Literary Tigers

Apr 17, 2013, 07:43 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

For writers, publishers, literary agents and readers something akin to a seismic announcement was made yesterday when the Bible of literary achievement Granta along with the British Council announced the fourth edition of its 'Best of Young British Novelist List'

>> For writers, publishers, literary agents and readers something akin to a seismic announcement was made yesterday when the Bible of literary achievement Granta along with the British Council announced the fourth edition of its ‘Best of Young British Novelist List’.

Salman Rushdie

For those in the know this portentous proclamation is only made once every decade (we recall the first in 1983 when the likes of Salman Rushdie and Martin Amis had been chosen. The fact that they went on to such glory is what has made this list such a credible and much awaited one)

As the legend goes: ‘Amis, Barker, Barnes, Hollinghurst, Mitchell, Rushdie, Winterson. Before they were household names, they were Granta Best of Young British Novelists.’

And so on Monday before names on the list were announced in London, you could almost here a collective intake of breath as one by one literature’s newest superstars were named.

And for Indians there was some joy: amongst names like Ned Beauman, Tahmima Anam and Nadifa Mohamed, author Sunjeev Sahota found mention.

Sunjeev who? Described as ‘born in Derby in 1981 and raised in Chesterfield. He lives with his wife and daughter in Leeds, where he is working on his second novel The Years of the Runaways. Sahota studied mathematics at Imperial College London and was prompted to begin writing his debut novel, ‘Ours are the Streets (2011), after the 7/7 London bombings,’ said the New Statesman.

Considering the success that followed Rushdie’s name appearing on the list, expect a long and fruitful innings for Sahota too. And now to go out and buy his book before we are termed illiterate!

The dapper Mr Tharoor
>> He’s always been known for his Nehru worship but it appears that Union Minister for Human Resources the dapper Shashi Tharoor attempts to emulate his icon in matters sartorial too.

Pic/Jay Mandal/On Assignment

A resemblance was noticed when the dashing Tharoor landed in New York’s JFK recently dressed very stylishly indeed. Captured by the irrepressible freelance photographer Jay Mandal — whose pictures of visiting Indian politicians in NYC have delighted readers of this page before, Tharoor appears to be a very willing model and clothes horse. “This morning, Minister Tharoor arrived NY’s JFK airport to attend UN Security Council Meetings in NY. Yes, indeed I was there to capture a few images of his arrival at JFK international airport Terminal4”

A prayer for Ritu
>> Our prayers go out to the ailing Ritu Nanda and the entire Kapoor and Nanda families who are gathered in America to care for the distinguished lady who not only happens to be the daughter of India’s showman Raj Kapoor and the mother-in-law of Shweta Bachchan, but is a noted life insurance agent, one of the country’s most successful. According to one source, “She has more than 55,000 clients, and is the recipient of the Brand Ambassador and the Best Insurance Advisor of the Decade awards from the Life Insurance Corporation of India and has found mention in the Guinness Book of Records for selling 17,000 pension policies in a single day!”

Ritu Nanda

We recall meeting the vivacious lady after a flight from Mumbai to Delhi where in the course of a bus ride to the tarmac she had switched on her cell punched in a few numbers and almost sold us a policy.

And all this in her softspoken dignified style. We pray that she makes a speedy recovery and returns to India soon.

Re-THINKing the model
>> Put it down to the inevitable law of economics, but all those who partook in Tarun Tejpal’s magical mystery talk and schmooze fest in Goa over the past two years as invited guests will now have to put their money where there mouth is.

In an exquisitely crafted letter, (after all the sender is the big T himself) potential Thinkers have been invited to pay for the pleasure of listening to Think speakers who ‘have included some of the world’s most celebrated scientists and thinkers, influencers and ground warriors, entrepreneurs and policy makers’ in a ‘unique 3-day experience that fuses insight and learning with indulgence and entertainment.’

Tarun Tejpal

And for those who might dither at having to pay for this privilege there is the soothing ‘We know you’ve been a guest of Tehelka in the past and had circumstances allowed, we would have been delighted to welcome you as a guest once more. But Think is an ambitious venture and to keep it viable, we need your support.’

And the offer for thee days of top class schmoozing in Goa is an early bird discount of Rs 35,000 per head (register before May 31, 2013 and you pay just
Rs 25,000 per head)

At the rate of approximately Rs 8,000 per day to hear Nobel Laureates, celebrated scientists, renowned authors and fiery activists all day and then party with them at night — we think it’s a steal and there will be many takers.

To quote the deliciously persuasive Mr Tejpal, “See you, as always, for three heady days in Goa.”

A Sea of Crimes
>> ’Writing is a very lonely profession and this is the only time the author has a bit of fun’ writes our cousin the noted author Kishwar Desai (Lady Kishwar if you must know) about the launch of her newest book The Sea of Innocence on April 26 at the Olive Bar and Kitchen.

“Javed sahib will release the novel,” says the writer adding, “Though the novel, The Sea of Innocence, is about increasing sexual violence in India — and is written like a crime thriller, it should lead to some good discussions.”

Kishwar Desai

Desai who writes in Goa where she and husband the economist Lord Meghnad Desai have restored a wonderful old Goan mansion had spoken to us about the book when we had met in December at her home. We recall her mentioning that the Scarlett Keeling rape and murder episode had disturbed and intrigued her a lot.

With violence against women such a raging subject we are sure that Desai’s latest novel will be widely read and appreciated. And hopefully the perpetrators of that awful crime will be brought to book.  

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