Priya Basil [ United Kingdom ]
Priya Basil was born in 1977 in London and grew up in Kenya. She studied English Literature at the University of Bristol and went on to work for three years in the advertising industry before she had the chance to exclusively dedicate herself to writing. The result was her début novel »Ishq and Mushq« (2007), a family saga which illuminates the problem of cultural identity for immigrants over several generations, and raises questions of memory, exile and self-rediscovery. Against a background of historical events like the Partition of British India and Churchill's funeral, Basil writes with nuance and insight about the trials and tribulations of a Sikh family. »Ishq and Mushq« was nominated for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and has so far been translated into Dutch, Portuguese, Russian and Serbian.
Her second novel, »The Obscure Logic of the Heart« (2010), also tackles and expands the theme of immigration. It tells the love story between the Muslim Lina and the liberal Kenyan architecture student, Anil. Both are second-generation immigrants living in London. Due to their different backgrounds, Lina's relationship is in stark opposition to her parents' wishes, forcing her to make a choice between her family and her great love. Whereas Basil concentrated on the private sphere in her first novel, in »The Obscure Logic of the Heart« she goes a step further and positions her characters in the maelstrom of socio-political problems: Lina, who works for the UN, learns that Anil’s family is involved in gun-running, which is an additional strain on her relationship with him. The larger world and the smaller mingle in Basil's novel. The text becomes vivid through the use of small, illuminating scatters of conversational fragments, situational snapshots and observations of daily life. Basil's narrative style is characterised by diversity and great empathy with her characters.
Priya Basil supports Control Arms, a campaign which was initiated in 2002 by Amnesty International, IANSA and Oxfam, and that campaigns for a strictly regulated worldwide control of weapons. She lives in London and Berlin.
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