Sriram Raghavan to bring The Accidental Apprentice to the big screen

Bollywood filmmaker Sriram Raghavan, who is working on the film adaptation of Vikas Swarup’s ‘The Accidental Apprentice’, says he would love to have actress Deepika Padukone onboard the project.

Deepika Padukone and Sriram Raghavan
Deepika Padukone and Sriram Raghavan

“I have not finalised her (Deepika) yet but we would love to work with her. I have just met her and sounded her idea,” Radghavan told PTI.

“She (Deepika) is a talented actress and we would like to work with her. But till I don’t finish my script I can’t talk about it (casting),” he said.

When asked whether Deepika liked the idea, Raghavan said, “She is aware about the book. She has read the book but the book and movie are two different things. Once my script is ready then I will talk about casting.”

However, the ‘Badlapur’ helmer has not thought of casting other actors for the film.

“I don’t think we will go with newcomers not for a main role. I think we will go with a star as that is the requirement,” he added.

The ‘Johnny Gaddar’ director is yet to finish writing. “I am still not fully ready with the script. I had told them (producers) by end of June., that I will finish it but I haven’t. We are yet to cast anyone for the film ,” he added.

According to him, changing a novel into a film is a bit easy.

“The good thing is the story is already there… characters are fetched out. It is not like starting all fresh.

After that it is a matter of structuring. It is easier to adapt than write your own story.”

Once Raghavan is done with script he would show it to its author.

“That is a later stage discussion as I can talk about it once I am ready with the script. Once I am done with writing the script then I have to meet the author take his feedback and then I can talk about it in detail.”

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Accidental Apprentice announced as Finalist at BBC Audio Drama Awards 2015

The Accidental Apprentice, dramatized as The Seventh Test, has made the short list for the BBC Audio Drama Awards in both the Best Serial and the Best Adaptation categories.

See more here:



The Accidental Apprentice released in the US

July, 2014

Minotaur Books released the hardback edition of The Accidental Apprentice in the US on July 8. Now available online and at all good bookshops across the US. 


The Accidental Apprentice voted among the top books in an online poll

Bangalore, January 8th, 2014 today released the readers’ choice list of most popular books in 2013. The results are based on a poll conducted on from 9th to 31st December 2013. Books lovers from across the country were invited to vote for their favourite books under five different genres. Sudeep Nagarakar’s It Started with a Friend Request that triumphed with over 17% votes also topped the Indian writing category. The Oath of the Vayuputrasby Amish Tripathi, the final in the Shiva trilogy came in a close second with 13% votes. Other winners in Indian writing included Sudha Murthy’s House of Cards, Accidental Apprentice by renowned Indian author Vikas Swarup and Arjuna: Saga of a Pandava Warrior-Prince by Anuja Chandramouli. The Reader’s Choice Polls also showed that in 2013, Indian Authors were the most popular amongst Indian book lovers.

The Accidental Apprentice is now a BBC Radio Play


(BBC Radio 4, May 2014, 10 x 15 min)

A thriller set in India from the author of SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. Sales assistant, Sapna Sinha, is offered a chance to change her life. All she has to do is pass seven tests.

Written by Ayeesha Menon & John Dryden from Vikas Swarup’s best-selling novel THE ACCIDENTAL APPRENTICE. Directed by John Dryden.

7th Test


‘Slumdog Millionaire’ on highest grossing indie films list

Newsroom Post

Los Angeles, May 15

Independent or Indie films seem to be a hit among the movie buffs in the west with films like “Blue Ruin” and “Frank” and “Slumdog Millionaire” turning into box office favourites.

Released in 2009, “Slumdog Millionaire” was directed by Danny Boyle. The film was based on the book by Vikas Swarup. Simon Beaufoy adapted it into a screenplay. “Slumdog Millionaire” was the most praised movie of 2009, and seemed to win over critics and audiences wherever it played. It minted $377 million and also won Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director.

The Accidental Apprentice to be made into a Bollywood film

Agencies: October 23, 2013

The next film directed by Sriram Raghvan will be based on novelist and diplomat Vikas Swarup’s third book The Accidental Apprentice. Sanjay Routray’s Matchbox Films has bought the rights of The Accidental Apprentice and will be producing the film.

Sriram Raghavan has earlier given us films like Ek Hasina Thi, Johnny Gaddar and Agent Vinod. Sanjay Routray has worked as an executive producer on films like Johnny Gaddar, Khosla Ka Ghosla and Makdee.

Vikas’s first book Q and A which won him South Africa’s Boeke Prize in 2006 was adapted into a film which won eight Academy Awards titled Slumdog Millionaire by Danny Boyle. The rights of his second book Six Suspects has been bought by Starfield Productions. Sriram confirmed the news, saying, “The Accidental Apprentice is a fast-paced suspense story set in contemporary India. The premise is real yet fantastic. The protagonist is someone we can all relate to. It begins like a fairytale but it has a dark side as well. I am a huge fan of Vikas’s first novel Q and A but couldn’t get the rights of that.”

The race is now on to see who gets the film rights for the Hollywood version of The Accidental Apprentice. 

Accidental Apprentice Bollywood


The Accidental Apprentice is Waterstones Book Club’s Book of the Month

The Accidental Apprentice is Waterstones Book Club’s Book of the Month

Waterstones Book Club brings together the best of new paperback fiction, powerful non-fiction and even a couple of rediscovered classics. The Club’s latest autumn collection of must read paperbacks includes The Accidental Apprentice, which is also the Book of the Month for September.

From the author of Q&A, the novel which became Danny Boyle‘s multi-award winning Slumdog Millionaire, comes this right-of-passage novel with a difference as Sapna Sinha attempts to pass seven tests that could see her rise from sales assistant to CEO of a huge company…



Paperback edition of The Accidental Apprentice launched in the UK

Paperback edition of The Accidental Apprentice launched in the UK

The paperpack edition of The Accidental Apprentice was launched in September. It features a brand new cover (but the same great story!).



Prakash Raj to star in Six Suspects?

Business Standard 

IANS  |  Chennai  September 24, 2013

Prakash Raj to star in Six Suspects?

Actor-filmmaker Prakash Raj has reportedly been roped in to play an important role in the Hollywood screen adaptation of Vikas Swarup’s “Six Suspects”, which is expected to go on floors March 2014.

“I’m happy to share that my close friend Prakash Raj has signed a Hollywood project. The film will be based on the book ‘Six Suspects’ and is expected to go on floors in March next year,” posted Kannada filmmaker Beesu Suresha on his Facebook page.

Argentinian filmmaker Pablo Trapero will helm the yet untitled film. “Six Suspects” is the working title of the film.

