Q. Which book/author should be banned on grounds of bad taste? A. Let’s ban the ban. Banning books is in bad taste.

Vayu Naidu is the founder of the Vayu Naidu Storytelling Theatre. Her debut novel, Sita’s Ascent, was launched at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2013. She is writing and directing a play that is produced by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

  • QDescribe your favourite writing space.

    Window to my right, and hearing the clicking of the keyboard.
  • QDo you have a writing schedule?

    4-5 am is dream/think time. Sit to write from 6.45-8.45 after walking the dog! No treats, not even emails, till 12.
  • QEver struggled with writer’s block?

    Yes! When I’m thinking too fast and am too eager to get things down, and when too many ideas come all at once. Slow down, not so fast...
  • QWhat inspires you to write? Do you have a secret trick, or a book/author that helps?

    Objects, landscapes — urban and rural. There are no tricks. It is living in the reality of parallel worlds — a physical reality, and the emotional reality of making sense of the unexpected in the physical reality. Discussing with other writers who recommend books I wouldn’t have read otherwise helps immensely.
  • QCoffee/tea/cigarettes — numbers please — while you are writing?

    Five mugs of hot water from 5 to 10 am. Two mugs of lemon ginger tea from 10 to 12 in the winter, green tea in the summer. One cup of industrial strength Arabica coffee black and then it’s downhill all the way on Saturdays and Sundays...
  • QWhich books are you reading at present?

    Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies; Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles; Pankaj Mishra’s From The Ruins of Empire; Timeri N. Murari’s The Taliban Cricket Club; Swami Nikhilananda’s translation of Mahendranath Datta’s The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.
  • QWho are your favourite authors?

    Arundhati Roy, Irene Nemirovsky, Jim Crace, Justin Torres, Marilynne Robinson, Aravind Adiga, Louise Doughty, Michael Ondaatje, Toni Morrison, Michel Houellebecq, Hermann Hesse, Jane Austen, Iravati Karve, Mahasweta Devi, Vyasa and Valmiki.
  • QWhich book/author should be banned on grounds of bad taste?

    Let’s ban the ban. Banning books is in bad taste.
  • QWhich is the most under-rated book?

    Sadly, The Autobiography of Malcolm X.
  • QWhich are your favourite children’s books?

    Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Amar Chitra Katha, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, Tulika’s Oluguti Toluguti.

If elections come, can conspiracy theories be far behind? With bypolls around the corner, Uttar Pradesh is abuzz with talk of a sinister plot of young Hindu women being tricked into marriage by Muslim men, and made to convert to Islam. Over the past week there has been a flood of reports about “love jihad”.

Peace is at the best of times a tenuous proposition in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even as the world hopes the new indefinite ceasefire that has brought 50 days of bloodshed to an end will last, the real causes of the conflict have been put to the side, rather than resolved.