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This lecture discusses how mud and words are connected in Anuradha Roy's work; how earth, water, air, and fire fusing to create pots is a metaphor for the way in which real and imagined archives can come together in a writer’s imagination and result in fictional worlds. She expands on this metaphor by talking about how one particular fictional world came about through her discovery of the German artist Walter Spies and his connections with Rabindranath Tagore, and how these and other historical figures entered her book and helped her to make sense of the political and moral place of the writer in today’s world. Roy delivered the annual Tagore Lecture in Modern Indian Literature at A. D. White House on September 20, 2019.