Vikas Swarup’s “Six Suspects” revolves around the murder of a home minister’s son at a party and the six suspects involved in it.

The author’s debut book titled “Q&A” was adapted into Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” by Danny Boyle.


The Accidental Apprentice released in India; tops the charts

The Accidental Apprentice released in India; tops the charts

Posted on February 20, 2013

The Accidental Apprentice, Vikas Swarup’s third novel, was released in India at the end of January, 2013. The author embarked on a six city tour to promote the book and interact with readers.

The first stop was Jaipur and the Jaipur Literature Festival which Vikas describes as “the greatest litfest in the world”. The very first copy of the novel was released on January 28 during a freewheeling session with Ashok Ferry on the front lawns of Diggi Palace. Vikas also did another session at the Festival, on ‘Adaptations’ with Zoe Heller (Notes From a Scandal) Ariel Dorfman (Death and the Maiden), Sebastian Faulks (Birdsong, Charlotte Grey), and British theatre director Tim Supple, moderated by cinema historian Rachel Dwyer.

The next stop was Kolkata and the Kolkata Book Fair. On January 31, Thomas Keneally, the famed author of Schindler’s Ark, released The Accidental Apprentice at a special session as part of the Kolkata Literary Meet, 2013. Vikas also addressed students of the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta at the IIM campus in Joka and the senior school of La Martiniere for Girls, Kolkata which was attended by more than 400 students.

The Delhi launch of The Accidental Apprentice took place on February 1 at the India International Centre. Almost the entire top echelon of the Ministry of External Affairs, including Foreign Secretary Shri Ranjan Mathai and his wife, attended the event where Vikas was in conversation with actor, film critic and award-winning talk show host Koel Purie Rinchet.

The very next day Vikas flew to Mumbai where renowned actor Irrfan Khan did the honours at a well attended event at the Crossword bookstore in Kemp’s Corner. Writer and columnist Anil Dharker was in conversation with Vikas. Two well known Bollywood film directors Kabir Khan (New York, Ek Tha Tiger) and Sriram Raghavan (Johnny Gaddar, Agent Vinod) were also present. Irrfan mentioned that Vikas was one of his favourite writers and also revealed how he became an actor. “I just wanted to become somebody. I wanted to change the perception of people towards me. That was the basic reason…Initially, I wanted to become famous – be it a player or whatever. But I realized that there are only 11 players (in cricket) so there is a limitation. Then I thought actors can be many, there is no limit and you have to work on yourself as there is nobody to choose you and your talent can become a weapon. So, that`s how I chose acting,” said the actor, a well known name internationally thanks to his work in films like ‘The Namesake’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, ‘The Amazing Spiderman’, and ‘Life of Pi’, to name a few.

The next stop was Bangalore where entrepreneur and co-founder of MindTree Inc, Subroto Bagchi released the book at Oxford Bookstore, Leela Palace, on Sunday, February 3, 2013 and Sumeet Shetty, who runs a popular book club at SAP Labs, engaged Vikas in conversation on his books and the film adaptation of Q&A.

The last destination on the whistle stop tour was Hyderabad where Vikas was a guest of Google India. He was amazed at the facilities at Google, with free food being just one of its numerous employee perks, and thrilled to deliver the first-ever Google Talk in India.

Soon thereafter Vikas was back at his day job in Osaka, Japan, but the Accidental Apprentice continues to top the bestseller charts in India.

The Accidental Apprentice is the most eagerly awaited Page Turner of 2013


Posted January 4, 2013

Pablo Trapero to direct Six Suspects

Screen Daily

29 October, 2012 | By Andreas Wiseman

EXCLUSIVE: Pablo Trapero is on board Paul Raphael and Working Title’s India-set crime drama adapted from Vikas Swarup’s novel by John Hodge.

Argentine Pablo Trapero, director of Carancho and Lion’s Den, is newly attached to Working Title-Starfield Productions crime-drama Six Suspects, the producers have confirmed to Screen.

The film will be Trapero’s first entirely English-language feature.

Six Suspects

Trainspotting and The Beach writer John Hodge has adapted Vikas Swarup’s novel in which six guests at a party are accused of killing the son of an Indian cabinet minister.

Swarup famously wrote the novel Q & A, which went on to become Danny Boyle’s smash hit Slumdog Millionaire.

Starfield’s Paul Raphael told Screen that he anticipates the production getting under way in India next autumn.

He produces with Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner. BBC Films has backed development and will also partially finance the production.

Raphael said: “I’m delighted to be in league with such supportive partners as Working Title and BBC Films and we’re all thrilled to have a director of Pablo’s calibre on board. Work is under way on the shooting draft with John Hodge and we expect to be filming in India late 2013.”

Acclaimed director Trapero was in competition in Cannes in 2008 for Lion’s Den. Titles White Elephant and 7 Days in Havana both screened in Un Certain Regard earlier this year. His films also include 2004 festival hit Rolling Family.

Vikas Swarup writes another novel

New Delhi, June 1, 2012

Accidental Appretice

Diplomat Vikas Swarup, whose novel “Q&A” was adapted into the Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire”, has worked on another Bollywoodish social thriller in which a young woman gets the chance to run a billionaire’s company provided she passes a series of seven tests.

“My new novel is also a ‘social thriller’ but different from ‘Q&A’ in the sense that the protagonist is a woman. Moreover, she is definitely middle class compared to the underclass in Q&A,” Swarup, currently the Consul General of India in Osaka-Kobe, Japan, told PTI.

He says the format of his new book “The Accidental Apprentice” may look similar to “Q&A” because “this is also a high concept character driven story which also seeks to capture the Zeitgeist of our times”.

The book is being published by Simon & Schuster which has also signed another big name in the world of international publishing Shauna Singh Baldwin.

“My real strength is in telling a story and that is what I have done in ‘The Accidental Apprentice’ – told a story, hopefully a gripping, suspenseful and entertaining one,” Swarup says of his new novel which is set in contemporary India.

Its narrator is a young woman, Sapna Sinha, who out of the blue is offered, by the eccentric billionaire, the chance to run his company, provided she passes a series of seven tests.

According to the publisher, “The Accidental Apprentice” can be described as a female version of “Q&A”, a fantastical work of Bollywood story-telling, where there is a logic to the most improbable twists in the lives of a wonderful cast of characters against an Indian background that comes roaring to life which tell a fantastic story full of the sights and smells and contrasts of New Delhi, with a central character you are rooting for from the start.

