Pico Iyer

Pico Iyer

Infobox Writer
name = Pico Iyer
birthname = Siddharth Pico Raghavan Iyer

imagesize = 150
birthdate = Birth year and age|1957
birthplace = Oxford, England
occupation = Essayist, novelist
genre = Travel literature
relatives = Raghavan N. Iyer (father)
influences =
influenced =
awards =

Pico Iyer (born 1957) is a British-born essayist and novelist of Indian descent.


Iyer was born in Oxford, England, the son of the Tamil philosopher and theosophist Raghavan N. Iyer. [http://content.cdlib.org/xtf/view?docId=hb238nb0fs&doc.view=content&chunk.id=div00039&toc.depth=1&brand=calisphere&anchor.id=0 University of California: In Memoriam, Raghavan Iyer, 1995] ] [Rukun Advani, " [http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/mag/2003/04/27/stories/2003042700130200.htm Mahatma for Sale] ", "The Hindu," 27 April 2003] and the religious scholar Nandini Nanak Mehta. When he was seven, his family moved to California, and for more than a decade he moved back and forth several times a year between schools and college in England and his parents' home in California. He won academic scholarships to Eton, Oxford University and Harvard, graduating with a Congratulatory Double First at Oxford, with the highest marks of any student in the university,Fact|date=June 2007 and teaching writing and literature at Harvard before joining "Time" in 1982 as a writer on world affairs. Since then he has traveled widely, from North Korea to Easter Island, and from Paraguay to Ethiopia, while writing seven works of non-fiction and two novels, and basing himself in rural Japan, where he lives with his Japanese partner Hiroko, the "Lady" of his second book, and her two children.

Having grown up a part of - and apart from - English, American and Indian cultures, he became the first so-called "travel writer" to take the international airport itself as his subject, and then jet lag, displacement and cultural minglings, and he writes often of his delight in living between the cracks and outside fixed categories. Most of his books have been about trying to see some society or way of life - revolutionary Cuba, Sufism, Buddhist Kyoto, even global disorientation - from within, but with the larger perspective an outsider can sometimes bring. "I am simply a fairly typical product of a movable sensibility," he wrote in 1993 in "Harper's", "living and working in a world that is itself increasingly small and increasingly mongrel. I am a multinational soul on a multinational globe on which more and more countries are as polyglot and restless as airports. Taking planes seems as natural to me as picking up the phone or going to school; I fold up my self and carry it around as if it were an overnight bag." [April 1993 issue of "Harper's."]

In between his books, Iyer writes up to a hundred articles a year for magazines on several continents. A regular essayist for "Time" since 1986, he writes on literature for "The New York Review of Books", on globalism for "Harper's", on travel for the "Financial Times," and on many other themes for the "New York Times, National Geographic, TLS" and many others. He also contributes regular columns to magazines in Italy, Austria and Hong Kong. He has written a filmscriptvague and words for accompaniment by a chamber orchestra.Fact|date=February 2008 His books have appeared in languages such as Turkish, Russian, and Indonesian, and he writes regularly on sport, film and religion, and especially on the places where mysticism and globalism converge.

Iyer's writing goes back and forth between the monastery and the airport - "Thomas Merton on a frequent flier pass," as the Indian writer Pradeep Sebastian has written ["The Hindu," November 7 2006.] - and aims, perhaps, to bring new global energies and possibilities into non-fiction a little as Salman Rushdie has done with fiction. The "Utne Reader" named him in 1995 as one of 100 Visionaries worldwide who could change your life, ["Utne Reader," January/February 1995.] while the "New Yorker" observed that "As a guide to far-flung places, Pico Iyer can hardly be surpassed." ["The New Yorker," May 1997 issue on Indian writing, "Briefly Noted".]

Asked if he finally feels rooted and accepted as a foreigner (regarding his current life in Japan) Iyer replies “Japan is therefore an ideal place because I never will be a true citizen here, and will always be an outsider, however long I live here and however well I speak the language. And the society around me is as comfortable with that as I am… I am not rooted in a place, I think, so much as in certain values and affiliations and friendships that I carry everywhere I go; my home is both invisible and portable. But I would gladly stay in this physical location for the rest of my life, and there is nothing in life that I want that it doesn’t have.” [Brenner, Angie; [http://www.wildriverreview.com/worldvoices-picoiyer.php "Global Writer, Heart & Soul - Interview with Pico Iyer"] , "Wild River Review", November 19, 2007.]


*"The Recovery of Innocence." (London: Concord Grove Press, July 1984. ISBN 0-88695-019-8) A collection of essays about American literature, described on its cover as offering "Literary glimpses of the American dream". The lists of publications in Iyer's later books do not mention this book, which is not common; the Library of Congress has [http://catalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&CNT=25+records+per+page&CMD=isbn+0886950198 a copy] .
*"Video Night in Kathmandu: And Other Reports from the Not-so-Far East" (April 1988, hardback, July 1989; paperback) / ISBN 0-679-72216-5
*"The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto" (August 1991 / ISBN 0-679-40308-6; September 1991, hardback, October 1992; paperback / ISBN 0-679-73834-7)
*"Falling off the

*"Cuba and the Night" (April 1995 hardback, April 1996 paperback / ISBN 0-517-17267-4)
*"Tropical Classical: Essays From Several Directions." (New York: Knopf, May 1997. ISBN 0-679-45432-2 (hardback). Penguin, 1997. ISBN 0-14-027119-8 (paperback). Vintage, June 1998. ISBN 0-679-77610-9 (paperback)) - Book reviews and essays on places, people, and other matters.
*"Global Soul: Jet Lag, Shopping Malls, & the Search for Home" (February 2000 hardback, April 2001 paperback / ISBN 0-679-45433-0)
*"Imagining Canada: An Outsider's Hope for a Global Future" (January 2001 / ISBN 0-9694382-1-4) - First Hart House lecture: [http://www.harthouselecture.ca/Resources/Iyer_2001.pdf full transcript]
*"Abandon: A Romance" (February 2003 hardback, April 2004 paperback / ISBN 1-4000-3085-4)
*"Sun after Dark: Flights into the Foreign" (April 2004 paperback, April 2005 hardback / ISBN 0-375-41506-8)
*"The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama" (March 2008 hardback / ISBN 0307267601)


External links

* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,160855,00.html Time Article: Sounds of Silence]
* [http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2848&Itemid=0 "Writing Undoes Me" - Article in Shambhala Sun Magazine]
* [http://www.walrusmagazine.com/articles/2008.07-travel-to-kyoto-pico-iyer/ "No Escape, Not Even to Kyoto" Published in The Walrus magazine]
* [http://www.nybooks.com/authors/251 Iyer author page and archive] from "The New York Review of Books"

* [http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/pep/pepdesc.cfm?id=3923 Video Interview: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama] at LIVE from the New York Public Library, April 11, 2008
* [http://www.scottlondon.com/interviews/iyer.html scottlondon.com] : interview and audio clip
* [http://www.rolfpotts.com/writers/iyer.html vagabonding.com] : interview
* [http://www.powells.com/authors/iyer.html powells.com] : interview
* [http://www.salon.com/travel/bag/1999/09/15/iyer/index1.html salon.com] : interview
* [http://ascentmagazine.com/articles.aspx?articleID=72&page=read&subpage=past&issueID=15 "Global Imagination"] an interview with ascent magazine.
* [http://kamlashow.com/podcast/2008/05/10/in-conversation-with-pico-iyer-part-1/ "The Kamla Show"] an interview with Kamla Bhatt.

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