Leave a comment

Penguin celebrates its 30th year of publishing in India

Leading publisher Penguin completes 30 years in India and to commemorate its journey, Penguin said it will unveil ‘Penguin30’, a selection of India’s most brilliant and visionary writing in the English language published over the years.

penguin

Some of the thirty books include timeless classics like Kalidasa’s Kumarasambhavam and Nehru’s An Autobiography as well as much-loved fiction like Vikram Seth’s The Golden Gate, Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth among others. “The beauty of these titles lie not just in the text but the distinctive cover design done up in a sumptuous colour palette to brighten up any bookshelf, and which will be a delight to possess and recommend,” the press note said.

Started in 1985, Penguin is currently the largest English language trade publisher in the subcontinent. It ban publishing in 1987 with the first six books. The company publishes over 250 new titles every year and has an active backlist of 3000 titles.

The anniversary festivities will kick-start at the Jaipur Literature Festival with the Keep Reading campaign – an idea to promote reading anywhere, anytime, and provide a variety of reading content across genres to reading enthusiasts. Being introduced in India as part of Penguin’s Keep Reading initiative, the Pop-up Cart will be a hub of 30th anniversary activities throughout the year, starting with the Jaipur Literature Festival. The 30th anniversary logo will be unveiled at the festival.

The publisher will launch a whole new range of Penguin collectibles and quirky merchandise – bookends, tea coasters, magnets, passport holders, mugs, and bags among others.

To keep updated on the year-long events visit: www.penguin30.com

 

Advertisements


2 Comments

Book Review: The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable by Amitav Ghosh

By Rajat Chaudhuri

great-amitav

What did the Celt tell Alexander when Alexander asked him what it was that his people feared the most? The Celt had replied that they feared nothing, so long as the sky did not fall or the sea burst its limits. I remembered this anecdote from a book on druidry while reading The Great Derangement, a path-breaking work on climate change that sweeps across a vast landscape of scholarship, finally reaching out to chart new maps for understanding the greatest crisis that humanity faces today.

But we will return to our druid later. To structure this review, we will attempt to discuss the book in the same way that the author has organised his material in three sections: Stories, History and Politics.

The thrust of the first section is on the interface between culture (with a focus on literature) and climate change and how the former is ill-prepared to imaginatively engage with the improbabilities inherent in the latter. The scaffolding of the section on history is erected around the paradoxical relationship between colonialism and climate. Finally, the section on politics is essentially about presumptions in the philosophical concept of freedom and the rise of the “deep state”, which between them have impoverished the political and imaginative spheres, leading to their failure to grapple with the climate crisis.

Each section surveys existing scholarship and employs material and tools from various disciplines in advancing its theses, sharpening its insights, or lighting up facets of the problem, presenting us with a book which, because of this interdisciplinary approach, the clean, jargon-free language and the unwavering gaze of a master of the art of non-fiction (as much as he is of the novel), stands out in an ever-growing library of works on climate change.

“Stories”, the longest, and arguably the most fecund among the three sections, narrates the author’s experience of being caught in a freak storm in Delhi which sets him thinking about the improbability of the encounter and then about the difficulties that the imagination faces in engaging with unusual weather events and unthinkable occurrences that would become increasingly common with growing carbon emissions, global warming and climate change. From there he directs his attention to this failure of the artistic and literary imagination, this evasion which characterises the Great Derangement that he is talking about throughout this book. In his words:

What is it about climate change that the mention of it should lead to banishment from the preserves of serious fiction? And what does this tell us about culture writ large and its patterns of evasion?

In a substantially altered world, when sea-level rise has swallowed the Sundarbans and made cities such as Kolkata, New York and Bangkok uninhabitable, when readers and museum-goers turn to the art and literature of our time, will they not look, first and most urgently, for traces and portents of the altered world of their inheritance? And when they fail to find them, what can they do other than to conclude that ours was a time when most forms of art and literature were drawn into the modes of concealment that prevented people from recognising the realities of their plight? Quite possibly, then, this era, which so congratulates itself on its self-awareness, will come to be known as the time of the Great Derangement.”

Continue reading


Leave a comment

My mother influenced my writing: Kanishk Tharoor on his literary household, reading, football

By Vrushal Pendharkar

Kanishk Tharoor has been described by Amitav Ghosh as not only a gifted but an extraordinarily talented writer. His collection of short stories, Swimmer Among the Stars, was praised widely. He was an invited speaker at the recently concluded Bangalore Literary Festival. Painfully coherent and extremely passionate about his craft, on the sidelines of the festival, Kanishk took time off to discuss growing up in a famous literary household, the importance of reading and his love for football.

What was it like growing up in a literary household?

