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Ashok K. BankerAshok Banker worked as a successful freelance journalist and columnist for several years, breaking front-page news for publications such as The Times of India, Mumbai, and cover stories for Outlook magazine, New Delhi. Banker is a contemporary Indian novelist often counted among the significant literary names in post-colonial Indian literature. His work is the focus of several academic studies for its cross-cultural themes and realistic portrayals of Indian urban issues. He was earlier also known as a reviewer and commentator on contemporary Indian literature, and as a candid essayist with a particular focus on media hypocrisy in India, and the western racial bias against South Asian writers. Banker has published in several genres, ranging from contemporary fiction about urban life in India to multi-volume mythological epics, as well as cross-genre works. Three of his early novels to be published were crime thrillers, claimed to be the first written by an Indian novelist in English. They gained him widespread attention. The stories of his "Devi" series are short works featuring avatars of the Hindu goddess Devi, and have appeared in various science fiction, fantasy, and horror magazines. Three of his novels contain autobiographical elements and are closely related to one another. His first novel (though the fifth published) Vertigo is about a man struggling to make a successful career and home life in Bombay (the former name of Mumbai). Byculla Boy takes its name from the Byculla suburb of Bombay where he and his mother grew up. Beautiful Ugly and the complementary documentary of the same title are a tribute to his mother, portraying the tragic events of her life. He was a prolific literary critic and reviewer, known for his candour and bluntness in reviewing books by Indian authors. His views often veered from the outright derogatory to effusive praise. He is one of few contemporary Indian authors writing in English to be included in prestigious anthologies such as The Vintage Book of Modern Indian Literature and The Picador Book of Modern Indian Literature.