David Davidar finally emerged from self-imposed exile after last June’s sexual harassment scandal in Canada. He surfaced at Khushwant Singh’s birthday party at the former’s Sujan Singh Park residence, with wife Rachna in tow, as confident and in control as ever. And no wonder: apart from his forthcoming novel, Ithaca, which was snapped up by HarperCollins, Davidar is now being pursued by rival publishing houses for another reason. They want the publisher to head their outfits, in the hope that he will replicate the success he made of Penguin India. According to friend and mentor, Khushwant, Davidar is going to start his own publishing house but Davidar merely smiled and said, “Let’s see.”
Writers’ groups usually reek of amateur poets and vanity publishing. But the Goa Writers Group is different. Amitav Ghosh is a member, and Orhan Pamuk turns up occasionally. Among its many enthusiastic members are teachers, shopkeepers, cooks, engineers, tailors, journalists, even publishers and a fashion designer—Wendell Rodricks. Growing both in numbers and confidence, the group hosted its first litfest last December and is planning its first anthology, Inside Out—New Writing From Goa, with Amitav Ghosh among the contributors. The book will be launched in all five metros in March.
Our Words, Our Way
It can happen only at the Calcutta Book Fair. Self-published authors, on the fair ground and mostly in the ‘little magazine pavilion’, talked about and marketed their own books to readers—all for the love of words. And to go round middlemen, aka publishers.