Video: More on William Dalrymple’s Nine Lives

In these videos, Garima Dutt talks to William Dalrymple about Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India.

In the first clip, WD describes himself as ‘a shadowy presence in the book […] there only at the margins of the stories’. He says that 90% of the book is reported speech – that of his interviewees. 

The author’s ‘shadowy presence’ is one of the most remarkable things about Nine Lives (and someting I commented on in my last post). Garima Dutt is quite wrong to compare Nine Lives to The Age of Kali (1998), a collection of WD’s travel writing/ journalism, for his latest book has no explorer-writer figure at its centre.  

In the first clip WD refers to Nine Lives as a collection of ‘non-fiction short stories’. In this next clip he tells Garima Dutt that he enjoyed using the ‘short story form’ and finding ‘a way of making  non-fiction and factual writing fit that frame’ so the stories have ‘the same narrative pleasure’ as a novel…

(You can read a transcript of this interview at new aesthtic, an Indian website for ‘contemporary urban’ writing.)

~ by Griselda Murray Brown on January 12, 2010.

One Response to “Video: More on William Dalrymple’s Nine Lives”

  1. Hi Girselda

    I came across your blog and the reference to William’s interview that I did for new aesthetic. Thank you and it would be great in case you wish to contribute to new aesthetic in any form – interviews, book reviews etc.

    Do get in touch with me at or


    Garima Dutt

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