An award-winning Indian writer who came to Stirling on a creative writing fellowship in 2006 returned to campus today – to revisit the inspiring surroundings that helped him write his 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize-shortlisted novel.
Delhi-based writer, Siddharth Chowdhury, wrote much of his critically-acclaimed novel Day Scholar during his time at Stirling, when he sought creative inspiration from the 330-acre campus and maintained a writing schedule of 300-500 words per day.
Siddharth’s professional accomplishments were recognised recently when he was awarded the prestigious Professional Achievement Award at the British Council’s First Education UK Alumni Awards.
Returning to Stirling for the day, Siddharth had a tour of campus and met with key University staff, including academics in the Division of Literature and Languages, and Professor Gerry McCormac, University Principal and Vice-Chancellor.
Siddharth said: “It’s been a privilege and a pleasure to come back and walk down memory lane. I went to my old residence, Polwarth, which was lovely to see again after all these years.
“The gorgeous, tranquil landscape is what makes Stirling special and provides the perfect location for writers and creative people. There must be very few campuses as beautiful as this in the world and I found it a wonderful place to write.”
Siddharth believes Stirling’s inclusive campus is also an ideal location for international students. He said: “It’s a wonderful place to mingle with just about anyone. When you go out into the world, you should be receptive to meeting and mingling with students from other cultures and Stirling is a great place for that. It is also a very safe campus and Stirling is a beautiful city.”
Professor Gerry McCormac said: “Siddharth Chowdhury’s talent, hard work and success make him a wonderful role model for our students. We are delighted to welcome him back to the University and honoured to be able to congratulate him in person on his outstanding professional achievements.
“The University is committed to promoting the arts and providing students across all disciplines with access to creative learning opportunities. Stirling has a global reputation for its literature and creative writing programmes and is recognised for being a hotbed of literary talent because of alumni like Siddharth, who have honed their craft here and gone on to establish distinguished writing careers.”
He added: “Stirling is also more international than ever before – with its scholarly community representing more than 120 different nationalities. Our inclusive campus is proud to be developing students and staff who embrace international experiences, histories and cultures, and who are well prepared for global citizenship.”
Siddharth received Stirling’s Charles Wallace Fellowship in Creative Writing 2006-2007. Funded by the Charles Wallace India Trust, the Fellowship provides Indian writers with the chance to come to the UK and spend time at Stirling, devoting themselves to their own writing and contributing to the life of the School of Arts and Humanities and the Centre of Postcolonial Studies. Find out about the Charles Wallace Fellowship.
Siddharth is a professional editor and is currently translating Eliot Wenberger’s poem ‘The Stars’ into Hindi for the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His most recent novel, The Patna Manual of Style was published in February 2015.