Swarup Attends Maribor 12

Posted September 14, 2012


On 8 September 2012 Maribor hosted Vikas Swarup, a diplomat and a writer, an author or a novel titled Q & A, which inspired a movie Slumdog Millionaire – the movie was awarded with eight Oscar Academy Awards.

Swarup’s visit is part of the Twelve project for which several key and exceptional individuals from the fields varying from art to philosophy, will be brought to Maribor, including Boris Groys, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Tzvetan Teodorov, Jan Fabre, Charles Simić, Hernan Diaz Alonso, Rebecca Horn, Felicitas Hoppe, Goran Stefanovski, Jack Lang and Garry Kasparov. The common criterion is that all guests must be leading international representatives in their fields, and that they create an interesting aspect of the future for the event.

The Twelve project is one of the highlights of the events celebrating Maribor’s designation as European Capital of Culture 2012.

Vikas Swarup Addresses ISB Students

Posted July 02, 2012


Vikas Swarup, a diplomat and author of “Q &A,” on which the movie, Slumdog Millionaire was based, was at ISB Hyderabad recently. He spoke to students about creative thinking and shared his personal experience and journey from being an avid reader to a published author. He recounted his school days when he wrote short articles. He lamented that he had no time to write once he embarked on his diplomatic career. However, he continued to read and advocates reading as a route to becoming a writer.

vikas swarup

On Q&A:

Swarup completed Q & A in two months in London, while his family was away in India. Swarup recollected that the difficulty in writing the book arose in framing the plot. He had to follow the etiquette of the quiz show, where questions gradually get harder and cover a wide array of subjects. He also found it challenging to keep the questions central to the story. The readers should not feel that the story was contrived; instead they should feel that the protagonist could answer the questions because of his circumstances. A catalyst for the story was Major Charles Ingram, convicted for cheating his way to winning the British version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? “If a British army major can be accused of cheating, then an ignorant tiffin boy from the world’s biggest slum can definitely be accused of cheating.”

Students peppered Swarup with questions about his reaction to the movie that was based on his book. “Slumdog Millionaire is an incredible piece of cinema with some amazing performances, brilliant music and original cinematography. It does differ from my novel in some important ways (for example, my novel was about luck while the film is clearly about destiny), but it also keeps the soul of my novel. The entire narrative structure is borrowed from my book. My book was about survival and hope and the triumph of the underdog and the same things can be said about the film. Many of the characters in the film are also from the book. But I was sorry to see that Ram Mohammad Thomas had become Jamal Malik. His unusual name, combining three religions, had an important message for our times,” Swarup answered.

He concluded on an encouraging and witty note to all aspiring writers, “I’m living proof that if I can write a book, anyone can!”

‘Slumdog Millionaire’ musical in works

Los Angeles Times

May 17, 2012|By John Horn

Slumdog Millionaire

A scene from the 2008 movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” which is… (Fox Searchlight )

Theater producers love turning movies into musicals, and the energetic, Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire” looks like a good candidate for a screen-to-stage makeover. But after years of negotiations proved fruitless, a planned London musical about the rags-to-riches game show contestant is now being developed without the participation of any of the film’s key creators, including director Danny Boyle and composer A.R. Rahman.

The loss of Rahman means that the popular song “Jai Ho,” along with the Indian songwriter’s other compositions for the 2009 best picture Oscar winner, would not be a part of a “Slumdog Millionaire” musical.

Boyle, who is currently producing the opening ceremonies for the Summer Olympics, Rahman, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and producer Christian Colson wanted to collaborate on the musical and talks about a potential “Slumdog Millionaire” adaptation started soon after the film’s theatrical release.

Kyung-sook Shin Wins Man Asian Prize

The Wall Street Journal  March 16, 2012, 8:45 AM

Kyung-sook Shin won this year’s Man Asian Literary Prize for her novel “Please Look After Mom.”

Kyung-sook Shin is the first woman and first Korean to receive the Man Asian Literary Prize.

Ms. Shin is the first woman to win the award, which includes a $30,000 cash prize, and she was the first Korean to qualify for the Prize’s shortlist. The previous winners include four male Chinese authors and one Filipino.

Kyung-sook Shin Wins Man Asian Prize

“I give my deepest respect to all the writers who are seated here today,” she said at the award ceremony Thursday night in Hong Kong, in remarks translated from Korean. “When we return to our tables and our rooms to write, we will perhaps think of each other. We were born in different countries, we speak in different languages, and we write in different languages — but we are connected deep below by our writing.”

Of the final selection process that delivered Ms. Shin to the podium, the chair of judges, Razia Iqbal, said there was strong consensus between herself and fellow judges Chang-rae Lee and Vikas Swarup that “Please Look After Mom” was the winner.

“I thought [Please Look After Mom] was the most complete novel,” said Mr. Swarup, whose own novel “Q&A” was adapted into the Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008. “It was a total performance,” added Mr. Lee, author of the “The Surrendered,” a Pulitzer finalist for fiction in 2011.

Vikas Swarup appears at Nordic House for Reykajvik Literary Festival

ICE News

Posted on 14 September 2011

vikas swarup

Vikas Swarup speaking at the Presidential Residence in Reykjavik. Looking on is the President of Iceland H.E. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson

The Indian novelist Vikas Swarup, author of Six Suspects and Q & A, which was adapted into the multiple Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, appeared at the Nordic House in Iceland last week as part of the Reykjavik International Literary Festival 2011.

Swarup was interviewed by Icelandic journalist Petur Blondal in front of an intimate crowd in the main conference and meeting room at the Nordic House. In the interview, Swarup talked about Dharavi on the outskirts of Mumbai in India, which is the largest slum in the world, and how his work is influenced by the inspiring spirit of the people who live there. The Indian author also gave readings from both of his novels; Six Suspects, and Q & A.

Q & A, Swarup’s debut novel, became a critically acclaimed, international bestseller. It was shortlisted for the Best First Book by the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and also won South Africa’s Exclusive Books Boeke Prize 2006, as well as the Prix Grand Public at the 2007 Paris Book Fair.

Other international authors who attending the literary festival included Herta Muller, Nawal El Saadawi, Horacio Castellanos Moya, Pia Tafdrup, Vikas Swarup, Denise Epstein, Ingo Schulze, Karl Ove Knausgard, Kristof Magnusson, Matt Haig, Paolo Giordano, Steve Sem-Sandberg, Sara Stridsberg, and Alberto Blanco.

The Reykjavik International Literary Festival is held bi-annually at the Nordic House and Idno Theatre in the heart of Reykjavik city centre. The festival is one of the largest literary events held in Iceland.

Swarup attends Manila’s First International Literary Festival

Posted November 22, 2010

Manila’s First International Literary Festival

Vikas Swarup was one of the featured international writers who attended the First manila International Literary Festival organized by the National Book Development Board.

