Karthika Naïr


Author of four books, Karthika Naïr was also the principal scriptwriter of DESH (2011), Akram Khan’s Olivier Award-winning dance production, as well as its adaptation for young adult audiences, Chotto Desh (2015). 

Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata (HarperCollins India, 2015/Arc Publications UK, 2016), Naïr’s reimagining of the Mahabharata in multiple voices, won the Tata Literature Live! Award for Book of the Year 2015 (Fiction)  — after finding itself nominated alongside the latest novels of lifelong heroes including Salman Rushdie and Amitav Ghosh. The Honey Hunter (Editions Hélium – Actes Sud/Zubaan Books, 2013) – her children’s story originally written for DESH, then illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet and published in English, French, German and Bangla – made its way into several year-end lists of must-read books for children, including those of French national radio France Info and the Indian literary journal, Biblio.

In Karthika Naïr’s résumé as a dance enabler, one finds mention of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Damien Jalet, Käfig/Mourad Merzouki, two Olivier awards, Auditorium Musica per Roma, the Louvre, the Villette, the Shaolin Temple in Henan, misadventures with ninja swords and pachyderms, among others, many of which reappear in her poetry (though, hopefully, not into the retelling of the Mahabharata).

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