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Voices of Asia

The South Asian Literary Recordings Project was originally conceived by the New Delhi Office of the Library of Congress as a way to celebrate the Library's Bicentennial in 2000 overseas. Aimed at recording the voices of prominent authors from the region reading excerpts from their works, the project built on the Library's tradition of complementing its paper collections of world literature with recorded readings by authors. Most notable among these efforts is the Hispanic Division's longstanding practice of recording authors of the Luso-Hispanic world.

Khushwant Singh, one of the best-known Indian writers of all times, was born in 1915 in Hadali (now in Pakistan). Image not available for reproduction. Arundhati Roy, born in 1959 at Shillong, Meghalaya, is one of the best-known representatives of the contemporary generation of Indian writers who write in English.

In South Asia, the Library's office in Pakistan had recorded 23 authors in the late 1970s, and the Library recorded four Indian writers in 1985, taking advantage of their presence in Washington for the Festival of India. The current project picks up where those earlier efforts left off, extending its reach to other countries of the region and expanding the coverage of the multilingual literary traditions of India. The authors recorded so far represent more than 15 of the languages of India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Some of the recordings are in English. For example, Arundhati Roy, born in 1959 at Shillong, Meghalaya, is one of the best-known representatives of the contemporary generation of Indian authors who write in English. You can hear her read from her 1997 "The God of Small Things," her first novel. Khushwant Singh, one of the best-known Indian writers, reads from his 1999 work, "A History of the Sikhs."

Since 1962 the Library of Congress has maintained offices abroad to acquire, catalog, preserve and distribute library and research materials from countries where such materials are essentially unavailable through conventional acquisitions methods. Today there are six overseas offices, in New Delhi, India; Cairo, Egypt; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Jakarta, Indonesia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Islamabad, Pakistan. The collective efforts of these offices enable the Library of Congress to acquire hard-to-get materials from nearly 80 nations.


A. Khushwant Singh, one of the best -known Indian writers of all times, was born in 1915 in Hadali (now in Pakistan). Image not available for reproduction.

B. Arundhati Roy, born in 1959 at Shillong, Meghalaya, is one of the best-known representatives of the contemporary generation of Indian writers who write in English.


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