Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria and is the author of The Circle of Reason, The Shadow Lines, In An Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, The Hungry Tide, and Sea of Poppies, which is the first volume of a projected series of novels, The Ibis Trilogy. The Circle of Reason was awarded France’s Prix Médicis in 1990, and The Shadow Lines won two presitigious Indian prizes the same year, the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Ananda Puraskar. The Calcutta Chromosome won the Arthur C. Clarke award for 1997 and The Glass Palace won the International e-Book Award at the Frankfurt book fair in 2001. In January 2005 The Hungry Tide was awarded the Crossword Book Prize, a major Indian award. His novel, Sea of Poppies(2008) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2008 and was awarded the Crossword Book Prize and the India Plaza Golden Quill Award.Ghosh’s work has been translated into more than 20 languages and he has served on the Jury of the Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland) and the Venice Film Festival (2001). His essays have been published in The New Yorker, The New Republic and The New York Times. His essays have been published by Penguin India (The Imam and the Indian) and Houghton Mifflin USA (Incendiary Circumstances). He has taught in many universities in India and the USA, including Delhi University, Columbia, Queens College and Harvard. In January 2007 he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest honours, by the President of India.In 2010, Ghosh was awarded honorary doctorates by Queens College, New York, and the Sorbonne, Paris. Along with Margaret Atwood, he was also a joint winner of a Dan David Award for 2010. In 2011 he was awarded the International Grand Prix of the Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal. His most recent novel, River of Smoke, is the second volume of his trilogy. Read more…
John Maxwell Coetzee is a novelist, essayist, linguist, translator and recipient of the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature. Of South African origin, he is now an Australian citizen and lives in Adelaide, South Australia. Prior to receiving the 2003 Nobel Prize in Literature, Coetzee twice won the Booker Prize.J. M. Coetzee was born in Cape Town, South Africa, (1940). He entered the University of Cape Town in 1957, and in 1960 and 1961 graduated with honours in English and mathematics. He spent the years 1962–65 in England, working as a computer programmer while doing research for a thesis on the English novelist Ford Madox Ford. In 1965 Coetzee entered the graduate school of the University of Texas at Austin, and in 1968 graduated with a PhD in English, linguistics, and Germanic languages. His doctoral dissertation was on the early fiction of Samuel Beckett. From 1972 until 2000 he held a series of positions at the University of Cape Town, the last of them as Distinguished Professor of Literature. Between 1984 and 2003 he also taught frequently in the United States: at the State University of New York, Johns Hopkins University, Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago, where for six years he was a member of the Committee on Social Thought. He began writing fiction in 1969.His first book, Dusklands, was published in South Africa in 1974. In the Heart of the Country (1977) won South Africa's then principal literary award, the CNA Prize, and was published in Britain and the USA. Waiting for the Barbarians (1980) received international notice. His reputation was confirmed by Life & Times of Michael K (1983), which won Britain's Booker Prize. It was followed by Foe (1986), Age of Iron (1990), The Master of Petersburg (1994), and Disgrace (1999), which again won the Booker Prize. He has also written two fictionalized memoirs, Boyhood (1997) and Youth (2002). The Lives of Animals (1999) is a fictionalized lecture, later absorbed into Elizabeth Costello (2003). White Writing (1988) is a set of essays on South African literature and culture. Doubling the Point (1992) consists of essays and interviews with David Attwell. Giving Offense (1996) is a study of literary censorship. Stranger Shores (2001) collects his later literary essays.Coetzee has also been active as a translator of Dutch and Afrikaans literature.This biographical information is in part an excerpt from Nobelprize.org and the book series Les Prix Nobel/Nobel Lectures.
Jeet Thayil (born 1959 in Kerala) is an Indian poet, novelist, librettist and musician. He is best known as a poet and is the author of four collections: These Errors Are Correct (Tranquebar, 2008), English (2004, Penguin India, Rattapallax Press, New York, 2004), Apocalypso (Ark, 1997) and Gemini (Viking Penguin, 1992). His first novel, Narcopolis, (Faber & Faber, 2012), was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. It also won the South Asian Literary Prize in 2013. Thayil was mostly educated abroad. He is the editor of the Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets (Bloodaxe, U.K., 2008), 60 Indian Poets (Penguin India, 2008) and a collection of essays, Divided Time: India and the End of Diaspora (Rutledge, 2006). He is also the author of the libretto for the opera Babur in London, commissioned by the UK-based Opera Group with music by the Zurich-based British composer Edward Rushton. Thayil is known as a performance poet and musician. As a songwriter and guitarist, he is one half of the contemporary music project Sridhar/Thayil (Mumbai, New Delhi).
