A Literary Evening with Shashi Tharoor

Bookless in Baghdad: Reflections on Writing and Writers February 9, 2006

Dubbed as “one of the best in a generation of Indian authors” and “a fluid and powerful writer” by The New York Times Book Review, Shashi Tharoor, the eloquent Under-Secretary-General of Public Information at the United Nations and the acclaimed author of six books, is once again at his provocative best in his latest work, Bookless in Baghdad. Supremely personal, yet always probing and analytical, this brilliant collection is part memoir, part essay and literary criticism. In the title piece, we learn what Iraqis go through in their beleaguered land merely to get hold of a book, and how selling books from their own libraries on the street helps some put bread on the table. Tharoor reminisces about growing up with books in India and discusses the importance of the Mahabharata in Indian life and history. His astute views on Salman Rushdie, India’s love for P. G. Wodehouse, Kipling, Pushkin, le Carr, V. S. Naipaul, and Winston Churchill make for fascinating reading. Together, these 39 pieces reveal the inner workings of one of today’s most eclectic writers.

As Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Mr. Tharoor is in charge of the Organization’s communications strategy, with particular responsibility for ensuring the coherence and effectiveness of the United Nations’ external message. In 2003, the Secretary-General also appointed him United Nations Coordinator for Multilingualism. Mr. Tharoor is the author of eight books, as well as numerous articles, op-eds, and literary reviews in a wide range of publications. He is the recipient of several journalism and literary awards, including a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. In January 1998, Mr. Tharoor was named by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as a “Global Leader of Tomorrow.” Mr. Tharoor is an elected Fellow of the New York Institute of the Humanities and a member of the Advisory Board of the Indo-American Arts Council.

Location: The River Club 447 East 52nd
Street New York, NY 10022