The winner of the country's leading literary prize, the Man Booker, is announced next week and in the run-up to the award the Today programme is profiling the six authors who have been selected for the shortlist.
Indian poet Jeet Thayil is in the running with his first novel, Narcopolis.
Set in the drug dens of old Bombay, he told the BBC's arts correspondent Rebecca Jones how the book was inspired by his own experiences.
"I was a journalist
I somehow managed to meet my deadlines while I was using large quantities of narcotics" he reflected.
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