MANILA, Philippines – Vikas Swarup, an Indian diplomat whose novel “Q&A” was adapted into the Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire,” attended the first Manila International Literary Festival from November 18 to 20.

In a book discussion facilitated by local author Jessica Zafra at National Book Store in Glorietta 5., Swarup talked about being a quiz show enthusiast, churning out the Slumdog Millionaire book in just two months, and rescuing foreign nationals in a war-ridden country.

Swarup attends Seoul Digital Forum

Posted on May 30, 2011

Seoul Digital Forum

Vikas Swarup, participated in the Seoul Digital Forum in Seoul, South Korea from May 24-27, 2011, and spoke about ‘The Million Dollar Question : Who Wants to Be the Next Connector ?’

Established in 2004, the SDF invites the world’s most influential people in terms of innovation and inspiration in the context of the digital age.

This year’s forum, held under the theme of “Connected: Into a Shared future” saw participation by several prominent personalities including CNN Talk show host Larry King, IT guru Nicholas Carr and pioneering feminist Gloria Steinem.

Swarup to judge Man Asian Literary prize 2011

The Wall Street Journal

May 21, 2011, 9:53 AM

The Man Asian Literary Prize

The judging panel for this year’s Man Asian Literary Prize—awarded for a novel by an Asian writer published in English—will be chaired by the BBC’s Razia Iqbal. The Uganda-born Punjabi-British special correspondent will be joined by Indian diplomat and writer Vikas Swarup (whose “Q&A” was the basis for the hit film “Slumdog Millionaire”) and South Korea-born American writer Chang-rae Lee (whose latest novel is “The Surrendered”).

In a statement, Ms. Iqbal said that reading a novel, like writing one, can be a very private experience, and that “sharing the excitement of that private affair is something I am looking forward to immensely, with the Man Asian Literary Prize.” The prize is relatively new but is already opening worlds, she said.

“It’s not news to the region, but to the rest of the world, Asia is the new kid on the block,” her statement continued. “And I am very excited about sharing what my fellow judges, Vikas Swarup and Chang-rae Lee, think about the stories coming from one of the most vibrant regions on the planet.”

David Parker, chair of the Man Asian prize board of directors, said in a statement that global attention is growing for the prize and for literature “produced across the Asian region.” After the 2010 prize, which is worth US$30,000, was awarded to “Three Sisters” by Chinese author Bi Feiyu, the book sold out in Hong Kong and Beijing bookstores. According to prize organizers, there was also a surge in sales in Southeast Asia and the U.K.

This year’s judges will consider books from more countries than their predecessors—35 instead of 28, with the addition of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. If the winning book is a translation, there’s a prize for the translator as well, of $5,000.

The long list—the semifinalists (there were 10 last year)—for the Man Asian Literary Prize will be announced in October, and the shortlist of five to six unveiled in January 2012. The winner will be announced in March.

Vikas Swarup honoured by S. African University

Johannesburg, Sep 22, 2010 (PTI)

Vikas Swarup, the author of the book that inspired the award-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, has received an honorary doctorate from a top South African university.

The film was based on Swarup’’s debut novel Q & A, which he wrote while he was posted in London. Swarup also served as Deputy High Commissioner for India in South Africa from 2006-2009. The book won the prestigious Boeke Prize in South Africa and many other accolades across the globe.

The University of South Africa awarded Swarup with an honorary doctorate yesterday.

The University of South Africa awarded Swarup with an honorary doctorate

Swarup became an overnight sensation after Slumdog Millionaire was nominated for a number of Oscar Awards, eventually winning A R Rahman India”s first Oscar for his musical score for the movie.

Swarup, who is now Consul General of India in Osaka-Kobe, Japan, said he was just as overwhelmed by the doctorate award as he was when his book and the subsequent movie attained such heights.

“I”m not so sure that I deserve this honour but I must thank Unisa for it,” Swarup said, adding that it further symbolised the friendship between the people of South Africa and India that he had strongly advocated during his tenure here.

University of South Africa said in a statement that Swarup’’s efforts as a diplomat and creative writer had given his countrymen and the world renewed hope and respect for people, as well as a deep understanding of the human spirit to strive for survival.

European Book Tour

Posted on May 25, 2010

From May 10-24, 2010, Vikas Swarup did a whirlwind book tour of Europe covering seven cities in fourteen days. The tour took him to Sweden, Finland, Holland, Italy, Spain, Portugal and France.

European Book Tour 1European Book Tour 3 European Book Tour 2

Apart from meeting publishers and readers, doing interviews and photo shoots, he also participated in the Turin International Book Fair and the Festival Etonnants Voyageurs in St. Malo.

meeting publishers interviews photo shoots


Six Suspects on BBC RADIO 4

Radio 4, UK, posted on January 1, 2010

Six Suspects on BBC RADIO 4

All deaths are not equal. There’s a caste system – even in murder….

The debut novel of Indian diplomat, Vikas Swarup’s was made into Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire. It was also turned into a rather good radio serial “Q&A”, first heard here on Radio 4. Now the team behind the Sony award-winning “Q&A” has gone to work on Swarup’s second novel – Six Suspects. Inspired by a true story, it’s a murder mystery set in modern day India… presented by investigative journalist, Arun Advani. It’s a story that takes us on an extraordinary journey into the heart of modern day India.

The production was recorded on location on the streets of Mumbai with an Indian cast.

It airs on Radio 4 from 4th January – 8th January, 2010 and from 11th – 15th January 2010 at 10.45 (Repeat 19.45)

Dramatised by Ayeesha Menon from the novel by Vikas Swarup

Produced and Directed by John Dryden

A Goldhawk Essential Production for BBC Radio 4

Swarup invited to 33rd CIFF as Jury Member

Exclusive Report for Calcutta Tube by Shoma A. Chatterji

Posted on November 23, 2009

33rd Cairo International Film Festival

India was the guest of honour at the 33rd Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), which opened in Cairo on November 10, 2009 with the screening of John Abraham-Katrina Kaif starrer New York directed by Kabir Khan. Adoor Gopalakrishnan, the internationally renowned Indian filmmaker, was chairperson of the International Jury. Two others, namely Vikas Swarup, Indian Consul-General to Osaka, Japan and Namrata Joshi, film critic, were Indian jury members in the Digital Competition Section and the FIPRESCI Jury respectively. Swarup is the author of Q & A on which Slumdog Millionaire was based.

