NEW YORK: Vikas Swarup, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India, has been appointed as India’s next High Commissioner to Canada.
Swarup will replace Arun Kumar Sahu who is currently working as acting Indian High Commissioner to Canada.
Swarup, who was born in Allahabad, attended Allahabad University. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1986. In his diplomatic career, he has been posted to various countries such as Turkey (1987-1990), the United States (1993-1997), Ethiopia (1997-2000), the United Kingdom (2000-2003) and South Africa (2006-2009). He served as Consul General of India in Osaka-Kobe, Japan from 2009 to 2013.
A well-known literary star too, Swarup penned his debut novel ‘Q&A, in two months, when he was posted in London. Published in 2005 by Doubleday/Random House (UK & Commonwealth), Harper Collins (Canada) and Scribner (US), it has been published in 43 languages. It was short listed for the Best First Book by the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and won South Africa’s Exclusive Books Boeke Prize 2006 as well as the Paris Book Fair’s Reader’s Prize, the Prix Grand Public, in 2007. It was voted the Most Influential Book of 2008 in Taiwan, and winner of the Best Travel Read (Fiction) at the Heathrow Travel Product Award 2009.
Harper Collins brought out the audio book, read by Kerry Shale, which won the award for Best Audio Book of the Year 2005. The BBC produced a radio play based on the book which won the Gold Award for Best Drama at the Sony Radio Academy Awards 2008 and the IVCA Clarion Award 2008. The film version of Q&A, titled ‘Slumdog Millionaire’, directed by Danny Boyle, took the world by storm, winning more than 70 awards including four Golden Globes, 7 BAFTAs and a staggering 8 Oscars, including Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.
Vikas’s second novel, ‘Six Suspects’, was released in the UK & Commonwealth by Transworld in August 2008. Published by Harper Collins in Canada and St Martin’s Press in the US, it has sold translation rights in 30 languages. It has been optioned for a film by the BBC and Starfield Productions.
His third novel, “The Accidental Apprentice” was published by Simon & Schuster in the UK and Commonwealth in 2013. It was released in the US in July 2014 by St. Martin’s Press. It is also being translated into all major languages. The Indian language film rights have been acquired by Matchbox Films and the Bollywood version is expected to be directed by noted filmmaker Sriram Raghvan.
Swarup contributed a short story titled ‘A Great Event’ to ‘The Children’s Hours: Stories of Childhood’, a bold and moving anthology of stories about childhood to support Save the Children and raise awareness for its fight to end violence against children.
Swarup is the recipient of the US-India Business Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award for “Contributing to the Cultural Ties that Bind” and received the award from USIBC Chairman Indra K. Nooyi at the USIBC’s 34th Anniversary Gala Reception in Washington D.C. on June 16, 2009.
He is also the recipient of a degree of Doctor of Literature & Philosophy (honoris causa) from the University of South Africa (UNISA), the largest university in South Africa and one of the largest distance education institutions in the world.
Swarup’s wife Aparna is an artist. They have two sons, Aditya and Varun.