I first heard of Amitava Kumar during the 2007 PEN World Voices Festival. He did an event with Ilija Trojanow at the Goethe Institut, which had the very formal title of “Postcolonial Writing in a Globalized World” but was anything but formal. The two authors had spoken previously and established the kind of friendly rapport that individuals possessing equal intelligence and comic wit do. Trojanow read from his book Der Weltensammler (The Collector of Worlds) in German and English, which will come out in English with Ecco Press though no release date has been set. Kumar read from Bombay-London-New York, a fabulous excerpt of which you can find here (courtesy of Maud Newton). PEN does a fabulous job recording World Voices Festival events, and you can listen to this one here.
Amitava’s blog is now on my blog roll, so read it. He is a very engaged author who makes conscious decisions about his writing. I love self-conscious writers who can take deliberate steps in their work without forcing those elusive qualities like humor and wit.