Victor Rangel-Ribeiro, the award-winning Indian novelist, was born in Goa in 1925 when it was still a Portuguese colony, but he counts English among one of his three mother tongues. Having migrated to Bombay in 1939, his short stories were first published in the late 1940s and early 50s in the British Indian press; more recently they have been featured in three of America's top international literary journalsthe North American, Iowa, and Literary Reviewsas well as in the Indian-American. The New York Foundation for the Arts awarded him its fiction fellowship in 1991; seven years later, his first novel, Tivolem, earned him the Milkweed National Fiction Prize, awarded each year to the best work of literary fiction published by Milkweed Editions of Minneapolis; Booklist, the influential journal of the American Library Association, picked Tivolem as one of the twenty notable first novels of 1997-98. A subsequent book tour and readings took him to eight states and to Toronto in Canada. Penguin's paperback edition was short-listed for India's prestigious Crossword Book Award, and remained on that nation's bestseller list for several months.
Rangel-Ribeiro earned his B.A. from Bombay University in 1945, graduating from St. Xavier's College with Honors in English Language and Literature. After a year in teaching, he switched to journalism, rising quickly through the ranks to become in turn Assistant Editor and leader writer at the National Standard, Sunday Editor at the Times of India (1953 Calcutta edition), and Literary Editor at the Illustrated Weekly. Then, joining J. Walter Thompson, he broke through a racial barrier, becoming the first Indian to be appointed Copy Chief at that global advertising agency's Bombay office. He came to the United States in 1956, and opted with his family for US citizenship.
In New York, Rangel-Ribeiro attended Teachers College at Columbia University, earning his master's degree in 1983. A member of American MENSA since 1988, his varied professional career in the States has included covering classical music concerts and opera for the New York Times, as well as copy editing more than 40 nonfiction books for major New York publishers. However, his most enjoyable and productive stints involved coordinating the largest adult literacy site for Literacy Volunteers of New York City; teaching troubled teenagers in an alternative school in Harlem; and helping black and hispanic adult school dropouts in Brooklyn's Bedford Stuyvesant district get their diploma. For a while he also served as Assistant Director of the Straus Thinking and Learning Center at Pace University.
In between, for ten years he owned and ran an internationally known music antiquariat
in New York, and for another eleven, by invitation, at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.
In the late 1970s he took over as music director of the failing Beethoven Society in New York, and successfully guided it to membership in Lincoln Center. His two books on Baroque music performance and chamber music repertory have been widely praised; he has recently edited four other volumes for Dover Publications, Inc., a leading music publisher. This project included translating Italian, French , and German texts into English. He is also serving as a reader for the FDU Press.
Rangel-Ribeiro has recently completed a short story collection and is working on two other novels. He is 75. His sparetime interests include reading (voraciously), music, history, travel, languages (he can make himself misunderstood in eight), watercolor painting, photography, playing with five grandchildren and gardening. Ah, yesin between, he catnaps. . . .
His website on Authors Guildcan be accessed at www.victorrangel-ribeiro.com.
- Tivolem, a novel. Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 1998.
- Baroque Music, a Practical Guide for the Performer. New York: Schirmer Books, a division of Macmillan. 1981.
- Chamber Music: An International Guide to Works and their Instrumentation. With Robert Markel. New York: Facts on File, 1991.
- Short fiction in The Iowa Review, The North American Review, The Literary Review, and The Indian American.
- Articles and editorials and music criticism in the Indian press, both in New York, and in Bombay and Calcutta.
- Articles and music criticism in The New York Times.