The Publisher’s Post – December 2013

 Newsletter December, 2013
  Latest Developments  
Booking its place
The Bangalore Literature Festival kicked off its second edition this year. Held at the Crowne Plaza, Electronics City, the three-day festival garnered tremendous response with over 135 speakers from all over India. Besides, authors such as Ashokamitran, K Satchidanandan, Nilanjana Roy, Kishwar Desai, Anita Nair, Shobhaa De, Shashi Deshpande, Ashwin Sanghi and Meena Kandasamy, the festival also saw the stalwarts in other fields such as Farhan Akhtar (cinema), Wendell Rodricks (fashion) and Sri Sri Ravishankar (spirituality) participate in the various panels and discussions that were held during the festival. Sessions on written and oral literary tradition in various vernacular languages were another novel aspect to the festival in addition to a special workshop of writing for children.

According to Vikram Sampath, co-founder of the festival, “It was a phenomenal success and more than 15,000 people attended this festival. We had speakers from all over India and abroad and there was a coming together of different streams, ideas and thoughts. Bangalore has a very vibrant literary landscape and we really needed something like this, especially in an age when people’s interest in the old world romance of books is on the wane,” he says adding, “We are very buoyed of the success and hope to make this bigger and better next year.” Read more

Publishing Next at the World Book Fair
Publishing Next, the annual conference on the future of publishing, has been invited by the National Book Trust, India, to organize Publishing Next at the New Delhi World Book Fair, its first extension programme, from the long-format conference held in Goa. Through its presence in Delhi, the organizing team hopes to introduce the conference to the publishers in Delhi and to several others who will travel to the capital from different parts of the country, for the Fair.

During the conference, the following sessions will be held:

  • Session 1: Publishing in Indian Languages
  • Session 2: Understanding Issues In ePublishing
  • Session 3: Self Publishing – A Viable Publishing Alternative?
  • Workshop: “ePublishing 101″ for publishers

For more details visit the website:

Harlequin India bets big
Harlequin set up shop in India in 2008, before which only global titles were exported to this market. The company started with a short story-writing competition to search for Indian talent.

“While the annual competition, ‘Passions-Aspiring Author Auditions’, is still conducted to find Indian authors, we now work through other channels such as literary agents for acquisitions in India,” says Amrita Chowdhury, India head and publishing director of Harlequin. And while firsttime authors are often hand-held by Harlequin’s editorial team in the UK, Chowdhury feels the advantage comes from the fact many of them come from non-writing backgrounds and bring a healthy element of diversity both professionally and culturally to the table.

That the stereotypes about the Mills & Boon men being chauvinistic and dominating are changing also helps in wider acceptability. “The Indian titles, which now sell far more than the global ones in this market, offer a great degree of cultural and gender sensitivity. The women characters are not just secretaries or school teachers like those of yesteryears, they are doctors, bankers and engineers; and the men even if they are rich and handsome are also sensitive and make adjustments. The themes of second marriage and arranged marriage have also been explored in recent Indian M&B titles,” explains Chowdhury. Read more

Sahitya Akademi Fellowship for Sitakant Mahapatra
Eminent litterateur Sitakant Mahapatra [has been] awarded the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship. He was conferred the highest honour of Fellowship by Akademi president Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari. He was presented with a shawl, a citation and a memento.

Mahapatra has the distinction of publishing 21 anthologies of poems and nine collection of essays on literature and culture and four travelogues. He has also delivered lectures in several universities in India and abroad on Development Anthropology and Literature.

The Sahitya Akademi Awards 2013 were announced on 18 December 2013 by Sahitya Akademi. Poetry writers have dominated the awards announced in 2013. Eight books of poetry, four of essays, three of novels, two each of short stories and travelogues, one each of autobiography, memoirs and play have won the Sahitya Akademi Award 2013. Read more

Rashtrakavi G.S. Shivarudrappa no more
Distinguished Kannada poet, writer and researcher G.S. Shivarudrappa (87), popularly known as Prof. GSS, passed away at his residence at Banashankari here on December 23.

