Book for September 2009
Swarup's inventive debut traces the fortunes of Ram Mohammad Thomas from Asia's biggest slum to his sudden acquisition of enormous wealth as the biggest winner on the popular quiz show, Who Will Win a Billion? A poor, uneducated waiter, Ram is arrested after the final episode in the belief that he must have cheated.
In jail he shares his hardscrabble life with his lawyer: his abandonment at birth in a used clothing bin, the church orphanage where he was dubbed an "idiot orphan boy," the foster home where children were purposely crippled and forced to beg, the estate of an Australian diplomat who was really a spy, the home of an aging Bollywood actress, and his meager waiter job.
Each chapter in Ram's life provided him with a correct answer on the show, as a la Forrest Gump, he has been in the right place at the right time. Ram's funny and poignant odyssey explores the causes of good and evil and illustrates how, with a little luck, the best man sometimes wins.
His debut novel, Q & A, was critically acclaimed in India and abroad, and translated into more than 40 languages. It was shortlisted for the Best First Book by the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and won South Africa’s Exclusive Books Boeke Prize 2006, as well as the Prix Grand Public at the 2007 Paris Book Fair.
Vikas Swarup's second novel Six Suspects, published by Transworld, was released on July 28, 2008 and is being translated into several languages. It has been optioned for a film by the BBC and Starfield productions and John Hodge, who wrote the script for films like Trainspotting, Shallow Grave and The Beach, has been commissioned to write the screenplay.
Swarup's short story ‘A Great Event’ has been published in ‘The Children’s Hours: Stories of Childhood’, an anthology of stories about childhood to support Save the Children and raise awareness for its fight to end violence against children.
Slumdog Millionaire is the 2008 British film directed by Danny Boyle, adapted from the novel Q & A. Set and filmed in India, the film tells the story of a young man from the slums of Mumbai who appears on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? (Kaun Banega Crorepati) and exceeds people's expectations, thereby arousing the suspicions of the game show host and of law enforcement officials.
After its world premiere at Telluride Film Festival and subsequent screenings at the Toronto International Film Festival and the London Film Festival, Slumdog Millionaire initially had a limited North American release on 12 November 2008, to critical acclaim. It later had a nationwide grand release in the United Kingdom on 9 January 2009 and in the United States on 23 January 2009. It premiered in Mumbai on 22 January 2009.
Slumdog Millionaire was nominated for ten Academy Awards in 2009 and won eight, the most for any film of 2008, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay. It also won seven BAFTA Awards (including Best Film), five Critics' Choice Awards, and four Golden Globes.