Lesser Known Facts About Jeet Thayil

Jeet Thayil is an Indian poet, novelist, librettist, and musician. He is best known as a poet and is the author of four collections: These Errors Are Correct, English, Apocalypso, and Gemini. Here are a few lesser-known facts about him that you probably did not know.

  • Jeet Thayil was born in Kerala, India in 1959 and was educated in Hong Kong, New York, and Bombay.

  • Thayil is the son of the author and editor T. J. S. George, who at various times in his life was posted in several places in India, in Hong Kong and New York.

  • He received a Masters in Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence College (New York) and is the recipient of grants and awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Swiss Arts Council, the British Council, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

  • In 2012, he wrote the libretto for the opera, Babur in London, in collaboration with the composer Edward Rushton.

  • His first novel, Narcopolis, set in Bombay in the 1970s and ’80s, was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize for Fiction.

  • Thayil is also known as a performance poet and musician. As a songwriter and guitarist, he is one half of the contemporary music project Sridhar/Thayil.

  • Jeet Thayil was also a guitarist for the psychedelic rock band Atomic Forest in the early 1980s for a brief period.

  • In 2006 he told the Indian newspaper The Hindu that he had been an alcoholic and an addict for almost two decades.

  • Thayil’s poetry collection These Errors are Correct was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for English.

  • In 2013, Thayil became the first Indian author to win the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, worth $50,000, for the novel Narcopolis.

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