Vikram Seth Wiki, Age, Wife, Family, Children, Biography and more – WikiBio
Vikram Sess was a popular Indian novelist and poet. He is the author of the acclaimed book The Right Boy.
Vikram Seth was born on Friday 20 June 1952 (Age 67; same as 2019) in Calcutta (now Calcutta). His zodiac sign is Gemini. He attended St Michael’s High School, Patna, St Xavier High School, Patna, Wareham Boys’ School, Dehradun and Doon School in Dehradun. From Doon School he was awarded a scholarship to Tonbridge School in England. At 17, he went to England to study at Tonbridge with his uncle, dentist Shanti Behari Seth. At Tonbridge he was awarded a scholarship to Oxford University. He obtained a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, UK in 1975. He completed his graduate degree at Stanford University in California in 1979. He was working on a Ph.D. in economics at Stanford University, but he gave up his Ph.D. to become a full-time writer.
high: 5′ 3″
eye color: Black
hair color: black (half bald)
Family, Caste and Wife
Vikram Seth’s father, Prem Nath Seth, is an executive at Bata Shoes, known in Delhi as “Mr. Shoes”. His mother, Leila Seth, was the first female judge of the Delhi High Court and the first female Chief Justice of the Indian State High Court.
He has a brother named Shantum (Buddhist teacher) and a sister named Aradhana (filmmaker and set designer).
In an interview, he admitted to being bisexual. He once had an affair with a woman named Gabriel. He also formed a relationship with the French violinist Philippe Honoré.
In an interview, he revealed that he had been in a monogamous relationship and was very sad when it ended.
In 1980, he wrote his first collection of poems, Maps.
Author of eight collections of poetry, including “The Humble Administrator’s Garden” (1985), “You Who Can’t Sleep Tonight” (1990), “Three Chinese Poets” (1992). His children’s book The Legend of the Beast Here and There (1992) consists of ten stories that have been adapted into poetry. Vikram Sess wrote three fictional novels, the first being Golden Gate (1986).
The other two are – A Proper Boy (1993), which brought him into the limelight, and Equal Music (1999). He also authored a travel journal titled “From Tianhu: A Journey Through Xinjiang and Tibet” (1983), documenting his journey through Tibet, China and Nepal. His second non-fiction work, Twins (2005), is a memoir of the marriage of his uncle Shanti Behari Seth and his German Jewish aunt Hennerle Gerda Caro. He was commissioned by the English National Opera to write a play based on the Greek legend “Arion and the Dolphin”. The opera premiered in June 1994.
Vikram Seth’s “The Right Boy” – the sequel to “The Right Girl” was announced in 2009 and has yet to be published.
Awards and Honors
- Officer of the Order of the British Empire, 2001
- 1999 “Music for Equality” Crossword Prize
- 1994 WH Smith Literary Award “The Right Boy”
- 1994 Commonwealth Writers Award “A Fit Boy”
- 1988 Sahitya Akademi Award for “Golden Gate”
- 1985 The Humble Administrator’s Garden won the Commonwealth Poetry Award (Asia)
- 1983 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award “From Tianhu: Travelling in Xinjiang and Tibet”
- In 2006, Vikram became a leader in the campaign against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (unnatural sexual conduct), which was re-convicted by the Supreme Court of India. He also attacked Article 377 at an event organised by the TV channel Rashtrapati Bhawan.
- In 2015, Vikram was attacked for accepting Pravasi Bharatiya Samman from Jagdish Tytler in 2005. Jagdish is accused of his role in the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984. When news of Jagdish’s involvement in the riots broke, Baha Dutt asked Vikram if he would return the award he had received from Jagdish. To this, Vikram replied—
I will also refund my award if Sahitya Akademi is still inarticulate. “
- food: Awadhi Biryani, Konkani Biryani, Hyderabadi Biryani, Chapli Kabab, Shamli Kabab
- poet: Timothy Steele, Donald Davey
- novelist: Jane Austen, George Elliott, RK Narayan
- Book: Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
- musician: Franz Schubert, Johann Sebastian Bach
He has been moving his base from London to Derry and vice versa. He also owns a home in Salisbury, England, Bemerton Rectory, the former residence of poet George Herbert.