He was the third Kannada poet to be honoured with the prestigious title of ‘Rashtrakavi,’ after Manjeshwara Govinda Pai and his mentor and guide Kuvempu (K.V. Puttappa). Prof. Shivarudrappa was known for his writings that offered a fine combination of artistry and social commitment. Between 1951 (when his first collection ‘Samagana’ came out) and 1999 (when his last collection ‘Vykatamadhya’ was published) he authored 13 collections of poems. The Karnataka government honoured him with Pampa Prashasti for the year 1996 in recognition of his excellence as a poet.

Both Bangalore and Kuvempu universities honoured him by conferring an honorary doctorate.Read more

Three-day publishing forum to be held parallel to JLF
The Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) will not be the only event in the pink city that book lovers will be seen thronging this winter. Running parallel to the JLF will be the Jaipur Book Mark (JBM), a three-day forum, for publishers, agents, rights holders and literary content producers.

The conference will host six sessions, each looking at different aspects of the publishing industry, from self-publishing to e-books, digital content to distribution.

The sessions will be followed by an extended networking lunch with scope for meeting and personal interaction. There will be a cocktail reception in the evenings, which will provide further opportunities to circulate and interact. The JBM is expected to bring together 100 key publishing professionals in its first edition. Read more

Page turners
Doordarshan’s new book show, Kitaabnama: Books and Beyond, tries to showcase the multilingual diversity of Indian literature by inviting laureates from different languages to talk about their work. It reminds one of the times when book stores were not overwhelmed by technical writing and self-help books; when literature and quality writing were not considered a waste of time; when the pleasure of reading was experienced by many.

In an attempt to widen its coverage of literary events, DD Bharti sent crews to Tarjuman, the translators festival in Ahmedabad, and the Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan. Interviews from prominent authors present at these events were telecast on Kitaabnama. Currently, the show has no sponsors. But the team hopes to get some sponsorship soon.

The show airs on DD Bharti at 8.00 p.m. on Sundays, and DD National at 6.00 p.m. on Saturdays. Read more

  Opinion & Analysis  
India, a big market for dictionaries, says UK publisher
India, among other countries like China and South Korea, is seen as a big market for the English language dictionary, despite a swell in digital tools for word learning and usage, says a UK publisher.

“In places like India and South Korea and in our biggest markets in China and Taiwan, a dictionary is seen as a good investment because language is seen to get a good job, to go study abroad etc. So people are ready to purchase and invest in them,” says Alison Waters, Publisher, ELT dictionaries and reference grammar, Oxford University Press, UK.

Alison was in India for a multicity workshop on the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary for teachers in Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata. Read more

Everybody’s Business
The business book in India is no longer that tome gathering dust on the bookshelf, only to be brought down occasionally by that smart cousin studying at a B-school. Neither are they international titles written mostly by Americans. “The first thing that struck me was that the market was undiscovered from the perspective of Indian authors writing business books. With the kind of explosive growth that the Indian economy had enjoyed over the last two decades, there are a number of great stories that are waiting to be told,” says Anish Chandy, business editor, Penguin India. “I think Indian readers are seeking something closer to their roots and international readers have realised the shortcomings of business principles that are restricted to western ideas,” says Devdutt Pattnaik, author of Business Sutra: A Very Indian Approach to Management (Aleph 2013), which is trending on the bestseller list. Read more
Bangla literature: From home to the world
The third edition of the recently concluded Hay Festival in Dhaka, Bangladesh (founded by Peter Florence and Tahmima Anam in 2011) witnessed a substantial turnout of literary agents from the UK and US this year [and large participation from many Indian publishers and authors].

Fresh voices and powerful narratives have struck a chord with prominent publishing agents who are now expressing interest in Bangladeshi literature. It’s a new dawn for Bangladeshi authors whose stories are reaching out to a global readership thanks to the growing trend of translation and worldwide distribution. Read more

Social media more effective in promoting Tamil literature
Opinion is divided over whether leading journals are giving enough space for serious literature.

