Monday, April 21, 2008

Aravind Adiga

Aravind Adiga was born in India and raised partly in Australia. He attended Columbia and Oxford universities. A former correspondent for Time magazine, he has also been published in the Financial Times. The White Tiger is his recently-released debut novel.

A couple of questions from a Q & A at the publisher's website:

Who are some of your literary influences? Do you identify yourself particularly as an Indian writer?

It might make more sense to speak of influences on this book, rather than on me. The influences on The White Tiger are three black American writers of the post-World War II era (in order), Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, and Richard Wright. The odd thing is that I haven't read any of them for years and years -- I read Ellison's Invisible Man in 1995 or 1996, and have never returned to it -- but now that the book is done, I can see how deeply it's indebted to them. As a writer, I don't feel tied to any one identity; I'm happy to draw influences from wherever they come.

Could you describe your process as a writer? Was the transition from journalism to fiction difficult?

A first draft of The White Tiger was written in 2005, and then put aside. I had given up on the book. Then, for reasons I don't fully understand myself, in December 2006, when I'd just returned to India after a long time abroad, I opened the draft and began rewriting it entirely. I wrote all day long for the next month, and by early January 2007, I could see that I had a novel on my hands.
Read the full Q & A.

The Page 69 Test: The White Tiger.

--Marshal Zeringue