Saturday, January 24, 2009

World is at best indifferent to writers: Vikram Seth

JAIPUR, India (Reuters) – The world is, at best, indifferent to most writers, but an author can get by with very little if he is convinced he has a story to tell, according to acclaimed novelist and poet Vikram Seth.

Seth, who famously received a hefty advance of about 200,000 pounds ($277,000) for his epic novel, "A Suitable Boy," only earned enough money from his earlier verse novel, "The Golden Gate," to enable him to move from the United States to India.

"Good books get praised, bad books get praised. Good books get ignored, bad books get ignored. The world is, at best, indifferent to writers," Seth told a panel at the annual Jaipur literary festival, one of India's biggest, late on Wednesday.

"I was lucky enough that my parents were supportive of my decision to abandon my PhD at Stanford and take up residence in their house to do my writing even though not just the neighbors , even the domestic staff looked on me with a puzzled contempt," said Seth, who spent 11 years "not getting his PhD."

Seth received more than 20 rejection letters from publishers for "The Golden Gate" before it was finally published in 1986.

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