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An evening of banter and books.

TUNING into an interaction between Booker Prize- winning Irish novelist Anne Enright and Indian author/ classical singer Amit Chaudhuri is the stuff ( only) a young literature student's fantasies are made of. But Enright's unassuming charm ensured that a reading of extracts from The Gathering , her novel that won the Man Booker Prize in 2007, did not turn into an evening of stiff upper lips.

Enright and Chaudhuri, who trace their lineage to the University of East Anglia -- Enright had graduated from the prestigious creative writing programme where Chaudhuri now teaches -- had stopped at the India Habitat Centre on Wednesday, en route to the Jaipur Literature Festival.

On Enright's merits as a writer, Chaudhuri said, " There is a prickliness about her writing C* an unappeasability ... ." It prompted Enright to say that she would like to be appeased very much. She spoke of Ireland as " the most annoying place in the world, because it is home." The exchange prompted someone in the audience, possibly a fresh literature graduate, to ask a question that smacked of pomposity -- did she feel conscious of being a woman writer from a country that had in the past, lionised only a " patriarchal, male" canon? " I find that question very strange and I get asked that quite often. It's like being asked ' How do you feel as a writer whose shoe size is 6?' I'll never be a male writer, so I have nothing to compare it with," she said.

If only half of the literary community would treat itself with the levity Enright did.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Jan 23, 2010
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