Because it is the only household I grew up in, it is sometimes difficult to describe. But certainly, in terms of my writing, my mother is a professor of literature and my father is a writer, so we had lots of books all over the house. In fact, I would suspect my parents would say books were their prized belongings. We didn’t particularly have expensive or fancy things in our house but tonnes of books. As a result, both my brother and I grew up with a sense that a worth life was one brimming with books and a sense that life should have books at its heart no matter what one does. We saw our parents discussing the books they were reading, wrestling with the books they were reading, so that sort of a thing leaves an impact. These sort of things has definitely shaped my imagination. It was my fortune to be raised by people who cared about writing and only supported my desire to do that. Read more

Source: First Post


Leave a comment

Is fiction on the decline? Non-fiction found more takers in 2016

The tastes of the reading public in India seem to growing beyond fiction. In what is being seen as a major evolution in the Indian publishing space, 2016 witnessed a fast and booming shift to memoirs and non-fiction while fiction titles were subdued not only in terms of their numbers but also popularity among readers. Industry insiders say this is a cumulative result of the nation’s changing reading patterns.

Opening the year with a surprise was Anything But Khamosh, the authorised biography of Bollywood icon and politician Shatrughan Sinha, by Bharati Pradhan.

The book, which was launched at the Jaipur Lit Fest towards the end of January, went on to attract readers from all age groups and even the “Bihari Babu” left no stone unturned in its promotions, retracing the many “hurrahs and heartaches” of his life at promotional events. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times


Leave a comment

The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Jayanthi Sankar

By Aminah Sheikh

jayanthi.jpgLet’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

As is the case with most of us, constant inner exploration with strings and strings of questions ushers me towards the world of fiction, I suppose. And that subsequently widens my imagination more and more.

Fiction always fascinates me, both to read and to write. For me, it is like living one life in reality but tens of thousands in the fictional space.

I write for the creative experience itself more than the politics in, out of and behind the issues although I do appreciate and enjoy them all while reading others’ works. I’ve found myself narrating mostly with an anthropological approach but the characterization and dialogues in my fiction certainly don’t shy away from the political side of the issue. I let them be as political as required. So, naturally I’ve never believed in creating an ideal world through fiction nor have I ever tried to give any solutions to the issue. The characters take my stories forward. This could be one of the reasons for readers and critics’ ‘author is absent in the narration’ experience and comments.

Like I always say it is the creative experience that I always long for that has been helping me evolve spiritually, the person that I am and will be. It’s one of the important byproducts of my reading and writing fiction for twenty two years.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

With only two or three stories left to be written, ‘Dangling Gandhi and other short stories’ in English, is forming decently well. Although few of them talk of the contemporary issues in Singapore, some of the important stories transcend beyond eras and geographies. Thus the weaves, I hope, would subtly raise many intricate questions on several social issues of not just the modern multicultural societies and human migrations in this shrunken world, but also of the colonial India, Malaya and Singapore.

Zafar Anjum, the publisher cum writer with such a beautiful theme of ‘empowering and connecting Asian readers and writers, everywhere’, has been gracious to have launched ‘Horizon Afar and other Tamil short stories’ of mine, the second of its kind, at SILF16 at Kishanganj. How well he knows about the role of translation in filling the gaps and also in cultural sharing. I owe it very much also to the earnest and enthusiastic translator and writer P.Muralidharan of Chennai, and the editor of the book for her help in improving the text.

It may sound too ambitious or a little pre mature to say I wish to write a novel based on my transit experience at Delhi amidst the first week of demonetization woes, the SILF16 (Seemanchal International Literary Festival 2016), the town of Kishanganj, Bagdogra, Darjeeling but I hope some creative magic really happens.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Jessica Faleiro

By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

jessica-faleiro-pix

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

To do otherwise would be to deny an integral part of myself. I write because I must, because of my addiction to the feel of an ink pen between my fingers scribbling word-code onto one blank page after another. To me, writing is an aesthetic pleasure that sets every fibre of my being into vibration, when I’m actually doing it. The other reason I write is to be able to make sense of my own thoughts and feelings, and creatively express them onto the page or screen. Sometimes, just the writing process is a form of catharsis for me, even though my scribbles make no sense.

Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My last book, Afterlife: Ghost stories from Goa, published by Rupa (2012) is a novel that follows the lives of X generations within a Goan family. At a get-together to celebrate the patriarch’s 75th birthday, there is a powercut that leads organically to the family swapping ghost-stories. Through the process or sharing oral histories, the family history and some secrets are revealed. The structure became an important part of telling the story of the family; I used a frame narrative device to interlink the individual stories. It’s more of a commentary about the social mores of South Goan society, diasporic culture and religious aspects among other things. My intention was to create a story that wasn’t just about ‘ghosts’ but about the things that haunt us emotionally and psychologically.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

Excavating words to reveal complex layers of emotion. At least, that’s the aspiration!

