At 18, the Babu had a poem accepted by the college magazine; at 18, the Babu’s partner was peddling Bengali porn to the partner’s fellow students. No one offered either of us four hundred thousand pounds for our literary efforts. Damn.

The Curse of the Well-Read Spammer: The Babu has little compunction about deleting, unread, emails from Mr Obasanjo headed “This Might Interest You”; missives from GloriousGoth titled “hurree, teenage asian nymphets do donkeys”; or letters plangently titled “can u a4ord 2 bmws?”. But he would have almost certainly opened a document titled “procurator of judea”. The base uses to which we put Bulgakov these days, alas.

New Deals We Hoped We’d Never Have To See: “Deepak Chopra’s daughter and mother of a two-year-old daughter Mallika Chopra’s first book ONE HUNDRED PROMISES TO MY BABY, about how she created promises to her child based on the traditions, beliefs, and values she was raised with, and helping pregnant mothers and new parents to do the same, to Heather Jackson at Rodale, at auction, for publication in early 2005, by Linda Loewenthal at the David Black Literary Agency (NA).” Every single book I’ve ever read by the Clan Chopra (his son wrote a truly dire New Age fiction thingummy once) has made me want to puke: and I’m not even pregnant.

And Comparisons We Hoped We’d Never Have To Hear:Rabindranath Maharaj’s A PERFECT PLEDGE, called “reminiscent of Rohinton Mistry and V.S. Naipaul,” (The Babu: Wot, no Vikram Seth while we’re at it?) an epic about a stubborn Trinidadian cane farmer whose dreams and battles against the corruption and smallmindedness around him wreak havoc in his family and ultimately have tragic consequences, to Ayesha Pande at Farrar, Straus, by Hilary McMahon at Westwood Creative Artists (US).” (Both items from Publisher’s Lunch.)

Trustee to writers: I want your cheques. (Via ArtsJournal.)

Andree Seu on the infallible omniscience of writers: “Writers want you to think they wrote the whole thing in one sitting, an effect they achieve after about 12 drafts. Writers know that people are impressed by foreign words, and that a phrase like humanum est errare (which I just found at the back of my Merriam Webster’s Collegiate) lends magisterium to any sentence it’s in, even though you could have simply said ‘to err is human’.”

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