Tabish Khair Working on Family Epic

Tabish Khair Working on Family Epic

Tabish Khair, the award-winning Indian author of well-known books such as How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position and The Thing About Thugs is now writing a family epic.

Khair, who was in the UAE to speak about his books at the Sharjah International Book Fair, said he has always written a new kind of novel and a family book is something he has not attempted yet.

"It will be far less humourous than How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position, and more sweeping," Khair told PTI.

He is, however, not sure about the final shape of the book.

"Who knows? Novels change as they are written," he said.

Khair said that the Indian writing in English has definitely carved out a niche for itself over the years.

"There is much variety in it, though some writers might still be taking awesomely holy dips in colonial waters," he said.

On the rapidly developing technology and its impact on the present generation of writers he said it is too early to tell.

"But I do feel that people read too cursorily and rapidly on screens. Page-reading allows for greater depth and introspection, more nuances," said Khair.

How to Fight Islamist Terror from the Missionary Position explores the thin line between faith and fanaticism, the absolutes of love and faith in the varied contexts of religion, romance and family through the lives of three main characters, the narrator and his two flat mates.

Khair chooses not to compare the prevailing literary scene in India and Europe.

"I have never belonged to the scene in India or in Europe; I have always written from the margins and in substantial isolation, without the patronage of any big name, coterie or group. As such, I can hardly compare the two.

"Personally, I do not think highly of literary scenes anywhere; some of the best writers do not belong to such scenes," he said.

Born and educated in Bihar, Khair is the author of various books, including the poetry collections, Where Parallel Lines Meet, Man of Glass, the studies, Babu Fictions: Alienation in Indian English Novels and The Gothic, Post-colonialism and Otherness.

His books have been shortlisted for a number of prizes, including the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, the Man Asian Literary Prize and the Encore Award.

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