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Why Jhumpa Lahiri writing on book jackets is bad news for the writer and the reader

By Utpal Kumar

clothingJhumpa Lahiri’s latest book, The Clothing of Books, is all about book covers. Advocating what she calls “the naked book”, the Pulitzer winner emphasises that “the dressed book no longer belongs to me”.

She writes, “Today the relationship between the reader and book is far more mediated, with a dozen people buzzing around. We are never alone together, the text and I. I miss the silence, the mystery of the naked book: solitary, without support.”

A closer look shows the preference for a naked book also marks the transition of the author.

Lahiri thinks she isn’t just another writer now. She seems to have graduated to the league of extraordinary authors who doesn’t need any introduction. The very things that would fascinate a budding writer now, annoy her boundless. Read more

Source: DailyO


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Can Rushdie and Roy save the novel in the age of Trump and Modi?

By Angshukanta Chakraborty

2017 comes bearing gifts.

At a time when the United States stands “unpresidented” and Donald Trump is unable to string a simple sentence together without committing grave factual or lexical errors, we have the return of Arundhati Roy, the novelist, and Salman Rushdie, with his grand American book about a family of Indian immigrants.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Roy and The Golden House by Rushdie are easily the most anticipated works of literary fiction to be published this year. This, at a time when literature itself is at its most disavowed, when language, under the barrage of social media, is increasingly failing to convey the shifts and churns posed by technology and politics, and the past is coagulating into imagined purity that prescribes exclusionism as the cure – is a source of hope. Read more

Source: DailyO


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Emirati Ipaf nominee Sultan Al Ameemi talks about his love of words

By Rym Ghazal

‘In a small room in an unknown place, there is someone peeping through a keyhole, watching furtively the other person in an adjacent room…”

This is how the Arabic language novel Ghurfa Waheda La Takfi (One Room is Not Enough) begins, by the Emirati writer and researcher Sultan Al Ameemi. It has been nominated for the 10th edition of the prestigious International Prize for Arabic Fiction (Ipaf), with 15 competing novels from nine other countries.

Ghurfa Waheda La Takfi is an unusual novel, full of mystery, suspense and a philosophical narrative. It is also written in simple, engaging Arabic, peppered with a creative play on words – reflective of the author’s poetic background.

His novel provokes an engaged curiosity from the outset: who is the person trapped in a room watching someone else; a doppelgänger in yet another room. And who is really telling the story with its multiple narrators?

Al Ameemi, 43, is a poet and writer, as well as a researcher of local dialects, and the director of the Poetry Academy in Abu Dhabi. He has written 20 books, mostly on UAE poetry and poets, as well as three collections of short stories and a novel P.O. Box 1003 (2014). Al Ameemi is also a judge on the Abu Dhabi TV and Million’s Poet Channel Million’s Poet show.

Tell us about Ghurfa Waheda La Takfi (One Room is Not Enough), the first Emirati novel longlisted for the 10th edition of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction? Why did you write it?

I have been thinking about this concept of “talasus”, peeking or peeping into other people’s lives, for a long time. Our life revolves around talking about others, watching others and checking out people’s lives, through social media and gossip. We are curious and check people’s accounts to see what they have been up to and what did we miss out on. It is almost like an obsession, and so I started writing the book with this premise. Read more
Source: The National


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Buy local campaign aims to boost S’pore literary scene

By Reena Devi Shanmuga Retnam

Singapore writers have been clinching book deals and winning awards overseas. But on our own shores, publishers and bookstore owners say that more needs be done so that the works of writers here are more visible, and thus better appreciated.

To that end, more than 30 publishers, booksellers, distributors and non-profit entities here have come together to organise the inaugural #BuySingLit campaign with the aim of promoting local literature. The campaign — with the catchphrase “Buy Local, Read Our World” — is on from Feb 24 to 26, and hopes to encourage more Singapore residents to pick up and buy books by local writers. Read more

Source: Today Online


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Meet Kanishka Gupta, a top deal maker in the Indian publishing world

By Ritu Goyal

In the Indian publishing world today, there is no dearth of anomalies. Non-writers become successful authors, real authors struggle to eke a living out of their books, and marketing is truly King.

