Tag Archives: Pan Macmillan

Aruna Chakravarti converses on  Tagore Women, Jorasanko, Patriarchal Values and More…

By Mitali Chakravarty

Aruna pic

A versatile woman of arts and letters, acclaimed and celebrated, Aruna Chakravarti’s writing has been acknowledged by awards like Vaitalik Award, Sahitya Akademi  Award and Sarat Puraskar. Chakravarti talks of interactions with greats like writer Sunil Gangopadhyay and actress Sharmila Tagore to discuss her books and translations in festivals. Her books are often a protest against social ills which linger beyond the past. Her first novel  The Inheritors ( 2004, Penguin)  was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and her third, Jorasanko ( 2013, Harper Collins) received critical acclaim and also became a best seller. Daughters of Jorasanko ( 2016), a sequel to Jorasanko, has sold widely and received rave reviews.  Her translated works include an anthology of songs from Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitabitaan, Saratchandra Chattopadhyay’s Srikanta (which won her the Sahitya Akademi Award) and Sunil Gangopadhyay’s Those days, First Light and Primal Woman: Stories. Chakravarti was the  Principal of a prestigious women’s college of Delhi University for ten years. She is an academic, creative writer and translator with fourteen published books — three novels, one book of short stories, two academic works and eight translations.

22fa274f-4a0d-4c09-8935-35685fae7e7eChakravarti’s latest work, a novel titled Suralakshmi Villa, published by Pan Macmillan this year, will be her fifteenth book. The launch scheduled for 25th February, 2020, in Delhi’s  India International Centre will have a panel discussion on the book by eminent academics for half-an-hour followed by a multi-media presentation of an excerpt from the book created by the author herself. In this exclusive, Chakravarti talks of why and how she writes and more.

 

Since when have you been writing? What inspires you to write?

I used to write prolifically as a child. Poems and stories would pour out of me in a joyous, unthinking stream and I loved the feeling it gave me.

Things changed when, after joining the English Honours course in college, I was introduced to the academics of literature, taught the principles of criticism and how to distinguish good writing from mediocre. I became disillusioned with my work. I found it wanting on so many counts.  I felt I was useless as a writer. Self- criticism is good but, in my case, it verged to the point of negativity.

I stopped writing altogether.

There was a gap of twenty-five years before I picked up the courage to write again.

To answer the second part of your question my juvenilia reflected whatever I was reading at the time, mostly poems and stories written by English writers, and was hugely imitative. But my adult work is derived directly from living experience. It is from the world around me that I draw inspiration. Read more

Book Review: The Party Worker by Omar Shahid Hamid

By Imteyaz Alam

The Party Worker

Title: The Party Worker
Author: Omar Shahid Hamid
Publisher: Pan Macmillan India
Pages: 336
Price: Rs 399

 

When a cop writes fiction depicting the unholy nexus of crime, politics and religion, the line between fiction and fact is bound to get blurred. The Party Worker by Omar Shahid Hamid is a realistic crime thriller.

Omar Shahid Hamid, son of a slain bureaucrat is currently SSP Intelligence of counter Terrorism Department in Karachi. He studied at London School of Economics and University College London.

After his father was murdered in cold blood, Hamid joined the Karachi Police as an officer, witnessed the crime world from close quarters, survived Taliban’s attack on his office, took a sabbatical and decided to write. Omar produced three bestsellers one after the other; each overshadowing the previous ones. The Prisoner is based on the killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl; the second novel, The Spinner’s Tail is on the root of terrorism within Pakistani society and the third one The Party Worker is on the crime and politics of Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi.

The Party Worker is rich in diversity of characters and is multi-layered. The story covers the underworld, businessmen, journalists, police, intelligence agencies, politicians, mullahs. There are Shias, Sunnis, Parsi, Baloch, Taliban, fighting and colluding. Omar has skillfully woven the diverse characters together and conjured up a brilliant story. The world of crime gets murkier due to the diversity of groups involved. The writer lays bare the dark underbelly of the city where children are shown playing with human skulls. The bullet may come from a lifelong friend and the enemy can ambush anytime and anywhere. Betrayal is punished with death wiping out the entire family. There is entry to the crime world without any exit. As the author is a serving police officer, his portrayal of characters and the narration of crime story is realistic. The author’s command over the colloquial is remarkable. The language and diction of cops of New York markedly differ from that of characters from Karachi. The author’s familiarity with Karachi is quite evident in the story and the depiction of places.