Slumdog Millionaire screened at Presidential Residence, New Delhi


Agencies, August 3, 2009

The Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire was screened at the Rashtrapati Bhavan auditorium on August 2, 2008 to an esteemed audience including President Pratibha Patil, Vice President Hamid Ansari, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Prithviraj Chavan, Union Tourism Minister Kumari Selja and Salman Khursheed, Union Company Affairs Miniter.

Oscar awardees music maestro A.R Rahman, sound recordist Resul Pookutty, noted lyricist Gulzar and author Vikas Swarup, on whose novel Q and A the movie is based, also attended the screening and were felicitated by the President.

According to a Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson, the two-hour-long special screening was exclusively organized for the President and restricted to selected invitees.


Swarup invited to Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls

Posted on June 19, 2009

Ms. Funa Maduka and Vikas Swarup

A screening of Slumdog Millionaire was organised on June 18, 2009 at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley on Klip, near Johannesburg, in the presence of Ms. Oprah Winfrey, Ms. Funa Maduka, Dean of Students and Mr. Vikas Swarup, special guest, who spoke to the girls about his inspiration for the story.

Because of the similarities within the story to many of the student’s own lives, it turned out to be a powerful experience for the learners. The screening took place during the Academy’s annual Arts Workshop, where featured artists from across the world were invited to share their talents with the learners.

Swarup receives USIBC’s Award for Cultural Ties that Bind


Washington, June 18, 2009

USIBC’s Award for Cultural Ties

India’s leading businessmen Anil Ambani and Azim Premji, as also author Vikas Swarup of “Slumdog Millionaire” fame, were honoured at a “Synergies Summit” to “reboot” US-India ties.

While Wipro Chairman Azim Premji was honoured with the Global Vision award, Anil Ambani of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group received the Global Leadership award for their outstanding contribution in corporate sector at the US-India Business Council’s (USIBC) 34th anniversary summit held in Washington DC on June 16 and 17.

Sy Sternberg, former chairman and CEO of the New York Life Company, was presented with the Business Excellence award on the occasion.

Vikas Swarup, on whose novel “Q&A”, the Oscar award winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” is based, received USIBC’s 34th Anniversary Award for “Cultural Ties That Bind” for his contribution illuminating aspects of society that facilitate a deeper understanding and abiding respect for humanity. He also met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who addressed the Summit.

Hillary Clinton and Vikas Swarup


Slumdog Millionaire tops holiday reads

Slumdog Millionaire tops the list of holiday books, with the BBC’s Robert Peston coming second with a tale of financial woe

by Steve Myall, 9 June 2009

Heathrow Travell Product Awards 2009 Slumdog Millionaire

BOLLYWOOD story Slumdog Millionaire has been picked as the holiday read of the summer by airport travellers.

The tale of a young boy’s rise from the Indian slums to national fame by Vikas Swarup is likely to be filling the most suitcases, says a new report.

The list of the nation’s top holiday reads has been compiled by Heathrow Airport and is dominated by big screen adaptations.

Three of the top five most popular books were recently made into big screen blockbusters, including Slumdog which swept the board at the Oscars with eight awards and which stars Londoner Dev Patel.

But for some people even a holiday is not enough to get their minds off the economic crisis and 11 per cent voted BBC journalist Robert Peston’s financial analysis of Britain, Who Runs Britain?, into second place.

However Swarup’s tale of how an 18-year-old boy from the slums manages to win 20 million rupees on a television game show was named the top holiday read by 14 per cent of travellers.

Also in the top ten were the book of the Kate Winslet film The Reader which follows a character named Michael Berg and charts his relationship with an older woman named Hanna in the context of the Holocaust.

The White Tiger from Aravind Adiga, which won the 2008 Man Booker Prize and charts the story of Balram Halwai, an overweight ex-teashop worker who now earns his living as a chauffeur, also made it into the list.

Nick Adderley, Heathrow Airport marketing and insight director, said: “There is a distinct Hollywood feel to this year’s top fictional reads and the fact that 14 per cent of all holidaymakers will be packing a copy of Slumdog Millionaire in their suitcases shows just how much a movie’s box-office success can push a book up the literary league table.

“In the non-fiction stakes it looks like there will be little escape from the economic woes with one in ten travellers voting Robert Peston’s analysis of the state of Britain their top holiday read.”

Six Suspects to be made into a film

LONDON May 24, 2009

A British film producer is relishing the chance to adapt ‘Slumdog Millionare’ author Vikas Swarup’s second book into a movie.

Paul Raphael

Paul Raphael is said to have joined forces with BBC Films and ‘Trainspotting’ screenwriter John Hodge to make a film based on ‘Six Suspects’, billed as a “Agatha Christie meets Elmore Leonard” murder mystery set in Delhi.

The rights to make a film on Six Suspects is being seen as a compensation for Raphael because he had also tried to obtain rights to make a film on Slumdog Millionare, but discovered that they had already gone.

He was given an exclusive peek at Swarup’s second novel and optioned it last year, several months before Slumdog was released and became a box office phenomenon.

Hollywood studios anxious to join the project are now said to have swamped Raphael with calls.

“The success of Slumdog has transformed interest in the project,” the Daly Express quoted Raphael as telling from the Cannes Film Festival.

“I’m very lucky to have a property that can benefit from the reality of the way films get made and marketed these days,” he added.

Describing the plot, Raphael said: “I read about a hundred pages and just knew that I wanted to do it. It’s a great whodunnit in a very unusual setting.”

He further said that just like Slumdog, the second book also offered a kaleidoscopic portrait of modern India.

He said that it is about a murdered playboy and the six suspects who all had reason to kill him, including a Bollywood actress, a mobile phone salesman and an illiterate boy.

“It has a lot to say about modern India. All the suspects are from completely different walks of life. It’s very original and has a distinct voice and sense of humour and John Hodge will bring something amazing to it,” said Raphael.

The 10 million-pound Six Suspects goes into production next year. (ANI)

India wins at 2009 Oscar ceremony as Slumdog Millionaire grabs 8 Oscars

February 23, 2009

Best Picture Slumdog Millionaire

Some may call it Slumdog Millionaire’s night but actually it turned out to be a celebration of India at the 81st Oscar ceremony. The real winner is Mumbai, said film director Danny Boyle. Almost the whole cast and crew of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ including its child actors from Mumbai headed for the stage as the legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg announced the Oscar for Best Picture. Earlier, Slumdog Millionaire won two Oscars for India’s most popular composer, AR Rahman.

In total Slumdog Millionaire won eight Oscars of the night, including Best Picture and Best Director.

A R Rahman won two Oscars, one each for the Best Original Soundtrack score and the Best Song categories. This a first for any Indian composer. His hometown Chennai, formerly, Madras, reupted into ecstacy as Rahman’s name was announced.

