Jeet Thayil is a poet, novelist, musician, and editor who currently resides in New Delhi. His debut novel Narcopolis (2011) depicts the lives opium users in 1970s Bombay. The book was awarded the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2013 and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 and the 2013 Hindu Literary Prize. Thayil has also published four collections of poetry – Gemini (1992), Apocalypso (1997), English (2004), and These Errors are Correct (2008), winner of the 2012 Sahitya Akademi Award for English. He wrote the libretto for the opera Babur in London and comprises half of the musical duo Sridhar/Thayil. Thayil holds a Masters of Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence College.
Two nuns and a penguin approach you at a bar, and you tell them you’re a writer. When they ask you what you write about, how do you answer?
“God,” I say to the penguin; to the nuns I say, “Boo!”
Points is a blog primarily for drug and alcohol historians. What do you think this audience would find most interesting about your work?
What led you to write about alcohol and drugs in the first place?
I thought it was a useful way to think about more important things.