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Racism big issue in West: Desai

india Updated: Jan 19, 2007 23:11 IST
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Booker Prize winner Kiran Desai on Friday said that racism was a "reality" in the West and could not be wished away.

Reacting to the recent controversy involving Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, Desai noted that though efforts are on to promote multiculturalism in the West, racism was still an "enormous issue".

The author, whose Booker Prize-winning book The Inheritance of Loss itself deals with the dilemma of an immigrant caught between the two cultures of origin and living, recalled that when she was declared as the winner, some people commented "another Indian". "This has an underlying racist tone," she noted.

Asked about her life after the prize, Desai said that she "realised that now all the time I am talking and travelling.... much different from the pre-Booker period of thinking, reading and writing."

"These days I hardly get any time to read," she added.

Desai said though the Booker gives "a stamp of legitimacy" as a writer with instant recognition and helps in the selling of the book, a lot of factors like "luck and chance" are involved in getting the prize.

"Good writing does not come from prizes, but the prizes helps in getting legitimacy and recognition to the author and the work," she said, adding that she believed that her closeness and genes of her mother, renowned writer mother Anita Desai, played a significant role in her evolution as a writer.

Noting that writing the book brought her "much close to India," she promised that she would frequently visit her roots to understand today's India closely.

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