Resul Pookutty of India won the gold statue along with Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke for best sound mixing of Slumdog Millionaire. Again, another first for any Indian in this category. In fact, the only Oscar winners from India, till date, were Bhanu Athaiyya (for film Gandhi’s costume) and filmmaker Satyajit Ray (Life achievement)

British scriptwriter Simon Beaufoy fetched the Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for the film, based on Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup’s novel “Q and A”.

“It is a tremendous honour. I thank Vikas Swarup, without him Slumdog would not have happened, thanks Vikas Swarup,” said Beaufoy while accepting the golden statuette.

Author behind ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ heads home for Indian premiere

Fri Jan 16, 2009 4:50 PM

By Celean Jacobson/The Associated Press

Slumdog Millionaire Premiere

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – The diplomat-novelist whose work was the basis of the award-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” is heading home to India for the premiere of the movie there.

The film, about a young boy from the slums of Mumbai who wins a fortune in a television game show, walked away with the Golden Globe best picture award and best director for Briton Danny Boyle earlier this week.

Vikas Swarup, whose novel “Q&A” the movie is based on, said in an interview Friday that Indians feel “a sense of ownership” about the film – a third of which is in Hindi.

Swarup was leaving South Africa on Saturday to attend the Mumbai premiere on Jan. 22, the same day the Oscar nominations will be announced.

“Indians are taking it personally,” the soft-spoken Swarup said in a telephone interview Friday from Pretoria, where he serves as India’s deputy high commissioner.

Swarup’s likable hero, whose name, Ram Mohammed Thomas, borrows from each of India’s three main religions, is arrested for winning the Indian version of the quiz show “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” because of disbelief that an uneducated street child could know all the answers.

Each chapter in the funny, poignant and colourfully written first novel explains, by depicting an aspect of Ram’s life, how he came by his knowledge.

Changes have been made to the story in the film and Swarup acknowledges that it is it is hard for authors to be “totally happy” with adaptations of their work.

But he said the movie is “visually dazzling and emotionally satisfying” and that the filmmakers kept their promise to keep the “soul” of the book intact.

“My book is about hope and survival,” he says, a message that has particular resonance in developing countries such as Swarup’s homeland and South Africa, his temporary residence since 2006. “You can triumph over adversity. A beautiful flower can bloom in the dirtiest slum.”

However, the film – and the book by extension – has been criticized for its portrayal of India as a place of only desperation and misery.

Swarup said his story is a “slice of Indian life” and he does not see India’s slums as a “place of despair.”

“They are teeming with vigour, industry, energy – with people trying to improve their lives, trying to break that vicious cycle of poverty,” he said.

Swarup’s second book, “Six Suspects,” a complicated tale of murder and corruption, also has been optioned for a film.

The history and philosophy graduate of Allahabad University in India said he does not want to write the kind of epic stories favoured by the masters of Indian literature such V.S. Naipul and Vikram Seth. He prefers to pen popular “fast-paced novels with a conscience.”

Swarup said he has been overwhelmed by the response to the film, whose screenplay was written by Simon Beaufoy.

Slumdog sweeps Golden Globes

Jan 12, 2009 04:30 AM

David Germain

The Associated Press

Golden Globes

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.– Slumdog Millionaire lived up to its theme of an underdog who becomes a winner at Sunday’s Golden Globes, sweeping all four of its categories, including Best Drama and Director for Danny Boyle.

“Golden Globes, or the GGs as we very affectionately refer to them – your mad, pulsating affection for our film is much appreciated. Really, deeply appreciated,” Boyle said.

Slumdog Millionaire also won Best Screenplay and Musical Score, firming up its prospects for the Academy Awards. The film features a generally unknown cast in the story of an orphan boy in Mumbai who rises from terrible hardship to become a champ on India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, all the while trying to reunite with a lost love from his childhood.

“We really weren’t expecting to be here in America at all at one time, so it’s just amazing to be here,” said Simon Beaufoy, whose winning script was adapted from Vikas Swarup’s novel Q&A.

Q&A chosen Most Influential Book of the Year 2008

Posted  December 31, 2008


Vikas Swarup’s Q&A has been chosen as “The Most Influential Book of the Year 2008″ by Kingstone Bookstore in Taiwan, the biggest chain store throughout Taiwan. Previous winners have included Life of Pi, Harry Potter and Marley & Me.

Slumdog Millionaire closes London Film Festival with rave reviews

Posted on October 31, 2008


LONDON (AFP) – Top British filmmaker Danny Boyle’s new Mumbai-based film “Slumdog Millionaire” won rave reviews Friday after its screening at the close of the London Film Festival.

The movie follows a poor boy’s rise to fortune as an unlikely contestant on an Indian version of hit television game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” with the trials and tribulations of life in Mumbai’s slums as a backdrop.

The Independent newspaper hailed the British filmmaker’s collaboration with Bollywood megastar Anil Kapoor, saying the movie even topped “Trainspotting,” Boyle’s 1996 hit which made the young Briton’s name.

“Slumdog Millionaire is an exhilarating ride… with a wild energy that makes even Trainspotting (Boyle’s calling card) look leaden-footed,” the daily said.

The film “looks a certain hit (and) suggests that collaborations can be of mutual benefit and it is hard to think of many other recent British movies that have the energy tapped here,” it added.

The Times was equally impressed, giving it four out of five stars after the screening closed the London event on Thursday evening. “The fairytale power of the film is in watching a city evolve through the eyes of a child,” it said.

“There’s a comic poetry about it that feels totally in tune with its Indian setting,” its reviewer said, calling the movie a “festival finale that puts a spring in your step and brings a tear to the eye.”


The movie tells of how slum orphan Jamal — played by London-born actor Dev Patel — is just one question away from winning a whopping 20 million rupees (400,000 dollars) when he is arrested on suspicion of cheating.

Bollywood megastar Anil Kapoor, appearing in his first English-language role, and newcomer Freida Pinto also star in the film scripted by Simon Beaufoy (“The Full Monty”) and inspired by Vikas Swarup’s novel “Q & A.”

The Daily Telegraph said the film was “one of a kind liable to send audiences happily skipping out into the cold London night.”

“Slumdog Millionaire is that rarity, a populist, mainstream entertainment that finds a way to deliver cheerful uplift to its audience without ever insulting the intelligence. A terrific festival climax,” it said.

The London Evening Standard’s reviewer called the movie a “visually ravishing, calculatingly uplifting film,” and a “fairytale transposed to modern India.”

