed in India by Penguin Books. The buzz around him is pretty deafening, so we decided to get to know this upcoming debut writer a little better!
What is your India connect? I grew up in Sikkim. My father is Indian, and my mother Nepalese. I oscillated between India and Nepal as a kid. I moved to the US to study at Truman State University in Missouri, after which I worked for three years as an advertising executive at The Village Voice. It was a fun job until fun was all there was to it. There was no growth – so I travelled India and Nepal with my college roommate. Once he left, I had nothing to do so I wrote. I travelled to Manali and wrote there. Then I moved back home to Gangtok and wrote there. I wrote a lot of the book in India. The rest, I finished at Oxford.
Give us a sneak peek into both your books? The collection of short stories The Gurkha’s Daughter: Stories is based on the lives of Nepali-speaking people. The stories are set in India, Nepal, Bhutan, America and the U.K. The novel Land Where I Flee, will be a family saga based in the same areas.
Which part of the literary world are you most inspired you? My favourite writers are PG Wodehouse, Vladmir Nabokov, Jane Austen, Tom Wolfe. You will laugh when I say this, but Enid Blyton is another favourite, too. I still read and re-read a lot of her books! I can’t say I have been influenced by a particular literary world.
With all the hype around your books, where do you see yourself headed once your books are published? I keep hearing that, and it sometimes makes me nervous. It helps that I am a student. That I am from the northeast, a region that hasn’t produced very many writers helps, too. I have learned not to Google myself too much because it’s easy to let all that go to your head. Then there’s all the nervousness about living up to the hype. Then there are other times I think, I write the way I write, and if a critic likes it or doesn’t isn’t really my business. As of now, I don’t know what once the books are out. Maybe I will write a children’s book. Or a travelogue. Or teach. Or start a school. Or a screenplay, perhaps? I first need to finish this novel, and then I will think about what to do next._
By: Shahnaz Siganporia