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October 8, 2001

Celebrated author Vikram Seth to give free public lecture

By John Newman

Vikram Seth was born in Calcutta in 1952. He left India to study at Oxford where he earned degrees in philosophy, economics, and politics, and went on to study creative writing at Stanford and classical Chinese poetry in China at Nanjing University.

Vikram Seth has been compared to George Eliot, Leo Tolstoy, and Goethe.
His first novel, The Golden Gate, is written entirely in tetrameter sonnets, something that had never been done in the English language before. The Suitable Boy, his prose fiction debut, examined multigenerational Hindu/Muslim conflict in 1950s India and holds the distinction of being the longest single volume ever published in English. But Seth is much more than a literary statistic in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Eugene Robinson, a literary critic for the Washington Post called him, "the best writer of his generation." Other critics have compared him to George Eliot, Leo Tolstoy, and Goethe. Since he was first published in 1980, Seth has produced six books of poetry and three novels.

His latest novel, An Equal Music (Broadway Books), is a novel recounted in the first person by the second violinist of a string quartet. According to the Daily Mail, it is "a masterpiece--as clear, lovely and civilized as a Schubert quartet."

Seth has published three volumes of poetry, Mappings, The Humble Administrator's Garden, and All You Who Sleep Tonight; as well as a volume of translations from classical Chinese, Three Chinese Poets; a book of verse fables, Beastly Tales from Here and There; and a libretto for the opera Arion and the Dolphin by the composer Alec Roth. He is also the author of From Heaven Lake: Travels through Sinkiang and Tibet, an account of his hitchhiking journey as a student across western China and the Himalayas.

Seth will deliver the Inaugural Sidhartha Maitra Endowed Lecture, "Friendship and Poetry," for the Satyajit Ray Film and Study Collection at UC Santa Cruz on October 12, at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Center Recital Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

For more information e-mail or contact the Ray FASC at: (831) 459-4012 or 459-2837, or visit the Ray FASC web site.

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