Say it Louder, Ms Desai

“So much is being written in India now, every mail brings me manuscripts to look at by Indian authors. It has suddenly become a craze. It’s not much to do with writing, it’s to do with celebrity culture. Because a few like Rushdie and Arundhati Roy have become celebrities, it’s encouraged others to try writing.”

–Anita Desai, speaking at the Edinburgh festival.





6 responses to “Say it Louder, Ms Desai”

  1. putu Avatar

    …and if lots of Indians are writing, its a bad thing? That’s really sweet, and helpful too.

  2. zigzackly Avatar

    See discussion at Caferati on this (i had posted that quote to a Ryze message board). Join in?

  3. putu Avatar

    Actually, was just looking at a manuscript i got via mail by an Indian author…which I sincerely hope was more about the author thinking she should be a celebrity more than the author thinking she could write. unless the yoda meets shobhaa de style was intentional. So long live Anita Desai, and people who have a problem with what she says should be forcefed slushpile manuscripts.NOT that Im saying slushpile manuscripts shouldnt be read by EDITORS, whose JOB it is. but leave ms. desai alone to write, say i.

  4. zigzackly Avatar

    And now there’s a fine mist of coffee all over the screen and keyboard. Yoda meets De. Mmph. Priceless.

  5. Max Babi Avatar

    Though I have always enjoyed Ms. Desai’s writing for years, I wish to differ with this eeriely authoritarian pronouncement on Indian writers who write in English. To say that it is just for aiming at celebrity culture is a misconception cooked up by her, almost like saying that every driver of an automobile aims at hitting a pedestrian, trying to emulate Michael Schumaker. Immediately after Rathore winning the Olympics silver medal, half a billion rifles should have been sold. It did not happen. Such a feeling had put me off reading all manner of new writers from India, however for the last decade I have discovered a good many highly talented writers who got published. This elitist look at what should be an egalitarian exercise, is like a kick in the butt for all writers, totally uncalled for. Bollywood didn’t end with Dilip Kumar and Madhubala, did it ?Say what, fellow travelers on the road to stardom?CheersMax Babi

  6. Anonymous Avatar

    Just a brief note: if you’re interested in more discussion on Anita Desai’s comments, John has posted–and elicited many viewpoints–over at Caferati (

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