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.

Vikram-SethDisappointed at the Supreme Court’s ruling upholding Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), author Vikram Seth said political parties that favour this ruling should know that homophobia came into India and not homosexuality.

“There is no question about the fact that this ruling has pushed us backwards, and now you will be a criminal if you are open about it. Can you imagine the huge weight of this law of Indian Supreme Court, a revered institution?” Seth told IANS.

Vanitybagh“Vanity Bagh” by Anees Salim and “Foreign” by Sonora Jha are representative of works of many new writers who do not mind taking the risks involved in portraying Indian rural reality in English, writes K. Satchidanandan in the Frontline.

It has been some time since the subcontinental English fiction came of age and began to grapple with Indian history and reality with a confidence and an artistry one seldom comes across in its early practitioners. This new confidence that one first found in writers such as Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth and Amitav Ghosh marks many of the new writers who do not mind taking the risks involved in portraying Indian rural reality in English: the risk of exoticisation, of the work looking like an inadequate translation, of the difficulty in expressing in English the nuances of rustic life and speech. And, looking at the result, one can well say it has not been a vain adventure: we now have a corpus of such fiction that can legitimately claim to be as much Indian as fiction written in the languages whose losses in texture are compensated to a great extent by the intimate insight into the lives and minds of the men and women who people their ably painted landscapes.

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?