Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pallavi Aiyar

Award winning journalist and author Pallavi Aiyar spent six years living in a hutong home in the heart of the old imperial city of Beijing. She reported from across China for the Hindu and Indian Express in addition to teaching English at the Beijing Broadcasting Institute. She is the winner of the 2007 Prem Bhatia Memorial Award for excellence in political reporting and analysis for her dispatches from China. Her book Smoke and Mirrors: An Experience of China won the Vodafone-Crossword Popular Book Award for 2008. Aiyar's first novel, Chinese Whiskers, was published by Harper Collins India to excellent reviews, and is now available from St. Martin's Press in the US. She currently lives in Brussels with her husband, son and two Chinese cats, where she writes about Europe for the Business Standard. She has degrees in Philosophy, History and Media Sociology from St. Stephens College Delhi University, Oxford and the London School of Economics.

Late last month I asked the author what she was reading. Aiyar's reply:
I’ve just finished reading the most mesmerizing book called the Sly Company of People Who Care, by a cricket journalist, Rahul Bhattacharya. It's set in Guyana, a country I knew absolutely nothing about, and it's made me want to pack a bag and get the first ticket out there I can. The lilting, sassy, seductive, creolese used throughout the book was a particular draw for me.

I’ve also recently devoured (in a day) Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, possibly making me the last mother on the planet to have read it. It’s made me ponder some tough parenting questions as I battle with my own 4 year old trying to figure out just where to set the boundaries.

On my list to read is Indian literary critic Nilanjana Roy’s debut novel, The Wildings. It’s about cats and it's set in the neighborhood in Delhi I grew up in, so I’m pretty sure I’ll enjoy it.
Visit Pallavi Aiyar's website.

--Marshal Zeringue