The jury for the big fat DSC South Asian Literature Prize is out and it’s a fine piece of juggling—a British scholar of early Indian novelists like Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao, a professor of English from Dhaka University specialising in Tagore studies, a small publisher from Karachi who runs a literary magazine and a writer from Vanity Fair working on her first book on India are among the five judges to decide next year’s winner of the $50,000 prize. Well-known translator and veteran judge of literary prizes, Ira Pande, will chair this motley group which is expected to pick five or six titles for the shortlist by next October from the couple of hundred entries expected from across the world.
Pencilled In Blue
As Penguin’s editor-in-chief Ravi Singh puts in the last days of his notice period, there’s no sign as yet of his successor. And it’s not for the lack of applicants for what many consider the most-wanted job in publishing in Asia. Among the hats in the ring are names of at least two senior journalists but we are reliably told neither has been approached. Meanwhile, the authors that Ravi Singh has been handling all these years have been split up between over half a dozen Penguin editors, suggesting that the hunt for his successor will go on for weeks, if not months.
The Wilful Reader
It’s funny how the gap between prize juries and the common reader is getting almost as wide as that between review pages and bestsellers. How else do you explain titles you’ve never read about, like I Too Had A Love Story or Oh Shit, Not Again ruling the charts this week in a list that claims to be India’s most authentic—the Nielsen Bookscan.