For India's Independence Day & Month, the Freedom Trilogy, Beauty Queens, What We All Need
The first pages of my novel were written in a middle-class suburb of New York--in Long Island. They received a rousing welcome at a Columbia University General Studies class. I embarked on my novel, fully believing that, at the end of the road, I was in for a rich literary career.
But in 1991-1994, in the process of trying to sell my just completed novel to American and British publishers—a novel I had spent nine years writing and a whole lifetime preparing to write—I ran into the phenomenon of Literary Apartheid--discovering that there were certain areas of literature in which brown people were not allowed. The rule said: If thou art brown, thou may not write as if you possessed a penis. Decorative, drawing room, literary writing was welcome; but brown male writers who unabashedly expressed the sexual aspects of their natures, even in the process of writing complex and multifaceted novels, were not.