Category: Indian publishing

  • "Why do you write?"

    (Published in Business Standard, Speaking Volumes, January 02, 2007)This column is dedicated to all the people who patiently answered the question I asked over and over again in 2006: “So why do you want to be a writer?” There were so many of them out there. Some had done fruitless rounds of publishers’ offices. Some […]

  • It’s been over 30 years since Watergate, and a group of journalism students think they finally know who Deep Throat is. After four years of going through the Watergate files and crosschecking possible sources against Woodward and Bernstein’s clues, these students at the University of Illinois say that the most famous anonymous source in media […]

  • After witnessing the riots of 1984 in Delhi in the wake of Mrs Gandhi’s assassination, Amitav Ghosh faced a difficult question: “How was I to write about what I had seen without reducing it to mere spectacle?” In the wake of the 2002 Gujarat massacres, writer N S Madhavan faced the same question. His answer […]

  • Romila Thapar will now be called the Kluge Chair. Just kidding: the respected historian has often been targetted by Hindutva hardliners for her refusal to compromise on the facts of history, so it’s nice to know that she’s appreciated elsewhere. Katie Roiphe argues that there’s way too much gossip about the possibly “autobiographical underpinnings” of […]

  • Faster than a speeding…writer. Call the Babu a philistine, but he finds it hard to understand why anyone, let alone a group of 40 German authors, would want to set a record on World Book Day for “conceiving, writing and publishing” a book in 12 hours. Previous records for the fastest book ever written or […]

  • Delhi, Book Capital of the world? The Babu pondered long and hard over this, remembering book launches galore where the flatness of the reading was only surpassed the flatness of the wine served afterwards, and noting that Delhi has produced a wonderful example of Low as opposed to High Literary Culture. But if UNESCO says […]

  • The Babu is wary of literary magazines: he remembers how McSweeney’s morphed from its original moorings into a creature so addicted to self-parody that it makes New Yorker cartoons seem accessible by contrast. But he was impressed by a new kid on the block from Cambridge: Topic has been called “the new Granta” and appears […]

  • April 23 is quite a day for writers–this is the birthday of Vladimir Nabokov, Harold Laxness and, some claim, William Shakespeare. It’s also the date on which Miguel de Cervantes, William Wordsworth, Rupert Brooke–and Shakespeare, oddly enough–died. (Incidentally, Bardolators hate the canard about Shakespeare leaving his “second-best bed” to Anne Hathaway. Some scholars have speculated […]

  • Oh my paws and whiskers. Linda Richards from January magazine actually got to interview the distinctly media-shy Rohinton Mistry–and then managed not to get any of it on tape. For what it’s worth, here’s the Mistry profile: one Rohintonian anecdote, one burbling summary of Family Matters, one approving use of “exotic” as an adjective, and […]

  • What does an author do when his last few books have been hugely successful? If he’s Matthew Branton, lone ranger crusading against the increasing commercialism of the publishing industry, he gives his new novel away. For free. The Babu read The Tie and the Crest over the last week, and has to agree that it’s […]