“Slumdog Millionaire deals in the cliches of fairytale and also of India, but weaves them together into something novel and pleasing. It is not an out and out success, but like every Danny Boyle film, it is unique,” it said.

Slumdog Millionaire wins People’s Choice Award at Toronto Film Festival

Posted on September 14, 2008

Toronto 08

Slumdog Millionaire, the underdog saga based on Vikas Swarup’s novel Q&A, and shot entirely in Mumbai, won the People’s Choice Award at the end of the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on September 13, edging out 250 other feature films from more than 60 countries.

A gritty, upbeat and heart-tugging film, Slumdog has already started an Oscar buzz. The People’s Choice Award is often an indicator of future Academy Award nominations; the past selections include Life Is Beautiful, Hotel Rwanda, Eastern Promises, Diva and Whale Rider and best-picture winners Chariots of Fire, and American Beauty.

Slumdog Millionaire releases in the USA on November 13, 2008, and in the UK in January 2009.

Six Suspects launched

Published in Sunday Independent: Saturday, 27 July 2008

Maureen Isaacson

Six Suspects

Vikas Swarup’s second novel, Six Suspects (Doubleday), was launched this week in Hyde Park, Johannesburg. It follows his successful debut novel, Q&A (Doubleday), which is being made into a movie, titled Slumdog Millionaire. Swarup, the Indian deputy high commissioner, is not shy to expose the scales that weigh heavily on the side of the powerful in a world where money talks and allows them to get away with murder.

The radio adaptation of Q&A wins the UK’s biggest radio prizes, the Sony Awards.

Posted on Tuesday 13 May 2008

Sony Radio Academy Awards

For the last twenty-five years, the Sony Radio Academy Awards have stood the test of time and sought to recognize the very best of the UK radio industry, nationally, regionally and locally. Each year, entries are submitted into the Awards for consideration as Gold, Silver or Bronze winners.

The Drama Award in Gold for 2008 goes to Q&A.

A Goldhawk Essential Ltd production for BBC Radio 4

Director / Producer: John Dryden

The panel thought this an outstanding serial, praising in particular the originality of the subject matter. The adaptation, performances, the adroit mix of contemporary and traditional themes, the surprises and the cliffhangers made this a superb piece of radio entertainment.

Q&A in List of ‘101 Books to Read Before You Die’

Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2007

101 Books to Read Before You Die

The creation of the novel has unlocked a world as extra-ordinary as the millions of hearts and minds that have shaped it. To celebrate, Exclusive Books unveiled the Exclusive Books 101 Books To Read Before You Die list at the 2007 Cape Town Book Fair. The books that made the list are the books you’ve read, and re-read, books which define eras, created friends instead of characters, entertained generations and have become legends of literature.

Selecting the 101 Books To Read Before You Die was no simple task. That’s why we consulted the experts. You. Exclusive Books Fanatics members across South Africa were given the opportunity to vote for their 10 favourite fiction titles from any time in their life. The nomination period lasted for two weeks and we received over 35000 votes!

Q&A came in at number 55.

Read the full list here:

Q&A is now a BBC Radio Play

Posted in

By Daniel Bardsley, Staff Reporter Published: 23:43 August 10, 2007

BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour

Dubai: Writer Ayeesha Menon is creating a radio play from the work of a Nobel Prize in Literature winner – the second time she has taken on such a challenge.

The Dubai-based Indian is adapting the critically acclaimed novel My Name is Red by Turkish Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk.

Currently Radio 4 is broadcasting a series of 10 episodes, each lasting 15 minutes, that Menon wrote from the novel Q&A by Indian author Vikas Swarup.

Ayeesha Menon

The story centres on a quiz show and each time the 18-year-old contestant is asked a question, it goes into a flashback from his extraordinary life.

“He knows the answers to the questions because he’s been through so much. When he was a kid he was dumped in a garbage can and he’s had a very interesting life, moving from home to home,” said Menon.

“It is quite clever the way the story works in flashbacks, and because the episodes are only 15 minutes long, everyone has been listening in,” she said.

Fitting the novel into just 150 minutes was tough, Menon said, and she had to cut out some interesting episodes from the young protagonist’s life.

“There was so much I wanted to explore, and I had to miss out a lot of fabulous stories, but it’s been written in a way that grabs people’s attention,” she said.

Menon’s career as a scriptwriter has developed thanks to radio producer and director John Dryden.

The two met when Menon auditioned in India for a part in an adaptation of A Suitable Boy that Dryden was making.

Dryden recruited Menon to adapt The Cairo Trilogy, and then went on to work with her on Q&A. Both were in India a few months ago for the recording of Q&A, much of which took place in Mumbai.

Q&A selected by Ken Follett as One Book for Stevenage

Published: Monday, 23 April, 2007


To celebrate the third year of One Book for Stevenage we gathered local communities together for the launch of this year’s book Q&A by Vikas Swarup.

1book4stevenage is a long-term project to promote reading and to help generate community spirit by encouraging as many people as possible to read the same book at the same time. It’s the only campaign of its kind in the South of England.

The idea is the brainchild of the author Ken Follett.

This year’s author is Indian diplomat Vikas Swarup who acknowledges his fiction is born out of his hyperactive imagination.

His story is about eighteen-year-old Ram Mohammad Thomas who is in prison after answering twelve questions correctly on a TV quiz show to win one billion rupees.

The producers arrest him, convinced he is a cheat. As this fantastic story unfolds we find out about twelve extraordinary events in street-kid Ram’s life that give him the crucial quiz answers. In his tale of modern India, Swarup gives us a book packed full of comedy, tragedy and joy.

At the launch last Friday, (20 April) guests were treated to fabulous Indian cuisine, music and dancing.

Taste of India’s Ali Khan hosted a ‘Who wants to be a millionaire? style quiz where competitors battled to become quiz champion.

The launch is just the beginning of a fantastic list of events throughout the year. For more information including future One Book events, telephone 01438 242179.

Vikas Swarup is France’s favourite novelist

Published by Gulf Times: Wednesday, 28 March, 2007, 09:13 AM Doha Time

Salon du Livre

Indian writer and diplomat Vikas Swarup has won the Paris Book Fair’s Reader’s Prize for his 2005 bestseller Q&A, a debut novel about a young waiter winning a TV quiz show.
Readers in some 400 French bookshops were asked to pick their favourite book among a selection of 15 by writers from India, which is the special focus of this year’s five-day fair. The fair last year attracted 174,000 visitors.

vikas swarup

Swarup’s book about an 18-year-old winning TV show Who Will Win A Billion won him instant success, with film rights sold and translations into 14 languages.

The Paris book fair has invited some 30 Indian novelists, both from the diaspora and India, to take part in talks on Indian literature during the fair.

