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Arundhati, R K Narayan, Rushdie make it to BBC’s 100 ‘Novels That Shaped Our World’ list

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The list has been collated by a panel of writers, curators and critics

Renowned Indian authors like R.K. Narayan, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth are among 100 writers who have featured on a list of the most inspiring novels chosen by a panel of experts and revealed by the BBC.

The list has been collated by a panel of writers, curators and critics to select the 100 English language ‘Novels That Shaped Our World.’

The panel — comprising the Times Literary Supplement editor Stig Abell, founder and director of the Bradford Literature Festival Syima Aslam, novelists Juno Dawson and Kit de Waal, journalist and presenter Mariella Frostrup and author and academic Alexander McCall Smith — spent months debating before choosing from an array of contemporary reads, literary classics, graphic novels and children’s books.

The list, that ranges from classics to contemporary, is split into ten categories including identity, love, sex and romance, politics, power and protest, and class and society.

Roy’s debut novel The God of Small Things features in the identity category, Narayan Swami and Friends in the ‘Coming of Age’ section while Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh is placed in the rule breakers class.

“R.K. Narayan’s novels are like a box of Indian sweets: highly coloured container conceals a range of delectable treats,” said author Smith about the writer’s books.

Indian novelist and poet Seth’s A Suitable Boy also features on the list in the family and friendship category and V.S. Naipaul’s A House for Mr Biswas is placed named in the class and society section.

Pakistani authors Mohsin Hamid and Kamila Shamsie’ have also made it onto the list for their novels The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Home Fire respectively. Afghan-American novelist Khaled Hosseini’s second novel A Thousand Splendid Suns is also named on the list that features writers from around the world.

BBC Arts director Jonty Claypole said he wanted the list to be “provocative, spark debate and inspire curiosity.” The list kickstarts the BBC’s year-long celebration of literature.

Some of the other novels chosen include A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin – the first book of the series that inspired the smash hit TV show – Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the BBC reported.

Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series and Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole also feature on the list.

The 100 page-turners were compiled to mark the 300th anniversary of the publication of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, believed to herald the birth of the English language novel.

“We asked our prestigious panel to create a list of world-changing novels that would be provocative, spark debate and inspire curiosity. It took months of enthusiastic debate and they have not disappointed. There are neglected masterpieces, irresistible romps as well as much-loved classics,” Claypole said.

A BBC Two three-part series, Novels That Shaped Our World, begins on Saturday.

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 3:24:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/arundhati-r-k-narayan-rushdie-make-it-to-bbcs-100-novels-that-shaped-our-world-list/article29906523.ece

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