There would be more for literature lovers at the next Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) to be held from January 24 to 28, 2013. The annual literature festival that has been growing in reputation since it was first-held in 2008 would add another exquisite feather to its cap in its sixth editionby establishing a connection with The Man Booker International Prize.

“We will be announcing the ‘List of Finalists’ for the Man Booker International Prize at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Thursday, 24 January 2013. This will include an event as part of the festival at the Diggi Palace Hotel followed by an invitational dinner celebration at the City Palace,” said Truda Spruyt, associate director (culture), Colman Getty Consultants, the UK’s iconic culture and campaigning consultancy, which handles the prize.

Shashi Tharoor’s vanvas from South Block after he was forced to resign as minister of state for external affairs in April 2010 perhaps was a blessing in disguise. Had he remained an MEA insider, a book of the magnitude of Pax Indica would not have been possible.

In terms of the ground it covers, Pax Indica promises to be a seminal work on Indian diplomacy. And Tharoor is uniquely placed to undertake such an exercise – being one of the few Indians having extensive experience in international relations and yet not being constricted by an Indian Foreign Service background. In the 400-odd pages, Tharoor covers almost every possible aspect of the foreign policy challenges before the country in the 21st century.

Maajid Nawaz was in thrall to extremist group Hizb al-Tahrir, a path that led to torture in an Egyptian jail. In this extract from his forthcoming book, Radical, he describes how he was recruited to the Islamist cause.

HIDEOUS HINDUS Massacre Muslims’ was the rather offensive title of the leaflet. I still remember that title. That one leaflet has changed the course of my life in ways probably unthinkable for its anonymous author. It laid bare the behaviour of the Hindu extremists in what was a shocking and deeply inflammatory episode.

At this point in his life, Osman, spurred on by the likes of Public Enemy’s Professor Griff, had taken an interest in politics. He followed the ‘Intifada’ that had been going on against the Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, and the role of Yasser Arafat’s PLO. This struggle for Palestinian liberation, and the crushing Israeli response, complete with tacit American support, had long been a running sore in international relations. In the context of my story and so many others, it was undoubtedly a factor that justified the Islamist narrative of victimhood.

On one side is novelist-publisher David Davidar, currently the MD at Aleph Book Company, and variously described as the man who put recent Indian writing and publishing on the world map, the most successful Indian publisher and one who has discovered top Indian talent.

On the other is Sivasundari Bose, a Tiruchirapalli-based novelist-poet, who charges Davidar with having plagiarised from her manuscript, submitted to Penguin when he headed that firm. Sivasundari sued Davidar, saying there are many similarities between her novel—submitted in manuscript to Penguin as I Hunt for the Golden Stag and eventually published by Mosaic Books as Golden Stag—and Davidar’s own acclaimed novel The House of Blue Mangoes.

A writer who starts with a theme and then hangs a story around its neck will land in trouble unless she is telling it from inside-out. By humanising the characters. Kishwar Desai has strong views about surrogacy. She has exposed certain truths about a well-oiled medical industry that has bypassed ethical issues to provide couples with a baby that is ‘biologically’ their own. But the shocking indifference of medical bodies like the Indian Medical Association and the Medical Council towards such corrupt, unethical practices is not mentioned.

The novel fails to navigate the difficult zones of disappointment, despair, social expectations and family values that envelop the issue of infertility. This lends a disappointing flatness to the story. The feisty protagonist goes all the way to London, posing as a woman in need of a sperm donor, god help her, but we do not feel any empathy towards her or any of the others.

In Churning the Earth: the Making of Global India, economist Aseem Shrivastava and ecologist Ashish Kothari interrogate what is unarguably the question of greatest consequence for our times: does contemporary globalisation, as a “definitive prescription not just for a certain arrangement of economic affairs, but for a way of life”, offer solutions to the impoverishment of billions of people, and for unborn generations and non-human species?

This immensely significant and compelling book—one of the most important in recent years—maps painstakingly the political economy of both the socio-economic consequences and environmental impacts of the current growth path. The picture emerging from this densely argued treatise is bleak and harrowing—a picture of greed, inequality, suffering, and the reckless, irresponsible destruction of the planet’s resources.