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BBC to adapt Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy as its first period drama with a non-white cast

By Anita Singh

The BBC is to screen its first period drama featuring an entirely non-white cast after securing the rights to A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth’s sprawling novel set in post-colonial India.

The book will be adapted into a lavish eight-part series with a script from Andrew Davies, the screenwriter whose hits include the famous 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and last year’s adaptation of War and Peace. Read more

Source: The Telegraph


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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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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!

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The Lounge Chair Interview: 10 Questions with Rosemarie Somaiah

By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

Rosemarie Somiah PixLet’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

I started writing because someone was willing to pay me to do so. Otherwise I doubt I would’ve had the courage. Most of my first published works were commissioned and some of it ended up in performance. I still get paid, or invited, to write, and I use every such opportunity to say what I really need to say; to share a little of what’s banging and knocking around inside of me – all these questions that won’t go away. It’s still very, very scary, every single time.

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

I usually have a few things going on at a time, because letting it sit at the back of my head is part of my writing process. Right now there are three active projects: I am working on ‘The Never Mind Girl 2’ because there are still many questions that I need to ask there. Then, there is a children’s picture book that is somewhat dark but important, because it is very real. I’m hoping that the right illustrator will turn up. I am also very excited to be working with several people, including a very talented young musician, on a performance piece of poetry. It astonishes and delights me when I retell other people’s stories on their behalf and they seem happy with it and feel it represents them accurately. Especially as I reshape and tell it from my perspective. Continue reading


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A hundred essential books: Outlook India

1984
George Orwell
1949; Pages: 267

The novel that made ‘Orwellian’ synonymous with oppressive regimes that use surveillance to control its citizens, it had a great opening line: “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” The dystopian novel features Win­ston Smith, an emp­loyee of the Ministry of Truth. His doubts lead him to secretly begin a critique of the Party. He also falls in love with Julia, a co-wor­ker, and in an eerie twist they have to betray each other to survive. Smith is re-educated to be filled with unsurpassable love for Big Brother, the supreme leader.


A History Of The World In 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
2010; Pages: 707

A simple idea—to tell the history of the world through the artefacts and objects collected in the British Museum—touched by the genius of its director Neil MacGregor. It started as a radio series for the BBC, which was later turned into a book. So, for instance, object 33 is a slab from the Ashoka Pillar, 68 is the Shiva and Parvati sculpture and 82 is the miniature of a Mughal prince, telling the history of India in these periods.


A Suitable Boy
Vikram Seth
1993; Pages: 1349

If Rushdie served up a dense, rich, fantasy-laden tale of modern India, Seth aspired to Tolstoyan simplicity and insight. Mrs Rupa Mehta’s quest for a husband for her daughter Lata spirals into a 1,500-page-long perambulation among four large Indian families, and plunges boldly into the political, social and economic life of newly-independent India. In this, it captures the zeitgeist in unusual depth and colour.


A Time To Be Happy
Nayantara Sehgal
1958; Pages: 292

In this book about an elite family in the newly independent India by Nayantara Sehgal, nothing really happens. It’s all about atmosphere and mood. But it captures the time so vividly, full of rich details, it remains undated. Sehgal is a prolific writer, her other books and essays may be more serious but this novel by a woman writing in Eng­lish, one of the very few in the ’50s-60s to do so, captures the social mil­ieu, especially women’s place in an urbane setting.

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Greatest Indian Novels: Amitava Kumar’s list

Amitava_KumarUS-based Indian writer Amitava Kumar says, “This is an inadequate list. I wish I had read more of Indian literature in translation. UR Ananthamurthy’s Samskara surely deserves to be on that list, as does OV Vijayan’s The Legends of Khasak. Or a novel by the great Bengali writer Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay.

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India: Poets as neighbours

Adil Jussawalla’s essays and entertainments sparkle with a poet’s insight and an editor’s sweep of knowledge: The Hindu

adil.jussawalaThe journalistic obsession with international reputations and publishers’ advances has produced a top-heavy history of India’s literature in English. Such well-remunerated figures as Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth and Arundhati Roy are in fact exceptions. Once we get away from the bestsellers and prize-winners, Indian English literature turns out to be an embattled, minority literature. It relies for its survival on a small number of publishers and its most original writers are constantly in danger of being forgotten. Continue reading


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Scope of translating Indian languages huge: German publisher

Vikram-SethAlthough Indian writers in English like Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth and Salman Rushdie are read widely in Germany, there is great possibility of translating regional languages into German, says a visiting publisher.  Continue reading


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Publishing: “India Will Become a Dumping Ground for American Literature”

Indo-Asian News Service reports that David Godwin, the British literary agent who over the course of his career has represented every Indian winner of the Booker Prize (with the exception of Salman Rushdie), predicted that India would soon become the “dumping ground” for American literature, and that small publishers would be “pushed out” by monolithic publishing houses. (His list of clients includes Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, Aravind Adiga, Kiran Desai, William Dalrymple, and Jeet Thayil.)

Godwin added that the situation would only “get worse” as big publishers become more and more of a major force in the industry.

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India: Patna literature festival from February 14

The second three-day Patna Literature Festival (PLF) will begin here from 14 February to host more than forty authors, cultural activists, historians, journalists, artists and cinema personalities including Gulzar , Vikram Seth, Pavan K Varma, Pushpesh Pant, Ashok Vajpayee and Leila Seth. Continue reading