Even though thousands of titles in Tamil come out annually, many of which are of serious and creative works, one issue that has been bothering several writers is over the degree of attention being paid by the mainstream Tamil media, especially leading periodicals, to such literary efforts.

Sa. Kandasamy, veteran Tamil writer and the Sahitya Akademi winner for 1998, says Tamil journals, which otherwise follow and capture trends in various fields such as travel, technology, self-improvement and spiritualism apart from cinema, do not display adequate interest in serious literary writing. Read more

Mature storylines get comics more takers
Inside their mature, movie-like panels, ambiguous moral choices and profane speech bubbles, you will find the growing hunger of comic book readers. Fuelled by Hollywood-induced curiosity about superheroes, events such as Comic Con and a wider array of alternate Indian comic books on offer, today’s evolved comic book fan does not mind shelling out anywhere between Rs 50 and Rs 300 each on a book. This has meant a slow yet assured boost for the Indian comic book industry whose fate had been written off a few years ago.

“In the last three years, the number of individuals and publishers actively publishing comics and graphic novels has certainly risen from three to four to about 10,” says Jatin Varma, founder, Comic Con India referring to Vimanika, Holy Cow Entertainment, Meta Desi and Manta Ray Comics among others. “The numbers might seem small but it is a phenomenal growth,” adds Varma, who also heads Pop Culture Publishing, which was launched three years ago and is known for its humour and Bollywood-based titles such as ‘Widhwa Maa Aur Andhi Behen’. Read more

  Events & New Book Releases  
His library, your library
Mera Library is home to over 4,000 books in eight Indian languages besides English, written by 2,000 authors through 250 publications. Officially launched in 2011, Shabir says this labour of love has harboured in thought from 2009. As an employee of a large electronic publishing company in Bangalore, Shabir observed that few smaller publishers, especially those in the bhasha (vernacular) languages, put out e-book versions of their publications. And for those who did, avenues for display and distribution were rare. “So I quit my job, took a year off to research the concept and slowly approached publishers, initially asking them for their backlists because I didn’t think they would give their new works to a start-up.” Read more
Narrative sextet
Oxford University Press has published a series of six Oxford Novellas.

Of the six novellas two are by women and translated by women — Nabaneeta Dev Sen’s Sheet Sahasik Hemantolok (Defying Winter, Bengali, translated by Tutun Mukherjee) and Saniya’s Tyanantar (Thereafter, Marathi, translated by Maya Pandit). The other four novellas are from the four major South Indian languages: C.S. Chellappa’s Vaadivaasal (Arena, Tamil translated by N. Kalyan Raman), Na. D’Souza’s Dweepa (Island, Kannada, translated by Susheela Punitha), Kesava Reddy’s Moogavani Pillanagrovi (Ballad of Ontillu, Telugu, translated by the author) and Johny Miranda’s Jeevichirikkunnavarkku Vendiyulla Oppees (Requiem for the Living, Malayalam, translated by Sajai Jose). The three men are from various professional backgrounds while the women are from the discipline of English studies. As series editor Mini Krishnan notes, “Having absorbed words from nearly 400 languages, English is opulently equipped to interpret and express the cultural energy of the regions it once entered as the coloniser’s voice.” Read more

Historicizing the past
Well-known fiction writer Ramesh Upadhyaya has been publishing thought-provoking articles in his literary journal “Kathan” as well as through a series of books that deal with issues of contemporaray intellectual discourse such as globalisation and ecology. Janwadi Lekhak Sangh’s magazine “Naya Path” brought out special numbers on the first war of Indian independence i.e., 1857 Revolt as well as on the hundred years of Hindi cinema. “Samayantar”, a magazine founded and edited by well-known short story writer Pankaj Bisht, has also been publishing similar stuff and recently caught people’s attention because of its intervention in the currently raging debate on the contribution of the late D D Kosambi to the study of Indian history and archaeology. And, mind you, this list is not exhaustive. There are many more Hindi magazines who have come out of the narrow confines of literature and are devoting their pages to discuss social, political, environmental, economic and cultural issues. Read more
Raknno – pride of Konkani
Karnataka counts Konkani as one of its own tongues. Konkani literature, written in Kannada script, has developed in leaps and bounds, and the language is officially recognised in the 8th Schedule of India. Celebrating this language is the Mangalore-based Konkani weekly Raknno (meaning guardian), which has just completed 75 glorious years. Raknno may be cited as a key milestone in the growth of Konkani.

