2011 Saw a Forward Movement for Indian Literature
2011 was a robust year for Indian literature keeping authors, publishers and as well as readers busy.
Indian authors won awards and recognitions, sales saw considerable growth, new writers emerged, literary festivals were galore, acclaimed writers visited the country and key appointments were made in top publishing houses.
Among the scores of top books by Indian writers were Amitav Ghosh's River of Smoke, Aravind Adiga's Last Man in Tower, David Davidar's Ithaca, Chetan Bhagat's Revolution 2020, Amish Tripathi's The Secret of the Nagas and Ashwin Sanghi's Chanakya's Chant.
The year saw congregation of writers and seasoned authors from the country and abroad in events like the Jaipur Literature Festival, Hay festival (Thiruvananthapuram), Kovalam Lit Fest (Kerala) and Goa Arts and Literary Festival.
There were also saw a lot of activities on the literary front on the occasion of Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birth anniversary celebrations.
Indian writers excelled on the awards and recognitions front.
Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee's acclaimed book on cancer, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer won the prestigious Pulitzer prize in the general non-fiction category.
The jury described the work as an "elegant inquiry, at once clinical and personal, into the long history of an insidious disease that, despite treatment breakthroughs, still bedevils medical science".
Five novels by Indian writers including Amitav Ghosh and Tarun Tejpal figured in the Man Asian Literary Prize long list, which also has works by novelists from Bangladesh and Pakistan among other countries.
The other Indians in the fray for the award considered by many as the Asian Booker are Jahnavi Barua (Rebirth), Anuradha Roy (The Folded Earth) and Rahul Bhattacharya (The Sly Company of People Who Care). Ghosh's novel is River of Smoke and Tejpal is the author of The Valley of Masks.
Kannada writer U R Ananthamurthy (Bharathipura), Kavery Nambisan (The Story that Must Not Be Told), Chandrakanta (A Street in Srinagar), Usha K R (Monkey-man) and Tabish Khair (The Thing About Thugs) were the shortlisted authors for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
Historian Ramachandra Guha, Gopalakrishna Pai and Kashinath Singh were among 22 writers selected for the prestigious Sahitya Akademi awards. Eight books of poetry, seven novels, three essays and one each short stories, narrative history, biography and play have been selected for the awards.
The high-profile visitors included Nobel laureates Orhan Pamuk and J M Coetzee, Aussie author Germaine Greer and Pakistani writers Mohammed Hanif and Fatima Bhutto.
The year also Simon & Schuster starting its wholly owned subsidiary in India in August with a promise to give readers "the best" in terms of content, price and package besides encouraging home-grown talents.
Says Rahul Srivastava, director (sales and marketing) of Simon & Schuster India, "Simon & Schuster had a great year globally. Sales grew in India by more than 25 per cent with key titles The 3rd Alternative, No Higher Honour, Lady of the River and Allah Liberty & Love hitting the best-seller lists. The Secret & The Power by Rhonda Byrne continue to dominate the sales in self-help genre."
Lipika Bhusan, marketing manager of HarperCollins-India, says 2011 was a great start and a fantastic end for the publishing house.
"We gave out at least an average of one huge seller a month. The year began with Siddhartha Mukherjee's Biography of Cancer which went on to win some of the most prestigious prizes. Some of the other high sellers were Aleph by Paulo Coelho, Controversially Yours by Shoaib Akhtar, Joseph Lelyveld's
Great Soul, Aravind Adiga's Last Man in Tower, George R R Martins series of five books with the most recent one being A Dance with Dragons, The Corner Office, Arun Shourie's Does He Know a Mother's Heart, A Scandalous Secret by Jaishree Misra, The Time of My Life' by Cecilia Ahern, Noon by Aatish Taseer, Valley of Masks by Tarun Tejpal, A Shot at History by Abhinav Bindra and Rohit Brijnath, K P Singh's Whatever the Odds and Ithaca by David Davidar," Bhusan told
"We had a brilliant launch and start of our Film Series early in the year, brilliant sales response to the launch of Agatha Christie graphic series and HarperSports imprint with Controversially Yours and A Shot at History. Some of the big newsmakers in our film series were RD Burman: The Man, The Music and Sidharth Bhatia's Navketan.
"With the super success of our Collins Classics in 2010 we added more titles to the collection of some of the best stories by some of the epic writers. Along with getting recognition through its literary awards, Harper won a marketing award too," she says.
Among the key appointments in the publishing sector, Chikki Sarkar, former editor in chief of Random House India, took over as the publisher of Penguin.
In a fitting celebration of the life of M F Husain, who passed away last year, Niyogi Books released M F Husain: A Pictorial Tribute, authored by photographer-writer Pradeep Chandra.
The year saw the passing away of noted Assamese litterateur Indira Goswami, Jnanpith winner and former Delhi University professor of Modern Indian Languages. Born in an orthodox family in Assam, she rose to fame with her stories and novels, most of which showcased human pathos like An Unfinished Autobiography, The Man From Chinnamasta, The Rusted Sword, The Moth Eaten Howdah of A Tusker and Pages Stained With Blood.
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