Free Press Journal

British author Hanif Kureishi feels India most ‘literate’ country in world


Hanif Kureishi

Kolkata: Award-winning British playwright and author Hanif Kureishi Saturday praised Indians for their continued interest in literature and said the nation is the “most literate” country in the world.

Kureishi, who is of Pakistani descent, is the author of numerous novels, short story collections, screenplays, plays and his work has been translated into 36 languages. His screenplay of “My Beautiful Laundrette” won the New York Film Critics Best Screenplay Award and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

The London-based author said in his hometown, people are more pre-occupied with movies.

“India is the most literate country in the world. The people here are really interested in books, they talk about books and are interested in authors etc… People in London rarely talk about books, they are more interested in movies,” Kureishi said at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival here.

He said India is keeping literature alive and is helping it develop. Being interested in India and being interested in what is happening in Indian writing is really now is being at the forefront of what literature is today, he said.

“It is fascinating. This is the place where literature is really alive, where it is really developing and people are talking and working on new material. India is a young country and people are enthusiastic for words and literature,” said Kureishi whose novels include “The Buddha of Suburbia,” which won the Whitbread Award and was adapted into a BBC television series; “The Black Album”; “Intimacy”; “Something to Tell You” and “The Last Word”.

He has been awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.