The book fair is also an occasion to announce the winner of a literary prize few have heard of despite it carrying a not unhandsome cash award of Rs 1,51,000 besides a silver plaque. This is the N.D. Mehra memorial award given out annually by the publisher who does an enviable amount of business at the fair: Rupa. This year the award goes to a writer who decided to live on his writing at a time when doing this was a suicidal invitation to let in the wolf: Ruskin Bond. He didn't get it then, but is getting it now for his contribution to children's literature.
Picador publisher Andrew Kidd and Picador India editor Sam Humphreys are among the foreign publishers here for the fair, and also to bolt the doors on their depleted list of authors. The last famous author to have bolted from the Picador stable is Amit Chaudhuri. Chaudhuri, whose book on D.H. Lawrence is receiving rave reviews in the UK, has signed up with Faber. His forthcoming novel is about an indigent music teacher condemned to give lessons to ladies with more ambition than talent.