Alliance française de Pondichéry (AFP) will be hosting ‘An Evening with Akash Kapur and William Dalrymple’ at the AFP Auditorium on Friday October 17th. This ‘exciting exchange’ of the two authors will be to celebrate their books being translated and published in French. While Dalrymple’s ‘Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan’ charts the history of that country, Kapur’s ‘India Becoming: A Portrait of Life in Modern India’ is an account of change and transformation in modern India.
Akash Kapur, a social anthropologist, hails from Pondicherry. His book ‘India Becoming’ was selected by The New Yorker and The New Republic as a Best Book of 2012 and by Newsweek as one of its three Must Reads on Modern India.
“It was translated by Pierre Reignier who was commissioned directly by the publisher (Albin Michel, in France). I read enough French to know he did a wonderful job,” Akash told Zoom Pondy. “I do think it should be interesting to people who have a connection to this part of India (ie South India), but I would also like to think it might appeal to people who don’t necessarily have a connection to India, but who are interested more generally in development.”
William Dalrymple, is a Scottish historian, writer and critic. He specializes in South Asian history and has written many books on the subject. Among several awards he has won the Duff Cooper and the Wolfson Prize. He is also one of the co-founders and co-directors of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival.
His book ‘Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan’ entails the events of the First Anglo-Afghan War from 1839 to 1842 during the period of the British rule. The book has received unanimously positive response from the critics. Jason Burke’s review in The Observer says, “Return of a King’ is perhaps the most directly relevant to the present day. The author spent time in both Afghanistan and Pakistan during its research and elaborates on the obvious parallels with the current situation.”
“My books have been translated into 40 languages and this one is going to get translated into quite a few more,” William told Zoom Pondy. “This book is not just a story about Afghanistan, not just any day in Afghanistan, it is a parable of a huge amount of history to let me come to”. The book was a finalist for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize and the Hessell-Tiltman Prize.
Both books will be available at the venue, and the authors will autograph copies.