Vikram-SethAre the big fat advances paid to authors a boon or a burden, asks Mandira Nair in The Week.

It has been a rather unsuitable thing to happen to A Suitable Girl, the much awaited sequel to Vikram Seth’s 1993 hit A Suitable Boy. Failing to meet the deadline, Seth was reportedly asked to return the $1.7 million advance his publisher Penguin Random House had paid him.

As the dust settles on the shock of Seth being asked to keep a deadline—it took him ten years to write his magnum opus—it brings to the fore a question that the publishing world has been asking for years: is a big fat advance (BFA) good or bad?

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