From Guernica:

Amitav Lila Azam Zanganeh interviews Amitav Ghosh:

Many novelists start out dreaming in their bed at night. As Sartre describes in The Words, they dream of how they’ll write these wild romantic novels. But Amitav Ghosh seems to come from quite a different place. As a young man he worked as a journalist; his first job was at the Indian Express newspaper, based in New Delhi. He next earned a PhD at Oxford in social anthropology, followed by a stint in Egypt. As he tells Lila Azam Zanganeh, our “Nabokovian“ interviewer, his background in anthropology—as opposed to, say, an MFA—might have been the best training imaginable for his fiction and essays: “What does an anthropologist do?” he asks. “You just go and talk to people, then at the end of the day you write down what you see.… It trains you to observe, and it trains you to listen to the ways in which people speak.”

Ghosh published the first of his six novels, The Circle of Reason, in 1986, and his career was given a boost when France awarded the book a prestigious Prix Médicis Etranger. While he lives in Brooklyn, writes in English and feels at home in the New York publishing scene, his sensibility is clearly that of an internationalist. Enabled in his career by writers such as Salman Rushdie and V.S. Naipaul, he cares almost nothing about identity in its narrowest sense. Why? Because of India. “One of the reasons why is because anybody who's lived in India knows that India is incredibly, incredibly diverse.… That’s one of the wonderfully liberating things about India; it lets you be exactly who you want to be.”

More here.