The Crossword awards…

…will be announced later this week. They’re officially the Hutch Crossword Book Awards now, which The Complete Review thinks is hands down the worst name for a literary award ever. (Lit Saloon guys, you have no idea. In my misspent youth, I once won an award entitled the Good Reading and Happy Writing Urge to Upcoming Authors–a so-called friend entered a poem on my behalf, but on the positive side of things, it was worth two plates of bhelpuri.) Anyway, my Bengali brethren are being duly chauvinist about the shortlists.

The nominees for English Fiction are:

Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide

Raj Kamal Jha, If You Are Afraid of Heights

I. Allan Sealy, The Brainfever Bird

Shashi Deshpande, Moving On

The nominees for Indian Fiction in Translation are:

Chandrasekhar Rathi, Astride the Wheel

Mahasweta Devi, for two books—Bait and In the Name of the Mother

Bani Basu, Birth of the Maitreya

Sharankumar Limbale, The Outcast

Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Waiting for Rain

If you’re an Indian writer writing in India, however, the three-lakh booty attached to the Crossword might be the only silver lining on your horizon. In a burst of candour, Doubleday’s Jane Lawson told a local reporter that “the Indian novel written by Indians living in India is slightly out of fashion.” Go West or perish. Oh, and exotica is out. Multiculturalism is in. The Babu is thrilled to his frickin’ marrow.

4 comments

  1. Oh, but what then of exotica written by Indians living outside India? Conflict of interest there it seems.And you ARE back. Each time I’ve refreshed your page in the last half-hour there’s been a new post.

  2. Making up for lost time! So many posts, so little time etc. On the exotica front, all I can say about the next two columns I intend to write on the subject is that they’re going to remind everyone of Walt Whitman: do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself. I am vast (unfortunately very true at the moment, too much biscuits and cake); I contain multitudes.Good to see you on the comments listing, amigo. But we need to talk about your future plans… soon.

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