Vikram Seth asked to return $1.7 million advance

Within a week of Random House and Penguin merging to become the world’s largest books publisher with an estimated revenue of $4 billion, the aftershocks have started. The new entity, eager to cut cost and streamline operations, has asked author Vikram Seth to return his $1.7 million (approx Rs ten crore and thirty lakh) advance, a part of which was paid to him for A Suitable Girl, the ‘jumpsequel’ to his best-selling novel, A Suitable Boy.

Seth, one of the world’s bestloved writers, was scheduled to submit his manuscript this June but has been unable to do so, leading to the publishers’ demarche. At the time of going to press, Seth’s agent David Godwin was in furious negotiations with Hamish Hamilton, the imprint under which A Suitable Girl was to be published by the end of the year.

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