The Paris book fair opened on Friday with some 20 countries taking part, including India – partner at last year’s Frankfurt Book Fair – again special guest nation.

Around 2,000 authors were expected at the “Salon du livre”, including 30 Indians – among them Vikram Seth and Altaf Tyrewala who has been celebrated as a great find by the Indian press. Marc Parent, a specialist, said Indian literature had aroused much interest in France, with Indian works meeting the French public’s “desire for great, gripping stories and novels.”

Just four weeks before the French presidential elections, political discussion is a further focus at the “salon”, which has opened an extra “political terrace”.

Last year the book fair counted 174,000 visitors. According to the professional journal Livres Hebdo, 2006 was the worst year for the French book trade for 15 years, with sales dipping 1.5%.

This year’s fair has for the first time been reduced from six to five days

Q&A to be filmed by Danny Boyle

Published by Hindustan Times: Saturday, 24 March, 2007

India Shooting

Danny Boyle

India is the flavour for Hollywood — in terms of themes as well as location.

Slumdog Millionaire: Based on Vikas Swarup’s bestseller Q & A, the film will be directed by noted British independent filmmaker Danny Boyle, who describes it as “a great love story that will be partly in Hindi, mostly in English”. Boyle is best known as the director of the pathbreaking cult hit, Trainspotting, and has directed Leonardo DiCaprio in The Beach. During a recent visit to Mumbai, Boyle also met Shah Rukh Khan. But he says it’s too early to know if he will manage to rope in the superstar for his film.

Q&A Nominated for the Irish Book Awards

Posted February 1, 2007

Irish Book Awards

The Tubridy Show Listener’s Choice Award 2007

This award is a huge feather in the cap of the Irish Book Awards since Ryan Tubridy is fast becoming the most influential media personality actively promoting books in Ireland. The shortlisted titles will be featured every Monday for a six-week period with listeners invited to vote for their choice as winner via voting cards or on the web.

Nominated Books

Q & A (Black Swan) by Vikas Swarup (An Indian novel with a thoroughly contemporary twist. Already a firm book club favourite.)

The Emperor’s Children (Picador) by Claire Messud (Marvellous novel from American Claire Messud, here writing at the height of her powers.)

(A novel of profound contemporary relevance from the American master.)

The God Delusion (Transworld) by Richard Dawkins (A biting and brilliantly-elucidated polemic on the probablility of God’s existence.)

Winterwood (Bloomsbury) by Patrick McCabe (Acclaimed as Patrick McCabe’s finest novel since Butcher Boy.)

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (David Fickling) by John Boyne (John Boyne has written A Holocaust novel like no other. Truly a small masterpiece.)

Vikas Swarup scoops 2006 Boeke Prize

Posted in KZN Literary Tourism on Tuesday, 29 August 2006 18:00

Winner Boeke Prize 2006

Diplomat and author, Vikas Swarup, was tonight named as the winner of Exclusive Books’ 2006 Boeke Prize for his ‘unputdownable’ novel, Q&A, published by Random House. The book was also the favourite choice of thousands of Fanatics members who voted for it in an in-store competition.

It is the ninth debut novel to scoop the Boeke Prize, following last year’s The Time Traveler’s Wife and the previous year’s joint award to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and The Kite Runner. The prize, for the best page-turner and most compelling fiction of the year, was started 12 years ago as a tongue-in-cheek take on the more staid Booker Prize. Described as a beguiling blend of high comedy and touching melancholy, Q&A is the poignant story of how a penniless waiter from Mumbai became the biggest quiz-show winner in history. Vikas Swarup’s first novel has been translated into twenty-five languages and is due to be made into both a film and stage musical.

Vikas Swarup is a diplomat who recently came to South Africa as the Deputy High Commissioner for India. Born in Allahabad, India, to an illustrious family that includes several prominent lawyers, he attended Allahabad University, where he made his mark as a champion debater. After graduating, he joined the Indian Foreign Service and has served in Turkey, the United States, Ethiopia and Great Britain.

While living in London in 2003, he thought he would try writing fiction. A die-hard thriller fan, he says his book marries the pace of a thriller with social commentary. He is writing a second novel.

Mr Swarup collected a framed picture of his book jacket at the gala Boeke Awards ceremony held at a Sandton Exclusive Books bookstore on Wednesday night. He admitted to being delighted though somewhat bemused by the runaway success of Q&A, which he wrote in under two months.

The winner was chosen from a shortlist of eight novels based on the votes of 41 book critics representing the media across South Africa. The books that made the shortlist were selected from a long list of fiction nominated by booksellers with an intuitive understanding of what was creating word of mouth buzz in the industry and among fiction lovers.

“The word on the street was that these were fictional sleeper hits,” said Jill van Zyl, a director of Exclusive Books. “Our judges were called on to decide which of the eight shortlisted titles they considered to be impossible to put down, a compelling story, yet highly accessible to all book lovers.”

Vikas Swarup Shortlisted For Commonwealth Writers’ Prize For Best First Book

Posted January 24, 2006

The Commonwealth Writers

On 23 January 2006 the four regions in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize announced their shortlists. Of the 17 writers included in the Eurasia section (best book, and best first book), only one is not British: Vikas Swarup, from India, for Q and A; he’s published by Transworld/Doubleday.


Nominations for Best First Book Include:
Q and A, Vikas Swarup, India
Lazy Eye, Donna Daley-Clarke , UK
Piggy Monk Square ,Grace Joliffe, UK
Utterly Monkey, Nick Laird, UK
A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian, Marina Lewycka, UK
26A, Diana Evans, UK
Incendiary, Chris Cleave, UK
Misfortune, Wesley Stace, UK
The Icarus Girl, Helen Oyeyemi, UK

Q&A wins 2006 Audie for Best Fiction Audiobook

Posted May 20, 2006

Audie Winner

On May 19th, 2006, the winners of the Audies® Awards were announced at a gala held in Washington D.C. by the Audio Publishers Association (APA) The Audie Awards are given out annually by the Audio Publisher’s Association for the best in audiobooks. The Audie Award is the only completely juried award program covering audiobooks and spoken word entertainment.

The Award for Fiction, Abridged, went to:



Publisher: The Audio Partners Publishing Corp.

Author: Vikas Swarup

Narrator: Kerry Shale

Executive Producer: Rosalie George

Producer: Peter Rinne

Director: Peter Rinne

Sound Editing: Peter Rinne

Abridgment: Kati Nicholl

Jacket Design: Cover artwork by Studio Eric Wondergem; Hand lettering by Mark

Stutzman; Cover design by Kari Niles