Tis the season for memoirs. Penguin’s impressively long list of "summer sizzlers" has at least four biographies/memoirs, including Dr M.R. Srinivasan’s story of India’s Atomic Energy Programme and General Shankar Roychoudhury’s reminiscences. Even an academic publisher like Sage has brought out what it claims is "the first Dalit autobiography to be published in English". Vasant Moon, a retired civil servant who grew up in a jhuggi settlement in pre-Independence Nagpur, recounts in loving detail the lives and struggles of the outcasts who refused to call themselves Harijans, under the growing influence of Ambedkar. Another thinly-veiled memoir is Among the Chatterati, The Diary of a Page Three Hack, where Kanika Gehlot dissects "over-rated designers, narcissistic models, ageing beauty queens and second-rung politicians".
SO who’s afraid of the Americans? After the announcement that the Booker Prize will be open to American writers from 2004, the general fear among British and Commonwealth writers has been that American heavyweights will take over this "cosy British institution". But Indian heavyweights, including Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy, seem all for it. Says Rushdie: "...there’s really no logical reason for including Canadians, South Africans, Pakistanis, Indians, Australians, West Indians, etc, and keeping the Americans out."