55-year-old Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh is so boyish, soft-spoken, and downright unassuming that you’d never guess he’s a literary powerhouse. But it’s true—with seven novels under his belt and more works of non-fiction, Ghosh has served as a literary professor at both Queens College and Harvard University. The man is so good, in fact, that he was awarded the $1M Dan David Prize, which he shared with the one and only Margaret Atwood. I’m far less eloquent, so I’ll just quote one of the judges for the prize, who lauded Ghosh’s work as “distinguished equally by its precise, beautifully rendered depictions of characters and settings, and by its sweeping sense of history unfolding over generations against the backdrop of the violent dislocations of peoples and regimes during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.” I don’t doubt that that’s true.
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ghosh recently when I was asked to photograph him for an article. I wish we had more time (I only had about five minutes with the man), but it’s like they say—if wishes and buts were clusters of nuts, we’d all have a bowl of granola. I’m quite happy with the results, and I’m not complaining.