Shin Kyung-sook was born in 1963 in a village near Jeongeup in South Korea. Her parents were farmers who could not afford to send her to high school, so at sixteen she moved to Seoul where she worked in an electronics plant and attended night school. After graduating from the Seoul Institute for Arts as a creative writing major Shin made her literary debut in 1985 with the novella Winter’s Fable which won the Munye Joongang New Author Prize. She has since won a wide variety of literary prizes including the Today’s Young Artist Award from the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Hankook Ilbo Literature Prize, Hyundae Literary Award, Manhae Literature Prize, Dong-in Literary Award, Yi Sang Literary Award, and the Oh Yeongsu Literature Prize. In 2009, the French translation of her work, A Lone Room (La Chambre Solitaire) was one of the winners of the Prix de l'Inapercu, which recognizes excellent literary works which have not yet reached a wide audience.In 2011 Shin won the Man Asian Literary Prize for her Please Look After Mom. She was the first woman to win that award. The international rights to the million-copy bestseller Please Look After Mom were sold in 19 countries including the United States and various countries in Europe and Asia, beginning with China. The novel has been translated into English by Kim Chi-young and released on March 31, 2011.Shin is among a group of female writers from the so-called 386 Generation, a term that refers to the generation of South Koreans born in the 1960s who were very active politically as young adults, and instrumental in the democracy movement of the 1980s.
Pankaj Mishra was born in North India in 1969. He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from the Allahabad University before completing his MA in English Literature at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. In 1992, he moved to Mashobra, a Himalayan village, where he began to contribute literary essays and reviews to The Indian Review of Books, The India Magazine, and the newspaper The Pioneer. His first book was Butter Chicken in Ludhiana: Travels in Small Town India (1995), a travelogue which described the social and cultural changes in India in the new context of globalization. His novel The Romantics (2000), an ironic tale of people longing for fulfillment in cultures other than their own, won the Los Angles Times’ Art Seidenbaum award for first fiction. His book An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World (2004) mixes memoir, history, and philosophy while attempting to explore the Buddha’s relevance to contemporary times. Temptations of the West: How to be Modern in India, Pakistan and Beyond, describes Mishra’s travels through Kashmir, Bollywood, Afghanistan, Tibet, Nepal, and other parts of South and Central Asia. Like his previous books, it was featured in the New York Times‘ 100 Best Books of the Year. His most recent book is From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of Asia (2012). Mishra was a visiting professor at Wellesley College in 2001, 2004, and 2006. In 2004-2005 he received a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Writers and Scholars, New York Public Library. For 2007-08, he was the Visiting Fellow at the Department of English, University College, London. In 2009, he was nominated a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Excerpts from website.
Shirley Geok-lin Lim’s Crossing the Peninsula, received the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. She has published six other volumes of poetry; three short story collections; two novels (Joss and Gold and Sister Swing); a children’s novel, Princess Shawl, translated into Chinese and published in Taiwan; and selected short stories and poetry in The Shirley Lim Collection. Her memoir, Among the White Moon Faces, received the American Book Award for non-fiction. She has two critical studies, Nationalism and Literature: Writing in English from the Philippines and Singapore and Writing South East/Asia in English, and has edited/co-edited critical volumes, including Writing Singapore; The Forbidden Stitch received the 1990 American Book Award. She has edited/co-edited Journal of Transnational American Studies; Ariel, Tulsa Studies, Studies in the Literary Imagination, Concentric, and others. Her critical work has appeared in New Literary History, Feminist Studies, Signs, MELUS, ARIEL, New Literatures Review, World Englishes, American Studies International, Pedagogy, and American Book Review. She served as Chair Professor, University of Hong Kong; is Research Professor at UCSB, and Ngee Ann Kongsi Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University Scholars Programme, NUS. Lim was awarded the MELUS 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award, UCSB Faculty Research Lecture Award, University of Western Australia Distinguished Lecturer award, and Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer award.
Pascal Khoo Thwe is a Burmese author from the minority Padaung people, known for his autobiographic writings about growing up in Burma under military rule. For a time he was a rebel soldier fighting the Myanmar Junta. His book, From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey, was awarded the Kiriyama Prize. He was awarded a scholarship to Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge where he received his BA in English literature until 1995, thanks to a lucky encounter with a Cambridge Don. Khoo Thwe's autobiographical book "From the Land of Green Ghosts" was published by Harper-Collins in 2002. He currently resides in London.