- At the age of six, Vikram was sent to a boarding school, which caused him to become introverted. It also affected his areas of interest, as he became more interested in reading than participating in group activities such as sports. He recalled,
Can’t look people in the eye. The school is too far to go. It takes two days to get there from home. I only see my family for four months a year. When I was at home, my father was far away, a tired and focused figure coming home. During my six years here, I had a terrible sense of loneliness and isolation. Sometimes when the lights are out, I wish I never woke up. Because of my interest in studying and reading, because of my lack of interest in games, and because of my reluctance to join gangs and groups, I was laughed at and bullied by my classmates and seniors. “
- While studying at Doon School in Dehradun, he edited the school magazine, Doon School Weekly.
- Seth started writing poetry while studying at Oxford. He condemned the poems he wrote at the time; because he considered them “very unskilled.” However, he continued to write and kept the poems to himself.
- He is an avid reader of poetry. While studying at Stanford, Vikram stumbled across a translation of the Chinese poet Wang Wei. Wei’s work influenced Vikram to learn Mandarin so that he could read the poet’s original work. Within a year, his language became so fluent that he could write poetry in it. At the same time, he also began to write poetry in English seriously.
- Knowing he needed counseling, he contacted a professor in Stanford’s English department and found a master in American poet Timothy Steele, who was then a Jones lecturer in poetry at Stanford. Steele not only supported Vikram in poetry, but also instilled in him a creative impulse. Timothy also once gave him an informal biweekly tutorial. According to Timothy,
The first thing that impresses you about Vikram is his enormous and lively intelligence. It was always clear that he was going to do something amazing, but what wasn’t clear was where his talent was heading when I first met him. Three or four muses were pulling at him jealously. “
- Vikram took a one-year sabbatical from his studies on the Wallace Stegner Fellowship (1977-78) for creative writing.
- American poet and author of “Does Poetry Matter?” Dana Gioia was also one of Vikram’s contemporaries. In 1980, along with Dana and Steele, Vikram naturally began to write poetry with the publication of his first collection of poems, The Mapping. After he rejoined Stanford University’s economics department.
- ‘Mappings’ had rhyme and rhyme (a sound pattern), which was unpopular at the time, so publishers refused to publish his book. This forced Vikram to become a publisher himself, and he began forcing his family and friends to sell his books. It was later published by the Writers’ Workshop in Kolkata.
- Until the publication of his book in 1980, Vikram had travelled to Nanjing University in China to conduct doctoral research on Chinese rural demography. In China, Seth spent more time reading Chinese poetry than he did research. This eventually led to Vikram’s translation of Wang Wei, Du Fu, and Li Bai in his 1992 book Three Chinese Poets.
- Besides Mandarin, he is also fluent in German, French, Urdu, Bengali and Welsh.
- At the end of his stay in China, he managed to charm a policeman by singing the song “Lu Yuan Xun” from the film “Lu Yuan” (1951), which was popular in China at the time. During an organized sightseeing tour of Northwest China. The next day, he sang a talk about a police station, and he got a rare pass to Lhasa, the capital of Tibet in the Chinese autonomous region. In Tibet, he decided to hitch a ride back to India via Tibet. He documented this journey in his book From Paradise Lake: A Journey Through Xinjiang and Tibet (1983), published by London publishers Chatto and Windus.
- Back at Stanford, he read Alexander Pushkin’s “Eugene Onegin,” translated by Charles Johnston. He was so fascinated by the book that he wrote his first novel, Golden Gate (1986), published by Random House.
- His love for music began when he learned to play the flute and cello. He also studied Khayal for 10 years under the late Pandit Amarnath. However, his love for Western classical music began when a friend of his in Oxford took him to listen to Bach. It was this passion for music that led him to create An Equal Music (1999).
- After the publication of Golden Gate (1986), Vikram decided to hire a British agent. He took out the shortlists of several institutions and conducted interviews one by one. He eventually settled on Scottish literary agent and author Gilles Gordon. Looking back on the interview, Gordon said:
Vikram sat at one end of a long table and started grilling us. This is incredible. He wants to know our literary tastes, our thoughts on poetry, our thoughts on drama, which novelists we like. “
- Vikram also worked as an editor at Stanford University Press from 1985 to 1986.
- He also got a job at the World Bank. His parents advised him to work in a bank for five years, receive a pension, and then go on to write poems and novels. Vikram told him that his creativity would come to an end, and instead he asked his parents to support him until his next book was published.
- Vikram not only mastered the art of combining words in rhyme (poetry)…
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