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New Release: Mrs C Remembers by Himanjali Sankar

mrs cThis June Pan Macmillan India will release Himanjali Sankar’s Mrs C Remembers, a piercing exploration of the limits of submission, of illness and upheaval and the unfathomable powers of the human mind.

Mrs Anita Chatterjee, wife to one of Kolkata’s most successful men, has lived a bustling life managing her husband’s large household and mingling regularly with the rich and powerful. Now, after forty years of a life of unquestioned compliance, the only thing she can do is try to forget.

Her daughter, Sohini, is an artist living in Delhi with an unconventional partner. As Mrs C begins to engage with their ideas, she finds she can no longer ignore the tumultuous world outside. Soon she is diagnosed with a formidable medical condition, one that will allow her to let down her guard and come into her own.

About the Author:

Himanjali Sankar grew up in Kolkata. She studied English Literature at JNU, New Delhi and taught English at the University of Indianapolis in the US. She has worked with various publishing houses and is currently an editor with Bloomsbury India. Two of her books, The Stupendous Time telling Superdog and Talking of Muskaan, were shortlisted for the Crossword Award for Children’s Literature. Mrs C Remembers is her first novel for adults.

Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin has been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017

fever dreamFever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, published by Pan Macmillan India, has been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2017.

Experience the blazing, surreal sensation of a fever dream…A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She’s not his mother. He’s not her child.

The two seem anxious and, at David’s ever more insistent prompting, Amanda recounts a series of events from the apparently recent past. As David pushes her to recall whatever trauma has landed her in her terminal state, he unwittingly opens a chest of horrors, and suddenly the terrifying nature of their reality is brought into shocking focus.

One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange and deeply unsettling psychological menace in this cautionary tale of maternal love, broken souls and the power and desperation of family.

Samanta Schweblin is the author of three story collections that have won numerous awards, including the prestigious Juan Rulfo Story Prize, and been translated into 20 languages. Fever Dream is her first novel. Originally from Buenos Aires, she lives in Berlin.

 

Book Review: A futile hope of ‘normal’ politics in the Middle East?

Title: Islamic Exceptionalism – How the Struggle Over Islam Is Reshaping The World; Author: Shadi Hamid; Publisher: St Martin’s Press/Pan Macmillan; Pages: 321; Price: Rs 499

The “Arab Spring” in 2011 was believed to be a turning point for the Middle East with the fractious and turbulent region set to embrace Western-style liberal democracy, as per Fukuyama’s “end of history” theory. But half a dozen years later, all these hopes are in disarray while the unpredicted rise of the vicious IS has further queered the pitch.

Is the turmoil of the recent years a temporary phase, or does it indicate some more systematic differences in the Arab world’s dynamics? Like it or not, it is the second option that is correct, says scholar Shadi Hamid and goes on to argue his case why the western concept of liberal, secular democracy may not strike roots in the region. (And his findings may have a closer relevance to India than seems evident.) Read more

Source: Business Standard

Excerpts: The Party Worker by Omar Shahid Hamid

The Party WorkerThe batsman at the other end, your captain, says something to you but it doesn’t register. It doesn’t matter, it can only be some inane observation. The bowler returns to the top of his mark, licking his fingers and massaging the red ball. Here he comes again. Watch the ball. It’s tossed up. Move forward, bring the bat in a full arc and connect. There, it is now a red dot hurtling through the sky, over the bowler’s head, out of the ground for a six. The perfect shot. Suddenly, the heat doesn’t matter. Your captain’s prattling doesn’t matter. The bowler’s prior performance doesn’t matter. Your name is Asad Haider, you are nineteen years old and you are the best batsman in the world. That is all that matters.

‘That Asad Haider is the best batsman in Nishtar Park.’ ‘Arre choro yaar. That boy can only play on these dead pitches. Besides, he’s a bloody charsi. Always high as a kite. No proper coaching either. He wouldn’t survive five minutes on a real turf wicket.’

‘Still, I’ve never seen anyone with such a natural eye. And just look at the grace in his shots. And the pitch isn’t easy. The old concrete slab is falling apart. It’s not easy to maintain your technique on that surface.’

