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Siphiwo Mahala

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Vikas Swarup at DAC Book Club

The much anticipated second public lecture hosted by the DAC Book Club was delivered by Vikas Swarup on Friday 12 June at the National Library, Pretoria. Over two hundred individuals braved the breezy evening to listen the outgoing Deputy High Commissioner of India talk about his widely acclaimed novel, Q&A, which was turned into the blockbuster movie, Slumdog Millionaire.

Swarup proved more than just a diplomat and a writer, but an eloquent public speaker as well. He kept the audiences captivated as he related his experience of having written the international bestselling novel and the subsequent adaptation into the multi-award winning movie. Q&A took two months to write in 2003 and even before its publication in 2005, the author received an offer for a movie deal in 2004. In addition to several awards, the book has been translated into 42 languages worldwide.

During the discussion that ensued, the participants wanted to know how it felt to give somebody else the responsibility of turning his book into a movie. Some clearly felt that the movie did not do justice to the novel. In a nonchalant but profound manner, Swarup likened this process to giving away your daughter for marriage. In this case, the movie becomes “your son-in-law and you never speak badly about your in-laws in public.” However, Swarup was consulted every step of the way and he advised on certain aspects of the movie and he is happy with the final product and its success.

Swarup also tried a hand in poetry after a brilliant performance by the much admired Masoja Msiza. In a hilarious manner, Swarup recited his instantly formed “poem” about how Msiza was “stealing his thunder”. On a more serious note, Swarup congratulated Msiza and acknowledged that South Africa had abundance of talent. He encouraged the culture of reading, which is essential for anyone harbouring ambitions of becoming a writer. These words echoed Ms Rachel More, the Deputy National Librarian’s statement that, “if library is the hospital of the mind, all of us would not mind being patients.”


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    June 27th, 2009 @09:41 #

    Be-e-e-e-e-n! See what happens when you go away? The spammers come out to play... DC, this explains why there were a few slightly suspicious remarks about your chirp on Nechama's blog.


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