In your acceptance speech you thanked your mother for her support and help with your writing. Have the dynamics altered since winning the prize?
No, I think they go too deep to be altered. I’m responding to these questions from her house. We were talking of what she’d recently written about Primo Levi and his translating Kafka, of the holocaust that was anticipated by Kafka, experienced by Levi. What this did to an intelligence (Levi’s) writing about people on the other side of the world, writing about how one tribe fails another. Very different from other Europeans observing the colonial world at that time. When I walk into her home, it is almost as if another dimension opens up, a magic space in which I can work and think like nowhere else. It is the peace of it, the stillness of the light, the flavour of exile that seems essential to writing, the fact that everything seems to bend to the fact of it being a writer’s home. It’s the rhythm of a writing life that comes from 50 years of working, and from that older time of being a writer in India when you wrote for writing’s sake alone, not for the cocktail samosas.