Priya Basil [ United Kingdom ]
Priya Basil was born in London and grew up in Nairobi. She studied English Literature at the University of Bristol and then worked for three years in the advertising before moving to Berlin, where she began writing her debut novel »Ishq and Mushq« (2007).
In this family saga that spans several generations moving between Kenya, England and India, Basil intertwines individual destinies against a backdrop of historical upheavals and events, like the partition of British India and Winston Churchill’s funeral. She explores identity and exile with great stylistic sensibility, humour and elements of magical realism. Her novel, »The Obscure Logic of the Heart« (2010) tells the love story of young British Muslim Lina and Anil, a Sikh architecture student from Kenya. Once again, the narrative spans the globe and travels the rugged seam between the public and the private asking probing questions about where our loyalties as individuals must ultimately lie. Basil’s novella »Strangers on the 16:02« (2011) appeared in the Quick Reads series (a successful British initiative to motivate people who don’t read much to pick up short prose works by well-known writers).
Basil has also written articles and essays for various publications, including »The Guardian« »Lettre International« and the »Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung«. Her work has been nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. The Women in Publishing network nominated her for the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade 2013 and 2014. In 2010, Basil co-founded Authors for Peace, launching the initiative on International Peace Day with a 24-hour worldwide reading at the 10th ilb in which eighty international authors took part. Since then she has remained politically engaged in various ways, mostly recently on the issue of mass surveillance. She was one of the seven co-authors and initiators of the 2013 Writers Against Mass Surveillance appeal. She continues to be active on the topic, writing about it and speaking at conferences, including at re:publica 2014 in Berlin. Priya Basil now lives in Berlin.