It should therefore come as no surprise that one of the most successful literary agents in the Indian publishing industry is a self-confessed anomaly in the field.

Delhi-born Kanishka Gupta, 30-something and wannabe writer who runs Writer’s Side (WS) -an agency that has over 500 titles to its credit in the six years of its existence- has no prior background, or ‘pedigree’, as he likes to call it, in publishing.

Yet, according to Publishers Marketplace rankings, Kanishka is currently the biggest individual deal-maker in the world for English books. He is also the youngest agent in the subcontinent. Read more

Source: The News Minute


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Heading to JLF 2017? Writers and poets pick sessions you must attend

By Aruveetil Mariyam Alavi and Supriya Sharma

Five days of literature. The most read authors and poets. The most fascinating discussions. Indian literature’s mammoth mela, the Jaipur Literature Festival, is never short of excitement. The festival, which will run from January 19 to January 23 this year, creates a problem of plenty for its eager visitors: there is too much to do, too many authors to hear, too many discussions to attend.

So before you make your must-attend-at-JLF lists, take a look at what authors, poets and other participants are looking forward to the most this year.

Namita Gokhale is one of the forces that has kept the Jaipur Literature Festival running smoothly over the years. As a writer and publisher, who is also one of the founder directors of JLF, she has some fond memories of the festival over the years.

“So many memories, layered and imprinted in my mind and heart. The keynote addresses from some of the greatest Indian writers, including Mahasweta Devi, UR Ananthamurthy, Girish Karnad, Nayantara Sahgal and so many others. The years when it rained and poured and the festival just continued calmly despite the mud and sludge. Gloria Steinem drinking chai in a kulhad, listening in to the front lawn sessions. Margaret Atwood and her sparkling mind,” she remembers. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times


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Publishers say 2017 World Book Fair a profitable affair

As the New Delhi World Book Fair comes to a close today, the nine-day long event was an “excellent” experience with leading publishing houses making significant profit on sales compared to previous years. Vimal Kumar, General Manager at Speaking Tiger said they had “unexpected sales”, despite facing several technical glitches in the aftermath of demonetisation.

“Due to demonetisation we faced several problems since many a times card machines didn’t work due to lack of signals. But, it has been an excellent experience, rather unexpected sales for Speaking Tiger. Our sales have almost doubled this year,” he said.

Some of the top sellers at the stall included ‘Himalaya: Adventures, Meditations, Life’ edited by Ruskin Bond and Namita Gokhale, and ‘Murderer in Mahim’ by Jerry Pinto among others.

For Penguin India, which saw a hike of nearly 20 per cent in business from last year’s fair, the event being moved ahead by a month from the usual February, has worked favourably. Read more

Source: The Financial Express


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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.

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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

 


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Foreign language books big crowd-pullers at book fair in Delhi

With over 20 countries participating in the ongoing New Delhi World Book Fair, foreign publishers are offering a diverse collection of books, but it is the language learning guides that are attracting heavy footfall.

Available for several foreign languages like French, German, and Persian among others, the books cater to all levels of learning – from picture books for beginners to novels for veterans.

According to Ishjot, who is managing the stall for German Book Office, majority of their customers comprise of parents who want their children to start learning German from an early age.

Books on illustrations and short stories for beginners, priced at nominal prices, are selling like hot cakes, she said.

“People are buying picture books and story books in large numbers, since they cost hardly Rs 150 each. So, parents who want their children to learn the language are readily buying the books. Those who are already learning German, are asking for more detailed books on the language’s grammar,” she says.

Books at the stall also include a collection of classics by famous German author Daniel Kehlmann, along with English translations of popular German literature. Read more

Source: Business Standard 


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China: 2016 works worth reading

By Mei Jia

The Paper Republic website, which promotes contemporary Chinese writing to the English-language world, has just put out its latest list. Now in its fifth year, the list offers readers a wide range of choices. “This year’s list is longer than ever, and several books have won international prizes,” says Nicky Harman, a UK-based prize-winning literary translator, who prepared the list. At a glance, there are names of writers of fiction, sci-fi writers, online works, poetry and children’s literature, all translated and published in English in 2016. Read more

Source: China Daily