February 16, 2020
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The controversy over the scurrilous novel, Hindutva, Sex and Adventures, continues


A Scarlet Pimpernel

How effective are legal notices from one publishing house to another? Six months ago, for instance, when Roli Books published a scurrilous novel, Hindutva, Sex and Adventures, by a foreign journalist with the nom de plume John Maclithon, tongues began to wag that the protagonist, if not the writer, was Mark Tully. His publisher in London sent publisher Pramod Kapur a legal notice asking the author to reveal his identity, to apologise to Tully and to withdraw the book. But the writer has yet to be unmasked and the book is still available. As for an apology, ‘Maclithon’ claims in a letter circulated by Roli that he modelled his hero “on a number of foreign correspondents based in Delhi: Tiziano Terzani, Francois Gautier, Mark Tully, Bernard Imhasly, John Elliott....”

Marked Books

The longlist for the $50,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, to be announced at the next Jaipur litfest, has been announced. Although the list of 16 novelists seems to be an exercise in political correctness—five Indians, three nris, four Pakistanis and even a nominal Sri Lankan—Bibliofile’s bet is on Daniyal Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, Other Wonders. For good reason: the jury of five insisted on including his name although his publisher hadn’t entered him, due to some confusion about the rules.

Pens For Sale

We’ve heard about rivalries between authors invited for a litfest comparing notes on who sells the most tickets for their gig. With the Hay Festival in Kerala (Nov 12-14) also deciding to make audiences pay for their entry, it will be interesting to test the selling power of our writers.

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