‘Arre, who ever heard of a six-foot-four-inch opening batsman. All the great batsmen were short men. Gavaskar, Bradman, Miandad. That’s what makes them compact players. This boy should have been a fast bowler with his height. But saala lazy hai. He doesn’t want to work hard. Just wants to bat and smoke charas.’

A third voice pipes up. ‘He’s nothing more than a khatmal goonda. Goes around the area with his little band of khatmals, shutting down shops and threatening the traders every time the Fiqah-e-Jaaferia decide to call a bandh.’

‘Saale badmaash khatmal thugs. Such are the times we live in, that every time something happens to one of them anywhere in the city, these pups who’ve barely started shaving start bossing around respectable people. At least, we didn’t have this kind of thing when Bhutto was still alive.’

‘Bhutto was a Shia too. He didn’t do anything to restrain them.’ ‘Yes, but all this started when Zia put his hand on the mullahs. Then this lot started acting up.’

‘It was the bloody revolution in Iran. That’s when things started going bad. Besides, these fellows have the biggest mullah. That fellow Khomeini.’

‘Don’t you dare blaspheme against the Imam! We will tolerate a lot of your rubbish but we will not accept any insult against the Imam. And you better be careful. Half of us living around Nishtar Park are Shia.’

Aleem Siddiqui walks into the small makeshift pavilion that has been set up under a bright red shamiana at the very moment that the cricketing debate turns into a sectarian confrontation. His trademark polyester shirt is plastered to his back and two huge sweat stains expand like ink blots under his armpits. It is not just the heat that makes Aleem sweat. It is fear as well.

Getting between the two offensive debaters, he ensures that neither will be able to deck the other. ‘Excuse me, sirji, I am very sorry but can someone please point me to where Asad Haider is? Has he left the ground already?’

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The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Omar Shahid Hamid

By Aminah Sheikh

omar

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

I find it cathartic.

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

I don’t usually have a complex motive behind my books, I try and write what I think are interesting stories.

Describe your writing aesthetic.

Don’t know what that would be.

Who are your favorite authors?

Robert Harris and John Le Carre.

What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.

My second book, The Spinner’s Tale, was the most challenging because I tried to put myself in the head of a jihadist, who was a sociopath. It took me to some very dark places.

What’s your idea of bliss?

Sitting on a beach writing my next book

What makes you angry, and I mean all-out-smash-the-china raving mad?

People who believe they are above the law.

What books would you take with you on a three-month retreat in the boondocks?

My tastes in books are quite diverse and prone to changing with my mood, so I’d take my entire library.

Your house is burning down. What’s the most important thing you’d want to take with you? 

Probably my laptop with my latest manuscript on it.

Describe your life philosophy. In a sentence.  

Seize the moment because you never know if another one will come.

 

Biography:

Omar Shahid Hamid has been a police officer in Pakistan for sixteen years and is a senior member of the Karachi Police’s Counter Terrorism Department. In 2011, following an attack on his offices by the Pakistani Taliban, he took a five-year sabbatical to write books and worked as a political risk consultant. He has been widely quoted and regularly featured in major news outlets like The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, Le Monde, DW, Bloomberg, Reuters, CNN, BBC, France24, Radio France and NPR. His first novel, The Prisoner (2013), was longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 and is now being adapted for a feature film. His second novel is The Spinner’s Tale (2015). In 2016, Omar returned to active duty as a Counter Terrorism Officer. The Party Worker (2017) published by Pan Macmillan is his latest novel.

 

Aminah Sheikh is the Online Editor of Kitaab

Pallavi Narayan joins Kitaab as Fiction Editor (Asia)

PallaviKitaab is delighted to announce that Pallavi Narayan has joined its editorial team as Fiction Editor (Asia).

Pallavi Narayan is an editorial and communications consultant based in Singapore. She has been an editor with Penguin Random House, Pan Macmillan, and Taylor & Francis Books in New Delhi. A doctoral candidate of literature at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, she has been a guest lecturer for the Communications Skills course at her university. Her research interests are in the city and architecture, and their interaction with fiction. She has presented her research at international conferences and has forthcoming papers in edited volumes. Her poetry, articles and reviews have been published in Dilli: An Anthology of Women Poets of Delhi (Poets Printery, 2014), New Quest, Literary ParitantraIndia International Centre DiaryThe Times of India and The Statesman.