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Manil Suri, photo by Nina Subin
Manil Suri

NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST, TO SPEAK

NYS Writers Institute, April 30, 2013
8:00 p.m. Reading | Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown campus

 

 

MATHEMATICIAN AND BESTSELLING FICTION WRITER, TO SPEAK ABOUT HIS NEW NOVEL, THE CITY OF DEVI

NYS Writers Institute, April 19, 2013
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Assembly Hall, Campus Center, Uptown Campus

CALENDAR LISTING:
Manil Suri, bestselling fiction writer and a mathematician, will speak about his new novel The City of Devi (2013), a tale of Mumbai under threat of nuclear attack, on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 8 p.m. in the Assembly Hall, Campus Center, on the University at Albany’s uptown campus. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., the author will present an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library, on the uptown campus. The events are free and open to the public, and are cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and the UAlbany Office of International Education.

"When it comes down to it plotting is the hardest thing. . . It makes you start thinking , how do I move this forward, how do I keep the audience engrossed. . . " (3:51)

PROFILE
The City of DeviManil Suri,
Indian-American mathematician and major contemporary novelist, is the author most recently of The City of Devi (2013), an epic novel set in the author’s native city of Mumbai after it has been abandoned under threat of nuclear attack. In a review of the book for the Washington Post Ron Charles said, “Even amid the wondrous variety of contemporary Indian fiction, Suri’s work stands apart, mingling comedy and death, eroticism and politics, godhood and Bollywood like no one else.” Booker Prize-winning author Kiran Desai said the novel “combines, in a magician’s feat, the thrill of Bollywood with the pull of a thriller.” Novelist Gary Shteyngart said, “When the world comes to an end, I will spend my last days in Mumbai clutching a copy of Manil Suri’s dazzling epic.”

Suri’s debut novel, The Death of Vishnu (2001), about the rhythms of life and death in a Mumbai apartment building, received the PEN/Bingham and Barnes & Noble Discover Prizes. First excerpted in the New Yorker, The Death of Vishnu received a $350,000 advance in a bidding war among U.S. publishers, and became an international bestseller. Writing for the Los Angeles Times Book Review, Shashi Tharoor called The Death of Vishnu, “A finely observed comedy of manners that evolves into searing tragedy... that rare storytelling feat, an evocation of the tragic consequences of comedy.” Paul Gray of Time magazine called it “Enchanting,” and said, “Suri’s novel achieves an eerie and memorable transcendence.”

Manil SuriSuri’s second novel was, The Age of Shiva (2008), about a woman’s struggles in post-independence India. Novelist Amy Tan called it, “A stunning novel, proof that Manil Suri is a major storyteller of heart and intelligence.” Caryn James of the New York Times said, “Sweepingly ambitious, captivating…. The Age of Shiva affirms [Suri’s] position as a writer worth serious attention.” The New Yorker reviewercalled the novel, “A sensuous, nuanced portrait of motherhood.”

A mathematics professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Manil Suri specializes in partial differential equations. In a 2008 interview with Claudia Dreifus of the New York Times, Suri talked about one of the similarities between mathematics and fiction: “In mathematics, in place of characters, you have variables or unknowns. If I’m trying to plot a theorem, I try to imagine these variables interacting with each other. The boundary of their interaction is the theorem.” While acknowledging many differences between the two disciplines, Suri also says in a 2009 essay in the Washington Post that,“Both mathematicians and novelists aspire in their own way to capture truth. To condense the world.”

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.