Continue reading


Leave a comment

India: Amitav Ghosh to get Lifetime Achievement Award 2016, in Tata Literature Live!

Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh

Acclaimed Indian-American fiction author Amitav Ghosh has been named for this year’s Tata Literature Live! Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Indian literary space, an official said on Tuesday. The award will be presented to him at the upcoming four-day Tata Literature Live! annual awards ceremony scheduled for November 20 in Mumbai. “I am deeply honoured to be receiving this award… It’s a privilege to be included in a list of such distinguished honorees,” the 60-year-old Ghosh reacted. Some of the past recipients have been Kiran Nagarkar, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Khushwant Singh, V.S. Naipaul and Mahasweta Devi.

Among the most celebrated writers in India, Ghosh has a universal following and is famed for the meticulous historical research that is woven into his writings. Honoured with Padma Shri in 2007, Ghosh’s some best known books, many of them award-winners, are ‘Ibis Trilogy – Sea of Poppies’, ‘River of Smoke’ and ‘Flood of Fire’, preceded by ‘The Circle of Reason’ and ‘The Shadow Lines’, which won the Sahitya Akademi Award. Other books penned by him include ‘The Calcutta Chromosome’, ‘The Glass Place’, ‘The Hungry Tide’, ‘In An Antique Land’, ‘Dancing in Cambodia’, ‘At Large in Burma’, ‘The Imam and The Indian’, and the latest ‘The Great Derangement: Climate Change and The Unthinkable’. Read more


Leave a comment

Tata Lit Fest: Writers, thinkers and the spirit of debate in Mumbai

Come November, over 130 celebrated writers and thinkers from some 30 countries will converge at Mumbai’s biggest international literary festival, Tata Literature Live!

The illustrious first line-up for the seventh edition of the festival includes names like Amitav Ghosh, the Indian novelist who has examined the perils of ignoring climate change in his new book, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable; Nicholas Shakespeare, literary critic and descendant of William Shakespeare; John Gray, political philosopher and author of False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism; Ramachandra Guha, Indian historian and Padma Bhushan recipient; and Simon Armitage, the sardonically witty British poet, famous for the dramatisation of the Greek epic, The Odyssey.

“A literary festival in what is probably the world’s most vibrant city is sure to be hugely exciting. I very much look forward to it. I’ve had some memorable conversations in Mumbai. I’m looking forward to more,” said Amitav Ghosh about the festival which is set to sweep the city of Mumbai from 17-20 November. Read more


Leave a comment

Tata Literature Live festival: Talks, performances to feast on from November 17

Over 130 writers and thinkers like John Gray, Amitav Ghosh, Simon Armitage and former finance minister, P Chidambaram will be a part of the seventh edition of the Tata Literature Live! festival from November 17-20.

The festival will be held at two venues — the NCPA and Prithvi Theatre. Those listed for this edition include Nicholas Shakespeare, literary critic and descendant of William Shakespeare; John Gray, political philosopher and author of False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism; Ramachandra Guha, Indian historian and Padma Bhushan recipient; Simon Armitage, the sardonically witty British poet, famous for the dramatisation of the Greek epic poem The Odyssey; former minister and writer, Jairam Ramesh, Girish Karnad, Keki Daruwalla, Kiran Nagarkar and Jayant Narlikar, besides Gulzar and Karan Johar. Read more


1 Comment

Review of Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement: Climate change and the Unthinkable

By Imteyaz Alam

amitav-ghosh

The Great Derangement: Climate change and the Unthinkable (Penguin Books, India) by Amitav Ghosh encompasses the stories, history and politics of climate change in a single volume. The deftness of storytelling employed by one of the giants of fiction writing of our time is on full display in this remarkable book on the imminent crisis that Planet Earth is facing today. Amitav Ghosh, the celebrated author expiates or in other word introspects on behalf of fellow writers by writing this extraordinary piece of non-fiction. Why does the master storyteller resort to non-fiction? The answer comes from the author himself: “Yet, it is a striking fact that when novelists do chose to write about climate change it is always outside of fiction.”

The author rues elsewhere in the book: “If certain literary forms are unable to negotiate these torrents, then they will have failed—and their failure will have to be counted as an aspect of broader imaginative and cultural failure that lies at the heart of climate crisis.”

This era of collective failure of art and literature in negotiating with this existential threat will then come to be known by the future generation as the time of The Great Derangement, the author imagines. The book highlights the failure of collective imagination and lack of sense of urgency though the impact of climate change impact is visible all around us: “That climate change casts a much smaller shadow within the landscape of literary fiction than it does even in the public arena is not hard to establish.” Continue reading