Speaker Nayantara Sahgal at ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2018

Nayantara Sahgal


Nayantara Sahgal has written ten novels, a collection of short stories and 8 works of nonfiction, including three autobiographical works, apart from wide-ranging literary and political commentary. She is now at work on her 11th novel. She calls herself a political writer and her novels reflect the making of modern post-independence India. Her literary Awards include the Sinclair Fiction Prize, the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Leeds. The Chandigarh Literary Festival and the Times Literary Festival have honoured her with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Some of her novels have been published in Japanese, German, Dutch and Italian. She has received a Diploma of Honour from Italy’s International Order of Volunteers for Peace and was associated with the founding of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, which she served as a Vice-President during the 1980’s. She is a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has held Fellowships in the United States at the Bunting Institute, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the National Humanities Center. She has received Distinguished Alumna Awards from Wellesley College, Massachusetts and Woodstock School, Mussoorie as well as a Doon Ratna from Dehradun.

She returned her Sahitya Akademi Award in 2014 in protest against the murder of three writers known for their rejection of superstition and bigotry and the Akademi’s silence at the time. She has written and spoken strongly against the savage assaults taking place mainly on Muslims and on all those who oppose the ruling Hindutva ideology. She is an active member of the Indian Writers’ Forum, which highlights attacks on freedom of expression, on the Constitutional right of Indians to live and worship as they choose and on the official policy to shrink India into an exclusively Hindu identity.

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