Four new books launched at SWF 2012

SWF 2012 launch

Four new books were launched at the Singapore Writers Festival 2012 (SWF 2012) yesterday evening at the pavilion at the festival venue at SMU campus.

The books launched were: The Resurgence of Satyam: The Global IT Giant (Random House, India) and The Singapore Decalogue (Red Wheelbarrow Books, Singapore) by Indian journalist  Zafar Anjum (also editor of this website), Govinda, Part 1 of the Aryavrata Chronicles (Hechette India) by Krishna Udayasankar and Miss Moorthy Investigates (Westland, India) by Ovidia Yu.

The four books are by authors represented by international literary agency, Jacaranda, who were managing the event. Jacaranda literary agency started in India and is one of the oldest agencies in Asia, with offices in Bangalore, New York, Nairobi and Singapore.

The book launch was kicked off by Jayapriya Vasudevan, who heads the literary agency along with Priya Doraiswamy in the US and Helen Mangham in Singapore. The books were launched by Deepika Shetty, a well-known journalist and book lover.

In her inaugural remarks, Shetty said that she was proud of Anjum who she had met in 2005 at Singapore Literary Festival which used to be a small event in those days. She said that between then and now, Anjum was able to write and publish two books that she was unveiling that evening.

In his introduction, Anjum said that this was his first foray into non-fiction (The Resurgence of Satyam: The Global IT Giant). He had written a novel 12 years ago and had since been working on a novel, which is still a work in progress. In the interim, he wrote the Satyam book and completed the short stories under a project grant by the National Arts Council Singapore. His collection of short stories,  The Singapore Decalogue, revolves around a central character who is a freshly arrived ‘foreign talent’ from India.

Describing his journey of becoming a writer, Anjum explained how the Satyam book came out of his passion for journalism. The book was not commissioned by Satyam or any other entity but was born out of his desire to tell the amazing story of Satyam’s return from hell. “I was looking for the human stories in the backdrop of the Satyam scandal,” he said. “It was a positive and inspiring story to come from India, so it needed a telling.”

Vasudevan said that Udayasankar’s Govinda was doing very well in the market and had already become a bestseller in India. The book was also on a literary prize longlist in India.

Udayasankar also said that she was amazed to see people wanting to read the book in far-off countries like Germany and Sweden because the Internet had made it possible for books and book-related information travel far and wide in a boundary less virtual world.

Ovidia, a very well-known playwright, said that she had written her novel, Miss Moorthy Investigates, nearly three decades ago. Because of Jayapriya’s interest, the novel has now been revived and reissued, she said. “I am so glad it has happened,” she said. “At least now, I can move on to the next few books in the series.”

Ovidia also revealed that Miss Moorthy is based on a real-life character and she did not mind being put in fiction. “As we are launching the book here, Miss Moorthy is uncorking a champagne bottle in England to celebrate the launch,” she said.

The three authors moved to the bookstore in a nearby tent to sign their books after the launch.