As a publishing house, Raknno has been publishing books, both fiction and non-fiction, and it has to its credit nearly 120 titles. It also has audio book CDs. Earlier, Raknno contained matter in three languages — Konkani, Kannada and English. Initially, its annual subscription was Rs 2.50, currently, it is Rs 250. Read more

Under the Bak-Bak tree
Karadi, the ‘bachelor bear’, has told children stories from 1996. Stories of forests and valleys, animals and trees, Gods and little children, superheroes and human beings. Through rhymes and poems, the singing bear has opened children to a distinctly Indian world, gently nudging them into the English language without overtly teaching them. From the audio books, Karadi now finally comes alive, in a full length musical, to be staged in Kochi today, called Once Upon a Bak-Bak Tree.

The Karadi Rhymes was always meant to be on stage, says Shobha Viswanath, director of children’s publishing house Karadi Tales. “When the first audio books were released, we found that many schools were using the entire soundtrack for their annual day plays. All that the children had to do was enact the stories while miming the Rhymes. That’s when we realised that this could be staged, but we envisioned a film, not a play!” Read more

The Wild and Whacky
At a time when iPads and PlayStations trump books and literature, Aparna Raman, the young founder of Timbuktoo Publishing launches a book for kids written by a group of six to nine-year olds with engaging text, cute illustrations and pleasing aesthetics. Titled My Book Of Me, What am I Going To Be Today?, the 34-pager sees the little authors personify different objects and describe themselves in each role. “The book would be best described as a role play collective. The roles the kids have chosen to play, tell you something about the personality of each of them,” says Raman.

Timbuktoo Publishing, started in March 2013, is a company that focuses exclusively on young authors. Apart from publishing books, they also conduct workshops for kids of different age groups. In the pipeline is a collection of write-ups by 9-12-year olds who attended their Genre Genie workshop. Expected to launch in May 2014, the book will focus on writings of specific genres like mystery and adventure. Read more

Coffee table book on Mandela in Telugu
Visalandhra Publishing House, which is celebrating its golden jubilee, is bringing out a coffee table book on the former South African President Nelson Mandela. The 60-year-old book house obtained permission from the South African government in this regard.

The book titled ‘Nelson Mandela Coffee Table Book’ would be published in Telugu with the experience, explanations, writings, struggles and the history of the great leader with his photographs. Read more

  New Books!  

Catch that Cat!

Story: Tharini Viswanath
Images: Nancy Raj
Published by: Tulika Books
Price: Rs 150.00
Pages: 28




By: Shivaji Savant
Published by: Mehta Publishing House
ISBN: 978-81-8498-490-3
Price: Rs 480.00
Pages: 878



Stories From Joe’s Sit-Out: Savouring family life in Goa and way beyond

By: Bernadette Correia Afonso D’Souza
Published by: Goa, 1556
ISBN: 9789380739670
Price: Rs 200.00
Pages: 160



A Life in Three Octaves: The Musical Journey of Gangubai Hangal

By: Deepa Ganesh
Published by: Three Essays Collective
ISBN: 9788188789931
Price: Rs 600.00
Pages: 220



One Part Woman

Written by: Perumal Murugan
Translated By: Aniruddhan Vasudevan
Published by: Penguin India
Price: Rs 399.00
Pages: 248



Understanding Dyslexia

Written by: Remediana Dias
Published by: CinnamonTeal Publishing
ISBN: 9789383175468
Price: Rs 250.00
Pages: 132



The Land of Flying Lamas & Other Real Travel Stories from the Indian Himalaya

Written by Gaurav Punj
Published by: Westland
ISBN: 9789383260522
Price: Rs 395.00
Pages: 132

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