When writers complain of measly advances and royalties, they don't tell you about the fringe benefits. Publish a book, and even if it's a decade old, it entitles you to a lifetime of freebies: 1) invitation to the dime-a-dozen litfairs across the country, including free air tickets (for two), stay in best hotel, free food and booze; 2) foreign jaunts (surf the net and find out which country is hosting a book fair with India as guest of honour); 3) writing residencies in exotic locales (same perks as (1), only for longer; 4) a job abroad teaching suckers how to pen a book.
Going On Thirty
India is guest of honour at the Paris Book Fair next week. Thirty authors have been chosen for an all-expenses-paid trip: U.R. Ananthamurthy, Rupa Bajwa, Sarnath Banerjee, Shyam Bhajju, Urvashi Butalia, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Amit Chaudhuri, Abha Dawesar, Shashi Deshpande, Githa Hariharan, Mushirul Hasan, Ruchir Joshi, Sudhir Kakar, Sunil Khilnani, Anita Rau Badami, Gopi Chand Narang, Etteth Ravi Shankar, Alka Saraogi, K. Satchidanandan, Allan Sealy, Lavanya Sankaran, Vikram Seth, Kalpana Swaminathan, Tarun Tejpal, Shashi Tharoor, Altaf Tyrewala, Krishna Baldev Vaid, Udayan Vajpeyi, Pavan Varma, M.T. Vasudevan Nair. Go figure!
Making Short Work of It
If the short story was invented by a man, women have claimed it in a big way. At the launch of a new collection of short stories by women under 40, 21 Under 40, the editor referred to the shortest short story ever written, by Hemingway: For Sale: Baby's shoes. Never used." Margaret Atwood rose to the challenge with one of her own: "Longed for him. Got him. Shit."