RENOWNED Indian authors RK Narayan, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie and Vikram Seth
are among 100 writers featured in a list of the “most inspiring novels” chosen by a panel of experts and revealed by the BBC.
From classics to contemporary, the list has 10 categories including identity, love, sex and
romance, politics, power and protest, and class and society.
Roy’s debut novel The God of Small Things (identity category), Narayan’s Swami and
Friends (coming of age section) and Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh (rule breakers class) are among featured books.
The list has been collated by a panel of writers, curators and critics to select the 100 English language ”Novels That Shaped Our World”.
Indian writer and poet Seth’s A Suitable Boy (family and friendship category) and VS
Naipaul’s A House for Mr Biswas (class and society section) are also in the list.
Pakistani authors Mohsin Hamid and Kamila Shamsie’s books – The Reluctant
Fundamentalist and Home Fire – respectively are also listed. Afghan-American novelist
Khaled Hosseini’s second novel A Thousand Splendid Suns finds a mention in 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.
The books 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.
The panel comprised 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.
“RK Narayan’s novels are like a box of Indian sweets: a highly coloured container that
conceals a range of delectable treats,” said author Smith.
A BBC Two three-part series, Novels That Shaped Our World, began last Saturday.