Introduction

Anjana Basu works as an advertising consultant in Calcutta. She has had a book of short stories published by Orient Longman, India, the BBC has broadcast one of her short stories and her poems have featured in an anthology brought out by Penguin India. She has appeared in The Antigonish Review. The Edinburgh Review and The Saltzburg Review have also featured her work. In 2003, Harper Collins India brought out her novel, Curses in Ivory. In 2004, she was awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland where she worked on her second novel, Black Tongue published by Roli Books in 2007. In 2010 her children’s novel Chinku and the Wolfboy was published. Gyaana Books brought out Rhythms of Darkness in 2012, followed by the conservation books for children. In the Shadow of the Leaves (July 25 2014), Leopard in the Laboratory (June 2016) and Eighteen Tides and a Tiger (2017) was launched, publisher was Teri. Her translation work began with songs for Indian director Rituparno Ghosh’s films and appeared in print in the American Dirty Goat 21. She has also worked on the scripts of Rituparno Ghosh’s Antarmahal and The Last Lear.

Interview Excerpts


My childhood was spent growing up in England. I remember after I started school, at the age of 6, I was shortlisted as one of the winners of an essay competition for schools run by Cadbury Bourneville. It meant a trip to a chocolate factory, a box of chocolates and a certificate. I thought I had gone to heaven!

Well, where my last three books were concerned, they were triggered by a trip to Nainital with an old friend. There we started talking about ghosts and inevitably about Jim Corbett’s ghost. My friend wanted a story about Jim Corbett’s ghost. Out of that came the three books.

Most probably following the thread of a story.

I don’t – they just write themselves. I write as I feel like writing and the rest follows. Must have a brain that does flip flops!

They are both interesting travel destinations, though if it’s tigers you want to see, you’re more likely to spot one at Corbett than in the Sunderbans which is marshy and more water than land.

Very important for younger children which is why those books are heavily illustrated, while books for older children require less illustrations since their imagination is becoming more sophisticated and visual aids are not required.

They may or may not be interconnected – that depends on the person concerned. However one who likes reading is more likely to become a writer than one who does not.
As a reader, I like murder mysteries, real life tales of the natural world and historical novels.

To depict life vividly and truthfully so that the message he or she wants to convey comes through.

I started writing about animal-human conflict for children in a way I thought they would understand quite simply because they need to know that the environment has to be protected and why animals behave the way they do. Children nowadays spend very little time with nature. I also hoped the stories would encourage them to read more and help them to imagine.

Not really thought through but will possibly be about big cats. Someone wanted me to write about jaguars, someone else about elephants. Let’s see where all that goes.

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