“ (A) powerful second novel from Nikita Lalwani. One of the novel’s great strengths is in how it maintains an ambience of mystery and menace, partly due to the secrecy shrouding the inmates.’
(New York Times Book Review on THE VILLAGE) ( USA)
Nikita Lalwani’s first novel GIFTED was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2007, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. It has been translated into 16 languages. In June 2008 Nikita Lalwani won the Desmond Elliot Prize for New Fiction, which she donated to human rights organisation Liberty. Lalwani was born in Rajasthan and raised in Cardiff. In In 2013 she was a judge for the book section of the Orwell Prize, Britain’s most prestigious prize for political writing.
Her second novel THE VILLAGE is published by Penguin in the UK and Random House in the USA. In May 2013 it was selected as one of eight novels for the Fiction Uncovered campaign for the best of British fiction. Set in a village modelled on a real-life open prison in India, THE VILLAGE is a gripping story about manipulation and personal morality, about how truly frail our moral judgement can be. You can download the first chapter here and watch her discussing the book here
REVIEWS for THE VILLAGE:
‘***** Five Stars. Lalwani reveals an authoritative eye for both the camaraderie and hardship found in rural India.‘ The Telegraph (UK)
‘Sharp and uncompromising, (The Village) is a ripsnorting read that leaves us wondering where the needle will be pointing at the moment the moral compass is smashed to pieces. ‘ The Independent on Sunday (UK)
‘ Lalwani is too skilled a writer to render [the] women as mere emblems of a classic debate. With subtlety and psychological acuity, she traces each shift in Ray’s perspective . . . THE VILLAGE is not so much a portrait of a village, but a hard look at the quest for the true and the real . . . and the misinterpretations that can arise along the way.’
The New York Times Book Review
‘The Village is a masterclass in compression, zooming in from a wide angle establishing shot to focus on individual lives….The inmates’ stories evoke larger questions about justice and privacy, power and powerlessness. Lalwani is also very good at subverting perspective.The notion of freedom is turned on its head.’ The Guardian (UK)
‘ A fine follow up to Lalwani’s feted debut novel, which shows the growth of an elegant young talent.’ The Independent ( UK)
‘ A thoughtful novel that envelops us in the oppression and beauty of the rural prison, yet resists simplification and stereotypes. Like the documentary process itself, her novel reveals only fragments of its characters - yet each voice is distinct, believable and stubborn in its refusal to be easily known.‘ Financial Times (UK) ( UK)
‘Thoughtful and beautifully written, The Village… ultimately asks what it means to represent something “real”.’ The Observer (UK)
‘Idealistic, ambitious, conflicted and confounded, but with a strong moral intelligence at her core, Ray is a beautifully realised character…. the dramatic denouement towards which the novel hurtles seems utterly credible and convincing.’ The Hindustan Times (India)
‘Gripping … Nikita Lalwani’s second novel simmers with understated menace.‘ Marie Claire (UK)
‘The Village is extraordinary… What Nikita Lalwani is really brilliant at is voice and people.’ Alex Heminsley, BBC Radio 2, The Arts Show (UK)
Lalwani is a tutor on the MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths University in London, at the Arvon Foundation, Curtis Brown Creative, and also on the MSt in Creative Writing at Oxford University. Lalwani was writer-in-residence at University College London from 2007-2008. She has written for the Guardian and New Statesman, and contributed an essay to the non-fiction anthology AIDS SUTRA, published by Random House in 2009, exploring the human stories around the HIV epidemic in India.
Gifted was adapted for BBC Radio 4 as a drama for Woman’s Hour, which won the Best Radio Drama category in the Mental Health Media Awards 2008. In 2009 the Italian translation of Gifted won the Edoardo Kilhgren Caiparma prize for Foreign Literature.
In September 2008, Lalwani was interviewed on the BBC current affairs programme HARDtalk
Photo by Nishant Lalwani