By Pervaiz Alam

Back after 10 years with a new novel ‘The Girl with the Seven Lives’, Vikas Swarup unravels the mystery behind his success as a novelist in conversation with me on Cine Ink podcast “London Varta”. There’s a huge excitement in the fiction world.

Reportedly, the new book is filled with the same evocative prose, immersive narrative and propulsive energy that made his first book Q&A (Slumdog Millionaire) a global bestseller, getting 10 Oscar nominations. In this podcast, Vikas Swarup shares fascinating stories about his novels- Q&A, The Accidental Apprentice, The Girl with the Seven Lives- and how the books have been adapted for the screen.

The day Vikas Swarup recorded London Vārta, a message appeared on his mobile. His eyes lit up. “My book Q&A has been published in 46 international languages. Just now, I got the news; it’s being published in Uzbek language, making it the 47th language,” informed Vikas Swarup, smiling.

Vikas has been a top ranking Indian diplomat. He was the High Commissioner of India in Canada. He discusses India’s troublesome relations with Canada, citing two main reasons; Lack of support from Canada on India’s Nuclear explosions and Khalistan issue. Before Canada, he held senior positions in the government of India such as Director of the office of the External Affairs Minister, Director for Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan, and Joint Secretary, United Nations (Political) and served in Indian Missions in Ankara, Washington DC, Addis Ababa, London, Pretoria and Osaka. He was appointed India’s Official Spokesperson for foreign affairs enabling him to travel extensively with the Prime Minister and the External Affairs Minister of India.

His last assignment in Delhi was as Secretary (West), supervising relations with Europe, Central Asia and the United Nations system.

Swarup’s first book Q&A was adapted for the screen as ‘Slumdog Millionnaire’. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 2009 and won 8—the most for any 2008 film—including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It won seven BAFTA Awards including Best Film, five Critics’ Choice Awards and four Golden Globes.

His second book Six Suspects has been adapted into a nine-part web series directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia which premiered on Disney+Hotstar and Hulu and has become the most watched Hotstar Special ever.

You can listen to Vikas Swarup in conversation with Pervaiz Alam here on London Vārta.