A Talk by Vikas Swarup, A Diplomat Who Writes

5:00–7:00 pm
UChicago Center in Delhi


Vikas Swarup was born in Allahabad (India) in a family of lawyers. He attended Allahabad University and studied History, Psychology and Philosophy. He also made his mark as a champion debater, winning National level competitions. After graduating with distinction, he joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1986, motivated by an interest in international relations and a desire to explore different cultures.

In his diplomatic career, Vikas has been posted to various countries such as Turkey (1987-1990), the United States (1993-1997) Ethiopia (1997-2000), the United Kingdom (2000-2003) and South Africa (2006-2009). He served as Consul General of India in Osaka-Kobe, Japan from 2009 to 2013. Currently, he is posted in New Delhi as Joint Secretary (United Nations – Political).

Vikas’s first novel Q&A was published in 2005 by Doubleday/Random House (UK & Commonwealth), Harper Collins (Canada) and Scribner (US)- it has since been published in 43 languages. It was short listed for the Best First Book by the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and won South Africa’s Exclusive Books Boeke Prize 2006 as well as the Paris Book Fair’s Reader’s Prize, the Prix Grand Public, in 2007. It was voted the Most Influential Book of 2008 in Taiwan, and winner of the Best Travel Read (Fiction) at the Heathrow Travel Product Award 2009.The film version of Q&A, titled ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, directed by Danny Boyle, took the world by storm, winning more than 70 awards including four Golden Globes, 7 BAFTAs and a staggering 8 Oscars, including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture. Vikas has since written two more bestselling novels, Six Suspects (2008) and The Accidental Apprentice (2013) which have been translated into multiple languages and are due to be made into films.

Vikas is the recipient of the US-India Business Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award for “Contributing to the Cultural Ties that Bind” in 2009. He is also the recipient of a degree of Doctor of Literature & Philosophy (honoris causa) from the University of South Africa (UNISA), the largest university in South Africa and one of the largest distance education institutions in the world.